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Let’s face it, employees aren’t falling out of the sky and workforce retention has become just as important as recruiting. Every dealership needs to hang on to every employee that they have, if possible, because replacing employees has become tremendously difficult. That is why you and your management team need to have a proactive strategy for employee retention.

There are dozens of ways to increase employee retention, including reward programs, longevity bonuses, incentives, perks, mentorship, compensation, flexible work arrangements, training and development, and more. And while many of these should be considered a part of an overall retention strategy, there is one method that can be implemented immediately, has no out-of-pocket expenses, can make a huge impact for your business, and doesn’t require a lot of work on your part.

Start an employee recognition program

Recognition doesn’t mean that you lavish your employees with expensive gifts or money. Instead, recognizing your employees can be as simple as showing gratitude by routinely thanking them for being a part of your dealership.

For example: At least once a week, walk through your dealership and spend 2-3 minutes with each employee. Ask how they are doing and ask about their family. Ask about their weekend plans or what is going on in their lives. Then say something like: “I appreciate you being a part of our team.” And when you say it, be sincere.

In addition to verbally thanking your employees, here are some additional steps for developing your own recognition program.

Ask each employee how they want to be recognized and make this a part of the hiring and onboarding process

If you conduct annual reviews, use this opportunity to ask your current employees how they like to be recognized. Do they want to be recognized publicly or privately? There are some employees that will enjoy being publicly recognized for a job well done or reaching a milestone. Other employees would rather have a root canal than be praised in public. In this situation, make sure to respect their privacy, but still make sure that they know that you appreciate their commitment.

Choose which occasions you want to acknowledge

The easiest ones to start with are birthdays, work anniversaries, or completion of a certification. Start by sending your employees a card or email. Bring in their favorite donuts or treats and put them in the breakroom. If it is an employee’s work milestone (like a 5, 10, or 15 year work anniversary), make sure you recognize their commitment and longevity to your company. Your other employees will take note of how your honor someone after decades of dedication to your dealership.

Other ideas you might want to consider for recognizing your employees: create an employee of the month program, share positive customer feedback with your team, and post on your social media recognizing your employees.

Be consistent and make it a habit

However you decide you want to recognize your employees dedication to your dealership, make sure that you make it part of your routine. Schedule your calendar with each employee’s birthday and work anniversary, and set aside time each week to visit with every employee. Make gratitude a part of your culture. And if you don’t think you have the time, then find someone in your dealership who can help.

If you proactively take steps to recognize your employees hard work and dedication to your dealership, you are going to find it a lot easier to retain your best employees.

Have a question? Call Will Rogers at 515.669.1648 or email willr@ineda.com.