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Brandiss Drummer

Brandiss Drummer

Author's details

Name: Brandiss Drummer
Date registered: December 14, 2016


A member of the NCM team since 2011, Brandiss is charged with leading and expanding the NCM Institute to better support our growing clientele in the United States and Canada. As Director of Education, Brandiss oversees the daily operations of the Institute and the full range of training and development programs it offers. She collaborates with clients and subject matter experts to identify training requirements and develop appropriate learning and instructional strategies to meet those needs. Brandiss is a graduate of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Latest posts

  1. Employee Retention: Why Just Having a Pay Plan Won’t Work — March 30, 2017
  2. Why I Still Believe in Santa Claus — December 15, 2016

Most commented posts

  1. Why I Still Believe in Santa Claus — 2 comments
  2. Employee Retention: Why Just Having a Pay Plan Won’t Work — 2 comments

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Brandiss Drummer

Employee Retention: Why Just Having a Pay Plan Won’t Work

Hispanic businesspeople talking

The automotive industry faces some unique challenges managing people, as evidenced by an average dealership turnover of 40.5%, with some positions, such as sales consultants, reaching up to 67%. Also, over 42% of dealership personnel are classified as millennials, whose turnover rate exceeds the average at 52%. In black and white terms, the average dealership will spend half a million dollars a year in turnover costs.

Retention problems are personal

I’ve heard of many approaches to combat retention issues in automotive. Some dealers recommend defining a career path and creating stability through a pay plan. Others point to providing a work-life balance or empowering people to make their own decisions. While all of these points are valid, I prefer to concentrate on a singular approach: relationship.

There are two reasons why I think all roads lead to relationship building: 1) perks are easy to find, and 2) one-size-fits-all solutions don’t work.

Perks are replaceable

First, let’s look at perks. If we’re honest, even the best benefits package is easily replaced. And there are a lot of businesses out there offering flexible schedules, bonuses, and other benefits. That’s the problem with focusing on material things: Your great employee could jump to the next job as soon as there is a better offer!

Everyone is different

Secondly, focusing on specific items like pay plans or flexible schedules leads to a “one size fits all” solution. But each employee has different ideas of what is important to them. For example, it may be vital to Betty that she works in a job where she gets weekly feedback on her performance. However, for Mark, that may make him feel micro-managed. Mark may prefer to have more autonomy, which makes him feel trusted and important.

Relationship building with each of our employees ensures that we are giving them what they need as individuals. Perks can be replaced, but it’s hard to replace a person you genuinely believe cares about you.

Think about it like a marriage. There is always someone out there who may have just a little bit more in this one area than your spouse, but they can never replace the feeling of someone who knows and loves you, the relationship that you have built with your partner over the years. This is the reason why factors such as “I have a best friend at work” and “my supervisor seems to care about me at work” show up on the Gallup study on positive business outcomes, “First, Break all the Rules.”

Building better relationships

So what can you do today to start building or cementing your relationships with your people?

  1. Recurring, one-on-one meetings. Take this time to get to know your employee. Let them lead the first part of the meeting, and be sure to ask questions about things going on at work, as well as significant events in their personal life. The point is to make them feel comfortable around you so that they will open up and you can get to know them. The key is consistency. Set up recurring meetings in your Outlook calendar and try your best not to cancel or move them. By keeping to the schedule, you will demonstrate their importance to you.
  2. Keep track of personal information for each of your employees. This was a great tip I got from one of my mentors. He kept a memo on his phone of important dates for each employee, such as their birthday, work anniversary, and wedding anniversary. He also stored information he learned in his casual conversations with them, such as favorite food, hobbies, children, interests, etc. This information became very helpful to give personalized gifts, or to help personalize the conversation in their one-on-one meeting.
  3. Be relatable. Relationships are two-sided, and your employees want to know you are human, too. Share things you have going on in your life with your employees, when appropriate. And remember, the old-school way of being the “stoic” manager doesn’t work anymore. It is OK to share concerns or stressors that you have, as long as you do so in a way that still conveys stability and competence.

For the skeptics, I am not entirely idealistic. I know that retention starts with hiring the right person in the first place. I also realize that you can’t win them all and that some factors go beyond a relationship. However, I genuinely believe that when you build a healthy relationship with your employees, the other more tangible factors, such as flexible schedules and professional development, will become more effective. As Simon Sinek says, build a great relationship with your people, and they will believe what you believe. They’ll work for you with their blood, sweat, and tears.

For more information on retention and great leadership, attend our Leadership Program in June.

