We all want the hours we spend at work to have a purpose and make a difference. Your goal as an owner or manager is to establish a work environment in your dealership where the employees can experience an appropriate level of challenge and know that what they do makes a difference.
In a dealership, the purpose of an employee can range from the need to just make money, to the desire to take something that is broken and make it work again. Regardless of the reason, once you recognize why your employees work, you’ll be able to uncover the goals, plans and dreams you have in common. After identifying these shared purposes, your goal is to help your employees recognize that they share common purposes with others. As your employees understand how their work collectively meets their own purposes, the purposes of others and those of the organization, their motivation to work grows.
Identify and encourage
Think back to when someone said you were good at something. You may have been very good at sports, music or art, and someone simply let you know that they noticed how good you were and encouraged you to continue pursuing it as a goal or dream. At that moment in time, you probably wanted to excel in that area even more.
Now imagine if you were given a scholarship to continue pursuing that goal or dream in college. You would be even more motivated to hone your skills. The same thing happens in your dealership. Employees are more motivated when you give them opportunities to develop their talents. Opportunities to grow, learn and improve, are some of the most effective motivators.
Have clear expectations
Communicating what you expect of your employees is a daily mission. When there is clear, consistent communication, your expectations and your employees' understanding of your expectations come together to create a successful dealership. Every manager should commit to spending just 10 minutes every week with each employee, asking and then listening to the responses of just two questions:
“On a scale of 1 to 5, how are you doing?”
“How or what can I do to make what you do here meet your goals?”
Spending time truly listening gives you the crucial information needed to improve your company, and it helps employees feel involved in the process and motivated to help you achieve your goals. Your actions will show them you are motivated to help them achieve their goals.
Why give a test if you don’t grade it?
Measuring is an important part of keeping employees motivated. If employees have a way of keeping track of their progress, their drive to excel naturally increases. The employees know that when they meet or exceed those numbers, there are bonuses set aside to reward them.
Measuring what's important communicates its importance to employees. Saying that something is important, but failing to keep track of it, sends a mixed message. If you tell your service techs that it’s important to bill out all of their time every day and then don’t follow up to make sure it happens, you have sent the wrong message to your techs. If it’s not important enough for you to follow up, then is it really that important? It would be like a teacher giving a test and not grading it. What’s the purpose?
Employees should know that every day is a test that he or she will be graded on and potentially rewarded. The employees’ ability to achieve their personal goals will depend on how well they personally performed. They know that their success is in their hands and are self-motivated to constantly look for better ways to achieve the results they need to achieve.
By establishing milestones that enable employees to measure their progress, and rewarding the behaviors you want to encourage, you will create a level of performance your competitors can’t beat.