Annual swim parties and fishing trips. Gourmet food trucks at the dealership twice a week. Outings to major league baseball games -- with extra tickets for friends. A chief happiness officer.
Those are some of the cool perks that this year's Best Dealerships To Work For offer to employees. The benefits shared this year by the winning dealerships range from generous to fun and even quirky.
Take that chief happiness officer, for example. That's Kristi D'Amato of Fiat-Alfa Romeo of Austin in Texas. She arranges employee birthday celebrations, but she's not simply the office party planner.
"My job is to help make sure [our employees] are successful here," D'Amato said.
When General Manager Lisa Copeland, inspired by a book by the founder of online retailer Zappos.com, approached D'Amato about the role, "I thought it was a joke at first," D'Amato said. "I laughed and said, 'You can't be serious.'"
But two years later, D'Amato spends about three-quarters of her time on efforts to keep employees happy. Her favorite task: managing a leadership council made up of rank-and-file employees. No managers allowed. Group members meet monthly and talk about struggles and accomplishments and how employees can work better together.