You repeatedly tell us that finding good employees is a top concern for you and in a recent poll, nearly 30% of responding dealers said that a lack of work ethic is their number 1 concern about their current employees.
Some say that there’s a whole new generation entering the workforce that simply don’t have the drive of previous generations. That becomes an even bigger dilemma for a business like a dealership where the work can be difficult and the hours long.
If employees or potential employees lack a good work ethic, it’s up to you, and to your benefit, to teach it. Many experts offer strategies and here’s a compilation of advice that most applies to a dealership team.
1. Know and show your brand.
Make sure you and your team are clear on what your dealership brand stands for. Think in terms of core values that will serve as your brand’s foundation. These brand values play an important role in defining for your employees how your business is run and how customers are treated. (Click here to read a “Marketing Matters” column on the topic of branding.)
2. Encourage the right atmosphere.
In a negative work environment, nobody wants to come to work — let alone put in their best effort. Take the pulse of your workplace and make sure it’s professional, respectful and friendly. “A wholesome atmosphere makes for a comfortable one, in which all types of personalities can work together,” according to a story in the Houston Chronicle.
3. Train and retrain.
Take responsibility. Assume that an employee is doing their job poorly because they haven’t been properly trained. Monte Wyatt, business coach and Rural Lifestyle Dealer columnist, shares how to create an induction plan for training your employees. “When a dealership shows interest in helping a team member develop, the team member grows and becomes more committed,” Wyatt says.
4. Figure out how to motivate.
Regardless of which generation an employee belongs to, very few people work hard simply for the joy of working hard. It’s natural to think about monetary rewards to encourage someone to work harder, but one expert gives a long list of psychological reasons why monetary incentives don’t work or, at best, create only temporary changes. Others say to think in terms of incentives like praise or company celebrations.
Perhaps the right incentive may be different for each kind of employee and may change over time. And, if you give the same incentive over and over, like a year-end bonus, it becomes expected. It comes down to really knowing your employees to understand what matters to them and motivates them.
5. Show a future.
Make sure your employees know that you’re planning a future for your dealership. Share your long-term goals as well as short-term goals for how you will get there.
Each employee should also have growth plans for them personally. Work together to outline what that might be and define how they can reach those goals. Not everyone wants to be a manager, but maybe an employee is interested in helping with a special project or transitioning to a different department. Define that path for them.
6. Be the employee you want them to be.
It can be a challenge to be at the top of your game each and every day and be your dealership’s model employee. You face many pressures that are never known by your employees. Just like a parent with a child, be vigilant with what you say and do. Guard against the “do as I say and not what I do” management method and lead by example.
Finally, celebrate the small improvements an employee may show. They could eventually lead to the kind of work ethic you deserve from your team.