Building employee loyalty is almost as tough as building customer loyalty. If you’re not able to instill loyalty in your employees, how can you expect to be able to in your customers? According to Inc. magazine, in almost every exit interview, one of the top reasons for an employee leaving is a bad manager. HubSpot Founder and CTO, Dharmesh Shah, wrote an excellent article titled “10 Ways To Be Sensationally Successful At Your Job.” In thinking about the tips he gave, it occurred to me that while every one of his tips is fantastic advice, they would only be successful if a manager noticed and reciprocated, when necessary.
The best employee in the world can go unnoticed without attentive managers. This led me to turn those steps on their head and ask if some of these steps to being “sensationally successful” could be turned around and applied to management as way for a manager to be… well… sensationally successful at managing.
- Be a Manager who is helpful, not one who tells people what to do – Too often, managers get so caught up in goal-oriented tasks that they fail to really see what’s going on around them. In the performance driven world of car dealerships, top performers are easily identified and rewarded. There are very few directions that a manager could give an employee that couldn’t be phrased as a request for help rather than a directive from the boss. By changing how you give direction, your employees perception of you can change to one in which you are viewed as someone that is there to help them succeed rather than simply someone who tells them what to do. It will also build a relationship with your employee in which they don’t feel afraid to ask for help and, ultimately, that is what you want. By encouraging employees to ask for help when they need it and nurturing the relationship to one of a mentor, you will be more able to manage and train effectively. By being someone that cares about them they, in turn, will care more about you.
- Let performance build relationships – In this context, I’m not referring to your top producers but rather to those employees who make an effort to perform and/or increase their performance. Employees who are actively trying to better their performance are invested in your company. That’s the first step for an employee in developing company loyalty.
- Watch for those who go the extra mile and reward them – The second step for an employee towards company loyalty is becoming engaged with the success of your business. The best way to identify these employees is through their actions. These are the employees that are going out of their way to assist a customer that is above and beyond. They’re the ones who stay late when you need them to; the ones that come in early or on their day off for an appointment rather than have another salesperson assist a customer that they have built rapport with. Your employees have lives outside your dealerships and when they give up more than the large amounts of time they already invest in your business to personally assist someone, they should be recognized above and beyond normal. If they give above and beyond, you should reciprocate for them and show them your appreciation.
- Find the employees who mimic your top performers – These employees are exceptionally important as they are the ones that are actively seeking to improve themselves by identifying your top performers and mimicking them rather than hanging out with your average or sub-par performers. Just as good managers recognize the value in training, your future superstars will develop out of employees who are seeking to better themselves and further their success.
- Identify employees who stand out – These employees are the ones that are providing not only exceptional customer experiences but are the ones providing exceptional company culture experiences. They are the ones who are bringing positive energy into work; the ones that their peers like to work with; the ones that you like having around and, most importantly, the ones that your customers like to deal with. Most of the time, these employees will also rank amongst your top performers naturally.
- Identify employees who help others – Employees that actively seek to help their peers become better are engaged in your company. They are the ones who want their peers and your dealership to succeed. An engaged employee is actively showing their company loyalty whether they realize it or not. They are invested emotionally. These employees are not only satisfied with their job but are also actively working to make your dealership better both for customer and their co-workers.
- Don’t forget why you hired them – At some point in time, employees came into your dealership needing a job. They all possessed qualities that you felt important to be successful and you made a decision to hire them. Always remember what those qualities were and seek to assist them not only in retaining those qualities but also in improving qualities that may need improving.
Employee loyalty is something that must be earned by a company. In this day and age of high turnover, businesses need to recognize that the days of an employee earning the loyalty of a company are no more. As the Internet has opened up the world to employees and job-hunters alike, employment opportunities have expanded from strictly local ones to national and even worldwide possibilities. Great employees are a dime a dozen and by showing that your company is loyal to them you will vastly increase not only employee retention but also create employees that are engaged in your business’s success and are loyal in return.
Your employee’s loyalty is crucial to developing customer loyalty and retention. If your employees don’t like working for you, you’ll be hard pressed to build the excellent customer experience needed today to differentiate yourself from your competition.