* Dealer: Michael Cantanucci
* Dealership group: New Country Motor Car Group
* Full-time employees: 84
* 2012 new-vehicle sales: 1,368, down 11%
* Benefit highlight: If a service adviser or technician refers a technician who is hired and remains employed, the referring employee receives $2 per each hour produced by the referred technician for the first year of employment.
* Cool perk: During monthly service department meetings, the dealership buys lunch for employees and gives away Broadway show tickets, Audi accessories and gift cards.
* General Manager Eric Ferits on showing employees that they are valued: "We strive to make employees feel like they are part of a family. A large part of this includes celebrating their achievements both in and out of the dealership. This is done every week when we publish an article about an employee in Fairfield County and Westchester County newspapers. The dealership pays for a full-page color advertisement and every week a different employee is featured in an article. The article runs with the employee's photograph and recognizes the employee's achievements, hobbies and whatever else they choose to share with readers. It is a fantastic way for the dealership to express that we are proud of our employees.
"I'm striving to cultivate and maintain personal relationships with all employees. I never want employees to feel as though they are just a number. Rather than analyzing only the big picture, I focus on employees whom I observe going the extra mile each day and frequently reward those individuals with American Express gift cards or event tickets. It's a small but meaningful gesture as it acknowledges employee work ethic and boosts morale."
* Ferits on fair pay: "When I became general manager, one of the first changes I made was modifying every employee's pay plan. I wanted to ensure that all employees had the ability to earn extra money based on their performance. Each employee's compensation is now attached to customer satisfaction. The higher customers rate us, the higher everyone's paycheck becomes. Because the bonuses are given individually and collectively, the employees at New Country maintain a team attitude.
"One of the biggest changes was to the technicians' pay plan. It is structured so all techs have the ability to increase their pay by $9 per hour once they hit certain production tiers. This means they have the ability to easily earn a six-figure salary. Because their compensation is a direct reflection of their production, the technicians remain motivated to grow and improve their abilities."