Redford Township, Mich.
* Dealer: Karl Zimmermann
* Full-time employees: 125
* 2013 new-vehicle sales: 2,023, up 11%
* Cool perk: Bounty program -- the dealership awards $500 to each employee who recommends and helps to hire a new employee
* Zimmermann on recruiting and retaining college graduates: "We value the demonstrated effort, intellect, accumulated knowledge and discipline required to graduate from college, so we have targeted college graduates and have sought to address their interests and priorities, consistent with our own values and goals.
"Roughly 10 percent of our team members are college graduates. We're well aware that college graduates have many other employment options and that retail operations -- and auto in particular -- are not often at the top of their consideration set. So we have done much to create an environment, experience and potential career path to attract and retain the best and brightest.
"We provide flexible work arrangements and compensatory weekdays off for those who work the prior Saturday.
"Regarding pay, many recent grads have a lower risk-reward quotient and prefer more of their income to be assured than performance-based. But we also provide flexibility and opportunities, so that those who have a high level of confidence in their own skills and great desire to grow their income commensurate with their performance have the opportunity to prosper beyond what many of their peers have access to in a less performance-based environment.
"Other college graduate priorities include the work environment and the social conscience and involvement of their employer. So we have just renovated our facility to create a healthy, bright environment full of amenities for our employees that can be found only at some of the best, large corporations. We have many opportunities for our employees to be involved in a variety of charities, community organizations and related events that the dealership supports."
* Zimmermann on showing employees that they are valued: "We treat everyone with kindness, respect, integrity and consistency, from the top of the organization to its foundation.
"We communicate regularly to let folks know what has gone on, how much we appreciate their contribution, what's coming up and why their role is important. We provide lunches on long nights and/or busy days. We share the payouts from GM for various accomplishments. We share concert and game tickets that vendors provide and which are often intended for the dealer or senior management with employees who most value the particular event and/or are most deserving.
"We seek to have all employment decisions -- hiring, firing, promotions, demotions, lateral moves -- be validated through a 'shoulder shrug test': Ideally, each move will be greeted by all employees who become aware of it by a matter-of-fact acceptance, based on a belief that 'it just makes sense' and/or 'I'm not surprised.'"