EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of six stories celebrating our latest group of 25 Best Dealerships To Work For in Canada.
Automotive News Canada’s 25 Best Dealerships To Work For are separated by a vast country, but they’re closer than it appears: Their employees feel like they’re part of a team; they have confidence in the store’s leadership; and they enjoy their work.
Those sentiments can help to reduce chronically high employee turnover at dealerships, which also face a tight job market and shortage of skilled-trades talent.
“Our anecdotal evidence is that it’s hard to find people,” said Peter Burke, president of Best Companies Group, which managed the second annual Best Dealerships survey for Automotive News Canada. “But when you’re looking at these particular dealerships, their turnover tends to be lower than the national averages.”
The average annual voluntary turnover rate for the winners in their most recently completed fiscal year was 15.8 per cent.
National data for voluntary turnover rates at dealerships is not available, although the U.S.-based National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) found that annual turnover stood at 46 per cent in 2017, the most recent year available. The NADA calculates its annual turnover rate by dividing the total number of terminations in a calendar year with a dealership’s year-end headcount.
CUSTOMER, EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION
Best Companies Group identified 10 “key drivers” of employees who enjoy working for a dealership. Those factors ranged from feeling there was room to advance, to the feeling of being treated “like a person, not a number.”
Michael DeFreitas, general manager at Lockwood Kia in Oakville, Ont., said ensuring employees are satisfied with their jobs is a top priority. The store fosters a team environment by holding different events for departments for hitting goals, such as taking a department out for dinner or to a Toronto Raptors basketball game, he said.
“Customer satisfaction is extremely important, but so is employee satisfaction,” he said. “My No. 1 goal is to make sure that we’re hiring people that are coming into our work environment with a good attitude and will fit in with the rest of our team and follow our corporate attitude.”
Burke said most engagement research firms have found that only about 41 per cent of Canadian employees feel a strong sense of connection to their workplaces.
“The 2019 winning dealerships blew that number out of the water. Instead of 41 per cent, 95 per cent of their employees are ‘engaged.’”
‘WE’RE A TEAM’