I would argue that, as a whole, there is no more diligent sector than the auto retail industry when it comes to knowing the ever-shifting market conditions affecting sales: from knowing how much time a potential buyer is willing to spend on the lot, to competitor pricing, to financing options, to even knowing what customers already know before they arrive, which is impressive. The amount of time and money spent on customer and market intel is at an all-time high. Knowledge equals advantage.
The more savvy dealerships know that advanced market intel can be a huge differentiator, but they also know that advanced workplace knowledge can be equally as powerful. Improving employee engagement cannot happen unless there is a keen understanding of what motivates and drives employees. A concentrated effort to improve engagement has a butterfly effect that impacts every part of an organization.
The famous General Electric CEO Jack Welch once said, "There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization's overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction and cash flow."
So why are there dealerships and groups out there not surveying employees to get engagement information? I think there are two main reasons:
1. People are scared of the results. It takes courage to ask questions that measure you as an employer. However, imagine finding out from the results that a few simple changes could have a huge impact?
2. Management has no interest in knowing. Employee engagement is not a priority, and management is OK with high turnover and low morale — and remaining at a competitive disadvantage. This may be just another way of saying No. 1. You judge.
Our firm, Best Companies Group, again conducted the research to determine which U.S. dealerships were good enough to make Automotive News' annual list of the Best Dealerships To Work For. It's a super competitive list — this year, the difference between the No. 1 store and the No. 100 store was just 5 percentage points.
Answers to the employer questionnaire make up 25 percent of the evaluation. The other 75 percent is based on what employees tell us. The average employee engagement levels for these winners was 99 percent — 41 percent is the average for businesses in the U.S.
So congratulations to the 100 Best Dealerships to Work For. They made this list because they know that happy customers start with happy employees. They know the motivators and drivers of engagement in their organizations. They know that if they don't have a purposeful engagement strategy, they will lose ground in the battle for talent. And they know that understanding their workplace is just as important as knowing the marketplace. Knowledge equals advantage.