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Employee Engagement: Does Your Dealership Employ The Right People?

  • Does Your Dealership Employ The Right People?

When considering staffing needs for any company, most executives have heard been urged at some point to make sure that they “get the right people on the bus.” Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially in today’s complex marketplace and challenging economic times.

The owner of a small, growing company was preparing to put an advertisement in the newspaper and online for several “job openings” within his organization. The business coach who was advising the owner made his case as to why that wasn’t such a good idea.

“Do you really want to recruit people that are looking for jobs?” asked the coach. The owner was perplexed. “I don’t think you want job-hunters coming to work for you.” The coach went on to say that people looking for jobs are typically dispassionate about the business that hires them. Those employees come to work, do their jobs for the most part, get paid, go home, and care little about the long-term success of the company. They’re vested financially and that’s about it.

“Oh, so you’re telling me that I need to find people who want a career,” queried the owner. “Not necessarily,” the coach said, “because I’ve seen my share of disengaged and frustrated doctors, plumbers, salespeople, and engineers, and they all had careers.”

At this point the owner expressed his confusion. “OK, if I’m not looking for people who want jobs or careers, then exactly what am I looking for to help grow my company?”

“Simple,” replied the coach, “you need to be looking for people who have a vocation to serve, people who feel that it’s their calling to serve their co-workers and your customers. You need to be searching for people with a servant’s heart.”

Dealerships that get it and establish guest-drive purchase and service experiences want employees who know what it means to serve one another, their customers, and the community. A willingness to serve tells the hiring manager that a potential employee has a strong character, excellent self-esteem, and the potential to engage others in a manner that enables them to achieve their personal dreams and professional goals.

The Walt Disney Company not only understands the concept of a “servant’s heart,” but has mastered it to the point where their philosophy of hiring cast members for attitude and training them for skill has earned them success beyond measure as they create happiness for people of all ages everywhere.

And if a dealership is to have an organization populated with servant’s hearts, it makes perfect sense that we also need servant leaders. The late Robert K. Greenleaf, undisputed father of the “Servant Leadership” movement, had this to say:

"A new moral principle is emerging which holds that the only authority deserving one's allegiance is that which is freely and knowingly granted by the led to the leader in response to, and in proportion to, the clearly evident servant stature of the leader. Those who choose to follow this principle will not casually accept the authority of existing institutions. Rather, they will freely respond only to Individuals who are chosen as leaders because they are proven and trusted servants. To the extent that this principle prevails in the future, the only truly viable institutions will be those that are predominantly servant-led."

As we continue our exciting journey into the future, the hallmark of our success in the automotive industry will be founded upon our willingness to enthusiastically serve one another and our community. Therefore, “getting the right people on the bus” means recruiting, selecting, hiring and training those who have a vocation to serve, and then creating a work environment that enables them to lavishly give that gift of service.


Tom McQueen is PDP's automotive industry expert and has consulted with over 400 dealerships on performance improvement and employee engagement.