As U.S. dealerships see an increase in younger employees who want a steady paycheck, some of the best dealerships in the country are trying new payment models that offer stability but still reward highly motivated staffers with more earnings potential.
And employees who work at the 2018 Automotive News Best Dealerships To Work For appear pleased with those models. In a survey conducted by Best Companies Group, which compiles the list, 95 percent of employees at the winning stores gave positive responses to questions around pay and benefits vs. 81 percent for those at stores that didn't make the list.
A clue to that satisfaction? Many of the winning dealerships are using pay plans that provide a base salary and bonuses for hitting targets on criteria such as volume or customer satisfaction. Though commission pay plans are still widely used even among the Best Dealerships To Work For, they don't seem as popular as the nontraditional plans.
Of the winning dealers who answered compensation questions for an Automotive News survey, 61 percent said they use traditional commission plans. But even more — 77 percent — said they use nontraditional plans. Respondents could choose both kinds of plans, and many did, reflecting that they offer both traditional and nontraditional models.
AutoNation Inc., the nation's largest new-vehicle retailer with 17 dealerships on the list, offers both types of plans. The company announced new compensation plans offering base pay plus bonuses in 2016. Those plans have been successful at attracting more and different types of candidates than the retailer experienced with just commission plans, according to Mark Akbar, AutoNation's vice president of sales and customer financial services.
"In addition to attracting sales associates from other dealerships who are looking for a change, these pay plans invite people with varying backgrounds that may otherwise shy away from the car business," Akbar said in a written response to the Automotive News survey.