Employee empowerment is no longer an option. Today’s top talent is on the lookout for careers where they will have more responsibility, decision-making ability and control over their work environments.

When you empower your employees, they become even more responsible, hard-working contributors to your dealership. By giving your employees power to make decisions and tools to help drive them forward, you’re showing them they are appreciated and trusted, and you’re also building positive relationships that inspire them to readily take on increased roles of responsibility.

Here are four vital steps to remember as you make a concerted effort to empower employees:

  1. Empowerment begins with upper management. In any business, senior leaders must set the tone for the entire company. For dealerships specifically, dealer principals and other trusted leaders dramatically affect the way the entire dealership implements and reacts to an empowered workforce.  By enlisting the help of leaders throughout your dealership, you can ensure everyone grows together and works to boost the dealership culture.
  2. Give employees something tangible to work toward. This is a huge step when it comes to empowering your employees. When everyone has common goals they are trying to achieve, it reinforces the sense of teamwork and helps everyone rally together to get the job done. It gives your pros something to aim for, and it’s even better when your teams’ goals align with your dealership’s overall vision and mission statement.

By keeping unified goals in mind, employees are aware of the overall direction of the dealership, as well as what’s being asked of them on a daily basis.  When your dealership keeps the message consistent, from top leadership to every employee, your pros will feel motivated. With a clear vision of what they’re working toward, employees are able to guide themselves more efficiently, becoming empowered and engaged.

  1. Recognize hard work and success. Every employee wants to feel successful in his or her job, and when you go out of your way to recognize hard work and initiative, you’ll go a long way toward creating a workforce of empowered employees who feel confident in their jobs. It’s important to recognize employees when they do great work, and it’s also important to give them growth opportunities where they are able to put their skills to the test. In doing so, you’re not only letting them know they are valued employees, you’re also letting them know you trust them enough to develop in their current positions.

When you let your professionals know they’ve done great work for you, you’ll foster a safe work environment where employees feel it’s acceptable to speak up, interact and engage—both with you and with each other. When employees feel good about their work and hear feedback from respected dealership leaders, it encourages them to continue contributing to the dealership’s overall success, and it contributes to their levels of employee empowerment.

  1. Remove any obstacles and provide assistance. Unnecessary obstacles—like out-of-date policies, practices or habits—hinder the empowerment of employees. Many dealerships are kicking antiquated policies to the curb in order to be seen as desirable career choices for top candidates.  Remember, a dealership will take its cultural cues from the top down, so it’s imperative your leaders are onboard with removing obstacles and providing assistance when it comes to creating an empowered employee landscape.

How do you remove obstacles? Do simple things like encouraging open communication, seeking employee input, ensuring every employee is able to attend meetings, and ensuring all your pros have the necessary tools to do their work. Strive for open communication so feedback is available—both to and from employees.  The more information and know-how you’re able to give your employees, the more obstacles you’ll remove from their paths, and in turn, the more empowered you’ll make them.

By making a resolute decision to empower your employees, you’ll discover multiple benefits: higher retention, more employee loyalty and better team collaboration. You’ll pave the path toward a workplace that’s full of dedicated professionals.