Dealerships have historically experienced high employee turnover rates, and many have also had a hard time attracting the talent they need to reach their business goals.
The solution might be wrapped up in one shiny package: a strategy called The Employee Infinity Loop. Designed by Intel Corporation to address the tech company’s challenges with recruiting, the Infinity Loop takes into consideration an everlasting employee journey and focuses on building or maintaining a strong relationship with each future, current, and past employee.
The Infinity Loop and Dealerships
Coby Schneider, Intel’s Manager of Recruitment Capability, Adoption and Transformation, told Hung Lee’s “Brainfood Live On Air” podcast audience last week, “[W]e want to engage talent across the entire career lifecycle, probably a little earlier too. What does it mean to target even people we’ll never get – but we want their friends, their family?
We want them because they’re going to be our customers. … And if we do get the [employee], how do we think of that person three years from now? Five years from now? Everybody grows and changes over time. We need to keep track of that too.”
She and her team developed the Employee Infinity Loop to manage employee relationships from Day One (Day Zero, even) and beyond, extending to that person’s family and friends. Because essentially, you never know who your next star employee or favorite customer will be.
The strategy complements something I hear from dealership GMs and DPs time and time again: “Happy employees make happy customers.” A strong effort in making employees happy is often required.
Stacey Smith, Owner of BadAss Recruiter, has more than two decades of experience helping dealerships gain and retain talent. She agrees that long-term relationships are key to solving recruiting and retention issues.
“At the end of an employee’s career, there’s a big retirement party. But their first day should be like that too – a big party!” Smith says. “Think of the impact you’ll have on that person. You’re celebrating the fact that they’ve joined your team, and you’re introducing them to your people, your culture.”
Culture is key to forming and growing good employee-employer relationships, Smith adds. Your dealership already has culture, whether you’ve created it consciously or not, but it’s never too late to reshape it.
“Both sides bring value – employees are as valuable to you as you are to them,” she says. “Your culture is probably the strongest indicator of whether you value your employees.”
In addition to showing enthusiasm for your employees, such as by throwing first-day parties (as well as retirement parties), Smith has other tips for building culture.
- Stick to your word. Too often Smith sees benefits or bonuses or something else promised to applicants, new employees, or current employees, and never delivered. This quickly destroys trust and thus relationships.
- Provide incentives for and stepping stones to success throughout their career. “It’s really important to mentor, coach, even hold hands a bit with new people, especially the younger generation,” Smith says. “They need to know that advancement is possible, and they need to be able to visualize each step for getting there.” Keep communication lines open with current employees so that they’re comfortable sharing their own goals with you.
- Never end the relationship. Even when an employee does someday leave. As Schneider says, they might turn into a customer, or refer new talent, or refer more customers. The best thing you can do when an employee leaves is to wish them well and thank them for working for you. Then keep communication open, even if just on Facebook or other social media.
- Be sure to always treat every customer with appreciation and respect. “This might seem like a no-brainer,” Smith says, “but if you’re not treating your customers well, why would somebody be excited about working for you?”
It’s never too late to build the dealership culture you want for relationships that are meaningful and successful. Think of each employee relationship as an infinite loop, encircling potential customers and referrals, and you’ll have a built-in path to success.