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Engaged or Disengaged Employees? Does it Really Matter to Your Dealership?

  • Engaged or Disengaged Employees?  Does it Really Matter to Your Dealership?

The leadership teams in most dealerships in North America pay little or no attention to the concept of employee engagement, and yet, low levels of it can destroy an entire organization. As workplace technical complexity increases with each passing year, the need for a more sophisticated connection between employees becomes critical for business success.

You've probably seen the poster that states that beatings will continue until morale improves. And there's another funny one: I have an open door policy, so be careful you don't wander into my office by mistake. They're funny because they underscore a truth about how so many companies manage their employees. In fact, it's how many people manage relationships throughout their lives. Without thinking too much about it, they slip into a purely functional arrangement, forgetting that human beings need care and attention every day; that is, if you are hoping for the highest quality work from them.

A question I get asked occasionally is, how do I know if my employees are engaged? Well, if you have to ask the question, it’s highly unlikely that there is meaningful engagement. In a highly engaged environment, managers, front line staff, and executives intermingle with one another every day. They know one another by first names, and share information about their personal lives. Everyone has a handle on what's going on in the lives of colleagues they work with, and everyone stays connected to others in their workplace community. In very small dealerships, that connection might be informal, but as a company grows to number in the dozens of employees, there are twenty-first century solutions that deliver a foundation for high levels of employee engagement.

Enter the Internal Communications Solution

Like many technology solutions that eventually become mainstream, a decade or two ago companies opted for a grow-your-own solution. In fact, most internal communication solutions on the market today have their roots in a company that built the system from scratch.

High levels of personal connectivity are what the latest generations of employees expect in their workplace.

Embracing an internal communications solution is both a productivity play and a defensive move. It's a productivity play because it feeds directly into greater levels of employee engagement that, in turn, translates into higher quality products and services. It's a defensive move because when your competitors have their internal communication act together and your dealership does not, you may lose your best employees to them.

With each passing year, the pressure increases as those companies who commit to greater employee engagement edge ahead of those who don't. And as each new generation of workers enters the workforce, they bring with them greater and greater expectations of social media-style connectivity.

You can keep putting it off — the embracing of an internal communications solution — but then the chances for achieving a sustainable competitive advantage for your dealership are about as likely as discovering snow in Miami in August.


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

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