Friendship Family of Dealerships
Friendship Ford-Hyundai-Volvo of Bristol
Bristol , TN
Overall Rank for 2012: 90
As the first dealership opened by multistore owner Mitch Walters in 1993, Friendship Ford-Hyundai-Volvo of Bristol is considered the Walters store with the most seasoned retailing veterans today. That's partly because of the store's focus on training and personal performance improvements, and partly because of employee satisfaction. Friendship has had low turnover for 20 years. Last year, as the store expanded with 20 new positions, there was zero turnover.
The stability and experience make the East Tennessee store the flagship and training center for the Friendship Family of Dealerships, a role its 100 staffers are proud of and strive to maintain. Managers at the store train new managers for other assignments in the group. Salespeople train other salespeople. Receptionists train other receptionists, creating a rewarding work environment.
There are more tangible rewards: General Manager Denny Fruth hands out bonuses for recommending a new hire at the store or for bringing in a new customer. Employees get an average of 100 hours of training per year and have performance reviews twice a year. Fruth rewards performance achievements with prizes, trips and cash.
The company also keeps its ears open to employees' ideas. All employees participate in quarterly "Good to Great" small-group meetings devoted to ideas about improving the workplace and solving problems.
The dealership offers on-site workshops targeting personal development and stress management. An Employee Assistance Program provides counseling for marital, parental or financial problems, or health challenges such as substance abuse and smoking. Employees are reimbursed for enrolling in smoking-cessation programs, as well as for joining a gym, going to a weight-loss program or adopting a healthier lifestyle. The dealership even provides discount coupons to steer employees to healthier restaurants at lunchtime.
-- Lindsay Chappell