Fact: Retaining talent may be easier than you think


Smart-People Leadership Principles

Fact: When your employees want to work with you, they are more likely to stay. Keep reading and I’ll explain a very effective, inexpensive and easily implemented talent retention system.

Paul Zak in his book Trust reported a 2015 survey of human resource managers that 23% of employees are searching for a job with a higher salary while 32% are looking for employment that provides better career opportunities. These numbers are a bit lower than those reported by other researchers, e.g., Gallup Poll, which has suggested in the past that 60+% of employees are either seeking or would accept another position if offered.

Fact: Researchers tell us that a position that offers better personal or professional growth opportunities is more important than money. It stands to reason those employees who like working for you will work more safely. Let me explain.

For just a moment, let’s look inside of one’s body when experiencing frustration. Think about the last time you were frustrated. Your attention was focused inward at your negative feelings of disappointment and perhaps even anger toward the person or event that you believe is the root cause. Consequently, dealership loyalty is pushed to the back seat while your frustration takes the front seat.

Workplace frustration can emerge from multiple sources, but a significant source is within the supervisor’s control. When a supervisor treats an employee in a manner which is perceived negative it can automatically elicit frustration. Conversely, an employee feels much more positive when treated in a positive, supportive manner. Obviously, this employee exhibits higher levels of satisfaction.

Fact: Yes, every supervisor needs to be aware of the impact I just described. But let’s be honest. Senior leaders can’t control every action of their management structure, and every organization with which I’ve worked in my 30+ year career had one or more supervisors that consistently adversely impacted working relationships. I would agree with you that such supervisors need to be terminated if they chose not to change.

Now comes the moment-of-truth. Consider the following continuum and circle the number that you believe represents your dealership’s educational culture.

1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8          9          10

Not Concerned                                                               Focused on Development             

A great exercise is to copy this continuum and complete a simple employee survey to identify the perception your employees have about your culture. Think about this fact for just a moment. Your employees’ perception is more important than the perception held by your senior leaders.

The Critical Questions

Let’s delve deeper into your culture. Knowing that continuing to educate your people is important to retain talent, let’s consider the fact that your dealership is a university to help your employees learn the technical and personal skills to maximize their potential. You want to take advantage of this very important fact.

If I were a set of eyes in your dealership, what would I see you do to show your employees that your dealership cares about their continued personal and professional development? The most frequent answer Dealer Institute course participants’ offer is “providing the technical training to successfully complete their job responsibilities.” That’s great, but there is more, much more you can do to easily show you care about your employees’ development.

Do the supervisors in your dealership regularly ask the employees assigned to them “What do you want to learn from your employment at this dealership?” A variation of this question is to discuss their career goals and how their employment can help them develop and achieve them.

It’s sad to say that I’ve asked countless number of employees that question over my consulting career and the common answer is a smile or a nervous laugh followed by That’s a good question and I don’t know.”

Think about the implications of helping employees to maximize their personal and professional potential while employed at your dealership. You show them you care about them as an individual. Will that help them to work more safely? You bet it will.

The Facts Are…

When employees know your dealership cares about their personal and professional development that caring leads to higher levels of productivity, customer satisfaction, and dealership profitability.

The beauty of this simple procedure to maximize human potential is a decision away and it rests in your hands as a supervisor, regardless of whether your dealership has a focused educational culture or not. As you think about that, consider these factual words from former President Theodore Roosevelt: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

I wish you the best.

Article Written By Larry Cole

LARRY COLE, Ph.D., is a lead trainer for and consultant to the Western Equipment Dealers Association’s Dealer Institute. He provides onsite training and public courses to improve business leadership effectiveness and internal and external customer service. Please send questions and/or comments to Larry at teammax100@gmail.com.


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