Carbone Auto Group
Troy , NY
Overall Rank for 2012: 76
Alex Carbone splits his time among his family's 14 stores in New York and Vermont, but employees at each location always know how to reach him. He says they call his mobile phone often, at all times of the day -- which is exactly what he wants.
"They know they can pick up the phone and call me personally, or any one of the owners, and have any kind of conversation, whether they have a personal issue, concerns about their job or ideas to share," Carbone says. "They definitely keep in touch."
He says workers at Carbone Subaru seemed to find that openness and personal attention "refreshing" after his family purchased the underperforming store in late 2010. Workers also became more confident and enthusiastic after the dealership's sales volume quickly doubled under its new owners.
Carbone Automotive Group's other stores all are in smaller markets than the Subaru store, which is 11 miles from Albany. Alex Carbone, who shares oversight of the dealership with cousins Enessa and Joe, says employees at the Subaru store appreciate the company's family-oriented, small-town roots.
"We like to hire at an entry level and promote from within," says Carbone, whose grandfather Joseph founded the company in 1929. "In a bigger market, that's unusual. We don't like the jumping-around stuff. We like to cultivate someone who's enthusiastic about the business, teach them our way, grow them into our culture and make them a long-term employee."
Considerable time during each monthly board meeting is devoted to reviewing employee satisfaction and incentives, Carbone says.
Among recent initiatives is a wellness program created with a nutrition and fitness specialist; participants can have their health insurance premiums cut by more than half.
Says Carbone: "If they perform and are enthusiastic about their job, they know it's going to come back and benefit them."
-- Nick Bunkley