Hendrick Automotive Group
Lexus of Charleston
Charleston , SC
Overall Rank for 2012: 61
Only nice people need apply to work at Lexus of Charleston.
Experience in automotive retailing is secondary to a positive attitude and ability to be part of a "familylike" team, says David Yarborough, the South Carolina dealership's general manager.
"We try to hire talented, nice people, and we'll teach them the processes and procedures and any product knowledge they need," Yarborough says. "If you're not a nice person to begin with, you're not going to last very long."
Most of those who do fit the bill end up staying a long time, which helps keep customers coming back year after year. "They feel like they know us," Yarborough says.
That is one of the big reasons why the dealership has won the Elite of Lexus award, given to the brand's best all-around retailers, for 16 consecutive years -- exactly how long Yarborough has been there. To celebrate the store's overall award and recognize individual employees' contributions, everyone is treated to a catered, white-tablecloth dinner in the showroom each year.
Yarborough says the dealership also highlights its most hard-working employees by running newspaper ads announcing the sales associate of the month and by handing out an annual Most Valuable Player award. The MVP is chosen by past winners, who in recent years have included a lot porter and a technician.
Each month, Yarborough takes all of the employees celebrating a birthday out to lunch. That not only helps him build a rapport with them but also encourages camaraderie among people from different departments.
"It's a good opportunity to take them and sit down and break a little bread with them and let them get to know each other," he says. "Sometimes they'll tell you something at lunch that they wouldn't tell you otherwise."
-- Nick Bunkley