What a great expression. All the hard work, all the effort, and all the commitment to excellence comes down to the moment, the big race, the big test. This program is where the rubber truly meets the road. All the posers are weeded out and the Best Dealerships To Work For are announced.
The 100 dealerships that made this list are here because of a very intentional and thoughtful strategy to create environments where employees love to come to work. This is not just about barbecues and pajama days. It is not just about free snacks and bring your dog to work day. While those things are nice and have value, the real determining judgment comes from the employees who work there. This program emphasizes the employee experience and how emotionally connected associates are to their employer.
Our firm, Best Companies Group, was tasked with conducting the two-part survey to determine who was good enough to make the list and where they rank. In our evaluation, 25 percent of the score is from the employer survey and 75 percent comes from the employee engagement survey.
This is year five and the competition has really become intense. Over 98 percent of the employees at the winning dealerships are emotionally connected or "engaged." Considering the national average is 41 percent, according to the Blessing White engagement study, that is pretty remarkable. We at BCG manage over 60 programs across the globe and this Automotive News program has the highest employee engagement scores out of all of them.
Here is some fun data to think about. From the over 50,000 employees we surveyed, we can identify the top drivers of employee engagement for the auto dealer industry. We found that the following areas have the biggest impact on one's overall emotional connection to the employer:
- Feeling like they are part of a team working toward a shared goal.
- Having confidence in the leadership of the organization.
- Liking the type of work that they do.
- Most days, feeling like they have made progress at work.
- The organization treating them like a person, not a number.
- Being satisfied with the organization's benefits package.
- Having room to advance at the organization.
- Having fun at work.
- Quality being a top priority with the organization.
- Feeling they can trust what their supervisor tells them.
The journey to high employee engagement does not happen overnight. It takes a while to develop a work force that is in alignment with the company's mission and core values. The commitment to high engagement needs to come from the top and it needs to be a part of the everyday experience of the workplace culture.
Many people ask me what they can do to make their workplace better. The first thing I tell them is that spending a lot of money on benefits and perks is not necessary. In fact, it could backfire and end up costing a lot of money without the desired result.
The first thing you should do is measure. Conduct an employee survey to find out what people are thinking and feeling about all facets of the work experience. Many of the participants in this program invested in the "Employee Feedback Report" to find out that very important information. Armed with dependable feedback from the employees, you can start to devise plans to increase the scores in the problem areas. If you look again at the high-impact list I provided, you will see that changing the experience in any of those areas is more about training, communication and aligning core values than it is about spending money on benefits and perks.
The union of rubber and road has happened and the results are in. These dealerships have made the commitment, planned their work, and then worked the plan to create a workplace that has resulted in recognition as one of the best in the country.
Peter B. Burke is president and co-founder of Best Companies Group.