When general manager Rich Mahon made small talk with servers at a high-end restaurant in Florida, little did he know it would lead to big ideas for hiring and retention at his car dealership.
But Mahon had an epiphany that evening in 2015 when he learned that the average server at Bern's Steak House in Tampa had worked there for 15 years.
"If a restaurant could take a server position and turn it from a job into a career, so could a car dealership," said Mahon.
So in January 2016, Mahon devised a series of changes to his hiring process and training at Toyota South Atlanta based on some of what he learned at the steakhouse. Since then, it has resulted in a reduction in the average annual employee turnover rate to 34 percent from 88 percent.
In that same time frame, the average turnover for service advisers plummeted to 41 percent from 300 percent. And the average sales employee turnover dropped to 35 percent from 147 percent.
"It means if I have a staff of 20, I've replaced 35 percent of them at some point this year," said Mahon.