Compensation packages help attract and retain skilled workers. Some dealerships go the extra mile by offering perks, such as free lunches on Fridays, flexible hours, tickets to sporting events, and inexpensive vending machines in the break room. It’s these extras that employees often value most.
Matching perks to preferences
You can’t afford to provide limitless benefits and perks. The key is to offer only those that best fit your employees’ needs and preferences. What they value depends on many factors, such as age, gender, marital status and income.
For example, a young, single salesman might opt for free lunches on Friday and tickets to a football game. But your married controller who’s a mother of three might prefer life insurance and flextime.
How do you know which benefits and perks your staff values most? Ask them in a survey.
Creating a simple, focused survey
Use a multiple-choice format for your survey. This will limit responses and simplify the decision-making process.
Your first question should be about existing perks and benefits. List them and ask employees to identify their two favorites. Also include a list of new offerings that you’ve brainstormed with your management team. Again, ask employees to indicate their top two.
Open-ended questions typically generate less meaningful results. Employees may have inappropriate requests, such as the service tech who wants to bring his dog to work or the salesperson who asks for a happy hour on Fridays. You can put a suggestion box in the lunchroom to give employees an outlet for these types of ideas.
Distribute the survey to every employee. Dealerships that pick a random sample to streamline the process can skew the results with sampling errors. And employees who weren’t given the opportunity to respond may become resentful.
Motivating employees for free
Simple acts of recognition have long-lasting effects on employee motivation, too. Here are three simple ways dealer-owners can boost morale without increasing costs:
- Greet every employee by name on the showroom floor or in the service bay.
- Periodically call someone into your office just to thank him or her for exceptional performance. Don’t discuss anything else.
- Choose an employee to help you with a special project that provides a real challenge, such as developing a presentation to train co-workers or a promotional program to boost service revenues.
Remember, cash isn’t the only thing your employees value. Sometimes what means the most costs the least. Dealers who listen to employee feedback and express genuine appreciation for good work are rewarded with productive employees and low turnover.