A culture of positivity makes employees excited to come to work at Leith Dealerships' Mercedes-Benz of Raleigh.
A big reason for that culture is "Affirmation Friday," a weekly group exercise that's made employee morale "the best it's ever been," General Manager Bonnie Gramling said.
Cameron Baker, the North Carolina store's shop foreman, said he got the idea from a workshop about team building, leadership and positivity about seven years ago.
The practice started six years ago with just a few employees but has grown exponentially, with nearly 40 or sometimes more employees standing in a circle at the start of their Friday mornings to set goals together.
"We kept it pretty simple," said Baker, who has worked at the store for more than 15 years. "It's completely voluntary. It's a judgment-, sarcasm- and passive-aggression-free zone."
Participants each state their own affirmation, which Baker described as "a positive statement said in the present tense about the future."
"Sometimes people recognize each other by thanking them for the job they're doing," he said. "Sometimes it gets personal, and it's about what people have going on in their lives."
For example, in the months leading up to running a marathon, Baker's weekly affirmation was that he would finish the race in under four hours.
"I crushed my goal and finished in three hours and 45 minutes," he said.
The practice also gives coworkers a chance to get to know each other outside work-related interactions, Gramling said.
"A lot of times people work side by side for their entire careers and they don't know anything about each other," she said. "It gives everyone in the circle an opportunity to learn about what their coworkers are trying to accomplish."
In an industry with high employee turnover rates, Gramling said retention rates for the store, which sells an average of 40 new and 60 used vehicles monthly, are at an all-time high. More than half of the approximately 85 employees have been there for at least five years, and almost a third have been there more than 10 years.
"It's a nice thing for everyone to get feedback every Friday," Gramling said. "We're strong believers that the culture is going to drive the entire business. If people come to work and they're happy and feel that they're a part of something, ultimately they're going to be more enthusiastic with the clients. It's a can-do kind of attitude, and we continue to grow from it."