At Rusnak/Westlake Audi, in Thousand Oaks, Calif., employees receive spotlight awards. Usually three to four times a month, employees and managers nominate other employees for doing a great job, and those employees receive a $50 gift card.
In one case, a service porter won an award after giving a woman a ride home and unpacking her groceries. Another time, a technician stopped on the side of the road when he saw a BMW from another Rusnak store pulled over, and the driver needed help.
"It is a very effective way for a larger organization to recognize people in a very specific way," said Victoria Rusnak, CEO of Rusnak Auto Group. "It's important because people work really hard and one of the driving sources for longevity and satisfaction is recognition. It doesn't cost much and goes a long way. People deserve it."
Dealerships give awards to employees for doing more than going out of their way to help customers, though. Some stores award employees for looking out for each other.
Rusnak/Westlake Audi gives employees safety awards. Managers nominate employees who attend every quarterly safety meeting and those who go beyond the standard to sustain a safe workplace.
Especially in a dealership setting, where technicians often work with hazardous tools, Rusnak and some of her dealership departments saw a need to motivate staffers to pay closer attention to safety and minimize injuries. So about five years ago, they started a safety contest. Whichever store had the fewest number of accidents or no accidents would receive the award.
"It heightens awareness," Rusnak said. "When they win the safety award, we throw a nice lunch at the store. It's a friendly way to encourage it."