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By Melissa Maldonado, Director of Customer Support

As published in the May issue of AutoSuccess magazine

Employee engagement has become a top priority for 85% of executives, according to the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends study. Across the country, dealerships are competing to win “best place to work” awards and creating great corporate cultures in an effort to drive higher engagement.

What exactly is employee engagement? A company’s culture is defined as “how things are done around here,” while engagement is “how employees feel about how things are done around here.” This distinction is important because as your dealership evolves and changes due to market conditions, the degree to which your employees are engaged will drive either support or resistance to those changes.

Currently in the U.S., 34% of workers are actively engaged, according to Gallup. Actively engaged is defined as employees being involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. Approximately 13% of workers are actively disengaged. These are the people who are miserable at their workplace.

The remaining 53% of workers are neutral, neither actively engaged or disengaged. These are the people who show up to work and do the minimum required, but would leave their company for a better offer. It’s these employees who are vulnerable to leaving and should be the focus of efforts to increase employee engagement.

The benefits of increasing employee engagement at your dealership are well worth the effort. Here are five proven benefits of high levels of employee engagement:

Improves Financial Performance

The cost of employee turnover is high. Disengaged employees cost U.S. companies $550 billion per year, according to The Engagement Institute. Additionally, highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability than teams with low engagement scores, according to Gallup.

The most successful companies make employee engagement central to their business strategy. They set clear expectations and provide employees with tools and support.

Improves Customer Relationships & Loyalty

Companies with engagement scores in the top 25% averaged 12% higher customer advocacy, according to Engage for Success. Additionally, 84% of the “World’s Most Admired” companies stated that their efforts to engage employees had strengthened customer relationships.

These stats prove that engaged employees will take better care of your customers. As Simon Sinek says “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”

Increases Employee Productivity & Performance

Engaged employees are more productive because they show up every day with passion, purpose and energy. According to Business2Community, organizations with high employee engagement outperform those with low employee engagement by more than 200%! Additionally, companies with engagement scores in the top 25% averaged 18% higher productivity from their employees, compared to companies with low engagement scores according to Engage for Success.

Passion for your job also means you’re more likely to come to work every day. Companies with high engagement scores had absentee rates 26% lower than companies with low engagement scores, according to Engage for Success.

Improves Employee Retention

Many dealerships are still struggling with staff turnover, and improving employee engagement is without doubt the best strategy to address this issue. According to Cox Automotive’s 2019 Dealership Staffing Study, one-third of non-management employees in dealerships do not feel engaged or excited about their jobs.

Additionally, 20% of dealership staff are likely to look for another job in the next six months, according to the same study. Average employee turnover at dealerships remains at about 46%, according to the NADA Workforce Study.

Improving employee turnover is not a simple solution, but it starts with asking employees what can be done to make their jobs better. Anonymous employee engagement surveys provide great feedback and direction for leaders ready to make a change.

Improves Brand Perception

People are pretty vocal about their experiences with organizations, and your organization is no exception. If you don’t believe me, just check out your dealership’s profile on Glassdoor, a website where employees rate their experience working at companies. For good or bad, your reputation creates an employer brand for your organization, and employee engagement is a major driver of your employer brand.

When people see or hear about the meaningful work your employees get to do, and the level of happiness and satisfaction your employees have, word gets around and they’ll take note.

If your dealership is experiencing a high employee turnover rate or if you’re having trouble attracting top talent, take a benchmark survey to discover how engaged your employees are. When you address the happiness of your current employees, your staffing issues will get a whole lot easier to deal with down the line.

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