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On Employee Engagement: Improving Dealership Productivity, Part 1 of 3 - Employee Communication

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In Part One of Three, we look at what Employee Communication is, and why it's a lot more than just email, department meetings and PowerPoint presentations.

In this three-part blog posting series on the Value of Employee Communication, we'll explain how a robust, effective internal communications solution has become a new competitive opportunity for dealerships wishing to capture a bigger share of their market.

Today, we'll talk about the basic building blocks of Employee Communication. Next week, we'll cover Employee Engagement, and in our final segment in two weeks, we'll show how all of this manifests itself in greater productivity, profitability and market competitiveness.

What is Employee Communication?

One of the first questions that often come up when we speak with dealerships for the first time is, what's so special about employee communication, above and beyond email, PowerPoint presentations and all the meetings we have here?

The first answer is, email, presentations and meetings are, more often than not, one-way only. That is, they pass information from one person to one or more others, where the recipient has little control over what they receive. The recipient plays a largely passive role, much like television where viewers sit passively as information they receive is "pushed" to them.

In addition, the broadcaster is usually blind to how the information is being received. A television, for example, may be on and blaring out the six o'clock news, but there might be no one in the room watching it. Email, department meetings, and presentations flow in one direction only, and offer poor insights into how information is being received.

Email, department meetings, and presentations — let's call it 'traditional workplace communication' for our purposes here — are like a one-way, single-lane street.

Employee Communication, on the other hand, is different in several fundamental ways:

  1. The recipient has control over what, when and where they receive information.
  2. Management has accurate insights into how information they transmit is being received.
  3. Employees have a means to contribute ideas, feedback and other information to other team members, without using email or having access to desk-based equipment.
  4. Employees have a significant understanding of their employer's goals and objectives, as well as how well those goals and objectives are being met.

Since the turn of this century, there has been a steady shift from information push to information receive. Information push is when employees (or television viewers sitting passively on their couch) simply take whatever information is pushed to them. Information receive is when employees have real control over what information they receive.

You can see the parallel trend in many other areas of people's lives. Television is one area, where viewers use set-top boxes to choose exactly what programming they wish to view. Social Media is now the preferred medium for people to stay connected and more and more, people are moving away from email as a way to connect with their friends or colleagues.

Prospective employees in the automotive industry have come to expect their dealer principal to honor the new rules of the game:
empower employees with an effective employee communication solution. Once an employee uses such a solution in one organization, they find it hard to work in a place that does not have one.

Employee Communication solutions are industry's answer to the need for superior connectivity between team members working on complex tasks in sales, service, and other dealership departments.

Because of technological advances over the past three decades in particular, almost every business task is fluid and ever-changing, so it's hard to imagine, for example, a dealership where employees have no communications infrastructure to support their work and related information needs.

In next week’s blog post, we'll talk about how effective employee communication forms the basis for improved employee engagement, breaking down the traditional silos in the automotive industry.


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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