Five or six times a week, your employees get up in the morning and say to themselves: “I have to go to work today.” That’s good because you hired workers to produce—or assist in producing—gross in the first place.
Here is the big question, though: Do your work expectations match your employees’ work expectations? You likely want your employees to put in a full day of activity at work; you know, working while at work. On the other hand, your employees may believe that “as long as I am at work, I am working.” Notice the difference?
How do you know if you are getting the full work production out of your employees? Be observant.
Compare the numbers produced by your departments against industry production benchmarks: How are you doing? Is one department falling behind? Then, inspect all departments in the dealership, at all time slots, to see if or when there are pockets of idle time or non-productivity.
Create productive employees
If your departments are not producing as they should, it’s time to make sure your employees work at work! First, evaluate your employees. Here are some questions to consider:
- Are your sales people producing the volume and gross as you would expect a professional sales person to achieve?
- Is your used vehicle manager producing the inventory turn you need to achieve your return on investment?
- Does your service department produce the simple key performance indicators, such as gross as a percentage of sales, increasing your effective labor rate and selling more hours per RO?
Once you’ve identified any problems, you need to develop a correction plan. One of the first things I recommend is educating your staff through the NCM Institute, especially if you haven’t yet invested in formal training for your team. If you’ve already taken the time to train your people, there may be some process issues happening—be sure to talk with your NCM 20 Group moderator and 20 Group members about opportunities for improvement. Another option is to meet with one of our consultants, who will review your operations and help draft an action plan.
Is downtime okay?
You may say, “It’s OK,” to have some employees have idle time, as long as they produce to a set production standard or expectation. I agree with that statement to a point. Just make sure that your employees are achieving—or exceeding—industry benchmarks. I recommend you keep an eye on it, though.
Accountability helps everyone
Obviously, everyone must work at what they were hired to do. Let’s make sure we are getting our fair share out of the employees we have hired. Share your expectations with them. Show them the industry benchmarks or standards, train them in the skills they need to achieve these standards and then hold them accountable. Times are getting leaner, and now is not the time to allow employees in your business to not work at work.