Why is culture important? Productivity. Profitability. Retention. Now do I have your attention? Corporate culture is not just the latest buzzword in the industry. If you have people, you have culture. It might be a bad culture or it might be earning you a spot on any number of best workplace award lists. Either way its impact on your bottom line is staggering—especially since the biggest effect is on your sales floor.
According to the 2015 NADA Dealership Workforce Study, the average turnover rate for a sales consultant in 2014 was 72 percent. Once you pull out the luxury dealership numbers, that rate soars over 80 percent.
Just looking at the hard, measurable numbers, turnover is costing you a lot. The national average compensation for a sales consultant is about $68,000. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that cost of turnover is conservatively 30 percent of an individual’s annual earnings. Add that up over 75 percent of your salesforce, not to mention other departments. Twenty turnovers = almost half a million a year in costs. Having a great corporate culture, where the employees believe in and support the organization and its leaders—and conversely trust that the leaders believe in and support them, improves retention.
As a former car dealer myself I have felt the pain! Nothing is more stressful than a team underperforming due to lack of engagement. Drama on the showroom floor, a bad month, or too many minis in a row can lead to lack of engagement and individuals moving on to their next job. When I conducted exit interviews I gently reminded that employee, “The grass is always greener where you water it.” I just wanted to reinforce before they left, there are problems everywhere. At some point we need to teach our employees that they really control so much more of their daily destiny than they realize.
Communication is critical to the success of sales consultants in particular. I believe many could be saved if all the leaders in the automotive industry took the time to truly find out what motivates their employees. A motivated employee stays late, goes the extra mile and works with a happy heart at close out.
These are just a few of the benefits to engaging, energizing and empowering your employees. You sleep better at night without the people problems. Your profitability grows. Your dealerships prosper. Fewer customers are orphaned, fewer referrals are lost, and fewer mistakes occur.
There are some proven steps to building a high-performance culture. Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, the founders of The Culture Works outline them in more detail in their book All-In: How the Best Managers Create a Culture of Belief and Drive Big Results.
At The Culture Works we believe for you to have a competitive advantage in hiring and retaining top talent in your organization, you must be committed to adhere to the three E’s :
Engaged- They understand how their work benefits the larger organization and have a clear understanding of how they are responsible and accountable for real results. And they can see the value of their contributions to the company’s larger mission.
Enabled- The Company supports employees with the right tools and training, and leaders spend 75% of their time coaching and walking the floor to ensure workers can navigate the demands of their jobs.
Energized- Leaders maintain feelings of well-being and high levels of energy through daily productivity meetings, helping employees balance work and home life, and recognizing individual contributions.
To summarize, the notion that an employee needs to be engaged, enabled or energized is certainly not groundbreaking. But the problem is, they’ve generally been considered separately. Instead, think for a moment about these three traits visually, as shaded circles in a Venn diagram: when the three traits overlap, their three colors combine to form a darker richer tone. Any one without the other two is good but not suffient for truly exceptional results.
As Head of Automotive Retail Strategies, Lisa Copeland oversees the go-to-market strategy and execution for The Culture Works across the entire automotive industry.
One of the most respected faces in the automotive industry, Lisa is a dedicated pioneer in the field of automotive sales and brand strategy with over 25 years of proven success. Named Top 100 Women in Automotive Industry in 2015 by Automotive News, Copeland has dedicated her career to revolutionizing the automotive industry. Copeland served 4 years on the FCA National Dealer Council, was named one of the Five Most Powerful Women in Austin by the Austin Business Journal in 2012. Copeland and her team was the first FIAT retailer to break the NAFTA sales record by selling in excess of 100 new FIAT 500’s in one month. That impressive record earned she and her team a visit by FCA Chairman Sergio Marchionne.
Copeland has keynoted at many events including Texas Women’s Conference and her personal favorite the inaugural Women in Automotive Conference in 2015. With extensive knowledge of hiring, training and retaining diverse candidates Copeland/FIAT of Austin earned recognition as #6 Best workplace in North America by Automotive News in 2013 and 2015. In 2014 Northwood University named Copeland “Outstanding business Leader 2014”.