The Road to Excellence: An Auto Dealer's Story of Achieving a High-Performing Company Culture

Oct 18, 2016

The Road to Excellence

A high-performing company culture does not happen by accident. The road to excellence is often intentional. Mike Poskey, the president of ZERORISK HR, sat down to discuss this topic with one of our clients, a leader in luxury automobile sales. With nearly 30 years in the industry and 22 locations across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, this auto dealer has taken the path to change the perception of auto sales but also serves as an example to any business striving to achieve a successful company culture. This is the story behind the brand's road to excellence.

If company leaders don't support a culture of excellence, you don't stand a chance. Culture must be enforced from the top down.

A culture of excellence doesn't come without differentiation. They have intentionally shaped a culture that differs from other auto dealers. It all started with changing the way employees were treated, especially regarding benefits and compensation. When they entered the auto industry, nearly 30 years ago, it was general practice for auto dealers not to pay employees for their first sick day or offer vacation days during the first year of employment. Paid time off was simply nonexistent, and high employee turnover was normal. They sought to change these standards, giving employees benefits on their first day and paid time off after 6 months.

Having a comprehensive human resources division has helped to ensure better employment practices. They have a human resources department at each dealership location, each composed of a human resources generalist and manager, most of whom are P​rofessional in Human Resources and Senior P​rofessional in Human Resources certified. With the help of pre-employment assessments, these human resources professionals help ensure the brand hires the right people.

We are in the business of selling and servicing luxury automobiles, not just selling a car. We are selling an experience. The type of people you hire makes all the difference. You can't train people to want to care about other people; you have to start by hiring the right people for your culture.

They are committed to creating an environment that supports their culture expectations, investing significantly in employee training and development, including a full-training university program. Although it is a huge investment in time and resources, employee development ensures that clients receive a five-star experience when they interact with employees at any of the brand's dealerships.

When you are making decisions about people, you should reflect back to your mission and core values. You preach it, reinforce it in orientation, and then you enforce it. We show our employees the experience we want our clients to have by giving them an excellent employee experience and giving them the tools to be successful. In turn, they are able to give our clients an excellent experience.

In addition to employee development programs, they keep employees engaged in their jobs in numerous ways, offering spot awards, annual awards banquets, and member of the year awards with cash prizes and trips, to name a few. By investing in a larger workforce, the organization is able to offer more flexible schedules for employees, resulting in the occasional free weekend. A culture with intentional employee engagement opportunities is crucial ​to achieving a high-performing company culture.

They are not only focused on offering excellence to their clients and employees but also on encouraging their workforce to have a positive impact on the surrounding community. They continuously give time and resources to various community organizations and even host internships for underprivileged youth. These internship opportunities also serve as a valuable recruiting tool, allowing for a preview of possible future recruits.

Having a strong company culture is important for recruiting and retaining top talent in any industry, especially in auto sales. From campus recruiting at college job fairs to online recruiting and member referrals, they will continue to keep their company values and culture at the forefront of hiring, training, and development. Company culture is far reaching, affecting employee performance, employee engagement, employee turnover rates, client loyalty, and more. With intentional efforts, this auto dealer maintains a high-performing culture by making people a priority.

When asked for one piece of advice to share with other companies that are struggling with an underperforming company culture, the response was simple.

Whoever the owner is, ask them how much turnover is costing them.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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