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Brandiss Drummer

Why I Still Believe in Santa Claus

Santa Claus driving a car

I’m pretty sure I may be one of the last few adults on earth who still believes in Santa Claus.  Now don’t get me wrong—it’s been years since I had the unfortunate epiphany that this Santa guy just wasn’t logically adding up. (I mean, really, why would Santa hide my gifts a week before Christmas in my parent’s closet? And why did my parents always think it’s so funny when Santa leaves out a now-empty bottle of my mom’s favorite wine?)

Trust me, when I say I believe in Santa, I haven’t gone half-crazy. I realize, as much as I hate to admit it, that an actual person named Santa doesn’t really exist. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in the idea of Santa Claus.

Santa means looking beyond the everyday

As adults, we are so trained to look at things in black and white: How does x produce y? What are the facts that support this conclusion? How much money did this make me? I realize this type of thinking is critical, particularly in the business world where you can’t just operate off your gut. However, sometimes this kind of thinking limits us. There are so many things that impact us which can’t be directly calculated or measured. As the Director of Education at NCM, I often observe that people will forgo training because they can’t directly put their finger on how this will ultimately benefit them. But not believing in something, simply because you can’t see it, is frequently short-sighted.

Here are a few reasons why I still believe in Santa Claus and how this translates to why I believe in training (and why you should too!):

1. Intangible things can have very tangible results. 

Santa Claus might be an abstract concept, but he has very real effects. For example, the idea of Good Ole St. Nick is what inspires many of the gift purchases during this holiday season, which will account for $655.8 billion in sales, according to the National Retail Federation. In addition, the act of giving can have psychological effects. According to an article by Elizabeth Dun in Science, spending money on other people is correlated with greater happiness. It doesn’t matter whether or not Santa himself is real; what matters is that I believe he functions and impacts us in a very real way.

Santa is similar to training. Although it’s difficult to make a direct and immediate connection between training expenditures and business outcomes, we know it produces long-term results. According to a study by ATD, firms above the 50th percentile in training costs had a total stockholder return that was 45% higher than the market average. In addition, organizations with a strong training culture are 52% more productive and 17% more profitable than their peers. The point is, while you may not be able to specifically forecast how any one training investment affects your bottom line, you can rest assured that the result will be tangible.

2. Belief is motivating.

Every year, Santa inspires people through their beliefs. For kids, often just the idea of Santa checking his list twice is enough to make them straighten up their behavior for a little while. And parents are motivated by their kid’s belief in Santa as well. What else would make them stand in line for hours just to get their kid’s picture taken with Santa? Or wake up in the middle of the night just to move the Elf on the Shelf? Believing in the joy of Santa is enough to go the extra mile for kid and parent alike.

The same is true with your employees. Have you ever had someone believe in you? Wanting to live up to what others see in you is a huge motivating factor for most people. In the same way, showing your employees you believe in them by investing in their professional development can be an additional motivation for them to produce results at your organization. One of the ways it does this is by building loyalty. According to a workplace study by APA, employees who had excellent training programs were three times less likely to want to leave their job compared to those with poor training programs.  In addition, investing in employees gives them confidence that they have an opportunity to grow with you, which was ranked the #1 and #2 priority for workers up to age 35. Even if you can’t promote an employee, by investing in their career, you demonstrate that their growth is important to you. Often, “when top performers leave a company, the most popular comment they make is ‘I just didn’t see the right opportunities here.’” Make sure your employees know that you believe in their success and you will be surprised by how this motivates them to exceed your expectations.

3. Belief unites us in a common goal.  

St. Nicholas, the man who is believed to have inspired the figure Santa Claus, was known for giving gifts to people in need. The belief in this act of giving is what joins people of many different cultures and backgrounds together today. Millions of people across the world continue to perpetuate the fantasy of Santa Claus because they are united in the virtue of giving and the joy that it brings.

Training does the same thing for corporations. It aligns employees and managers behind common goals and, more importantly, a shared understanding of the roadmap to achieve those goals. The purpose of training is to get your people to understand and believe in a vision and the steps that must be carried out to get there. The reality is, none of us can do everything ourselves, and so we rely on our employees and our co-workers to realize our ambitions. If they don’t believe in the same things you do, how can you expect them to carry out your plans effectively? I encourage you to ask yourself, do the people who you manage and who work alongside you believe in the same goals and processes as you? If not, how beneficial might it be to establish a training program that allows everyone to truly understand and buy into the “how” and “why?”

I hope you have come to see that my belief in Santa isn’t so crazy after all. No, I don’t believe that an old, bearded, round fellow is going to come through my chimney in a few weeks, but I do believe that just because I won’t see him doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have very real implications for my life. Hopefully, in 2017, you will take a similar leap of faith with training, and realize that while you can’t quantify it, there are real benefits to having a training program in place for yourself and your people. And maybe, if you’re really good, Santa will leave a couple of extra presents under the tree for you this year!

Give your entire dealership the gift of training this holiday season with an annual subscription to the NCM Institute.

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