Skip to content

Be the Best Place to Work

No Talent Shortage At The Best Place To Work
Five Tough-Talk Tips To Improve Team Performance And Eliminate Turnover

By Adam Walker
Adam Walker is an Executive Advisor and Talent Analyst for Culture Index, and specializes in helping dealerships hire, motivate and retain high performance individuals using proprietary behavioral analytics to grow dealer revenue. He can be reached

Dealership Owners, if you know more about hunting trophy game or fading a golf ball than leading and retaining rock star talent to drive your dealership financials forward, wake up, I am talking to you.
Everyday dealerships bleed money because of rampant employee turnover. Dysfunctional groups operate without purpose or leadership. The only goal stated — sell more cars. It’s every employee for themselves, surviving to provide for their family. It’s a too familiar, but honest story. It’s also unnecessary, and you’re in the driver's seat. Will you reshape the future?
Built on decades of operational turnarounds and assembling of high-performance teams, below are five proven tips you can put into action fast to grow a sustainable culture of profitable winning.

Be The Best Place To Work
People do not quit companies; they quit people. As a dealership owner, one of your most important roles is Chief Culture Officer. The organization is a reflection of you. The question becomes how much energy are you investing to meet your team’s needs? How do you guarantee they’re respected and feel appreciated when it’s earned? Are you building camaraderie, and communicating through personality differences? What steps are you taking to make your dealership the best place to work; and are you sharing that story publically? There’s no magic bullet, but six months of focused effort will make a huge difference. It takes care and determination, but the results are worth the labor. When you have the best place to work, people talk. You become a talent magnet. Payplans, advertising and recruiting costs go down, profits and engagement go up. When team members bring loved-ones to meet you, that's real progress. Keep going.

A Culture Is Defined By The Worst Behavior Allowed
When a manager has inappropriate relations in the supply closet with a direct report, a message is sent. When great salespeople are pencil whipped by a beancounter, a message is sent. When gossip and drama rule, a message is sent. When leadership does not take responsible corrective action, another message is sent to your hard working money makers, and it is not good. It sets a precedent, and morale plummets. A workplace thrives when structure, discipline, and fun find balance. Winning is no longer in question. If you’re afraid to terminate for bad behavior because of a talent gap, tune-up your recruiting action plan.

Ownership Makes The Final Hiring Decisions
When weak managers are in charge of hiring, they hire down. Before you know it, you have a D-League team, and your P&L shows it. That does not mean you exclude managers from the process. Until managers are trained to hire without bias, and secure they won't be replaced by their recruits, the only person with enough fortitude to hire someone stronger than themselves – is the Owner. In the automotive dealership business, nothing gets done without people. Don’t relinquish control of the key driver to the financial success of your company and reputation.

Assess for Success
Don’t set people up to fail. Nobody wants to lose. Take a cue from professional sports; the most successful organizations use behavioral analytics for smart people decisions. The Astros, Patriots and Warriors to name a few. Behavior is predictable. So are results. You can assess the difference before-the-hire between a five-car and twenty-car per month sales associate. You can assess if the person handling your books counts pennies or dollars. You can assess the difference between a master mechanic and a smoke blower. If you want to deploy a professional grade talent assessment instrument, pick one accurate enough for pre-hire use that meets EEOC guidelines. Make sure it has repeatable validity to manage performance after-the-hire. When it comes with a business advisor and training program to support your operation, that’s the difference between good and great. Help people work from their strengths and win.

Hire Slow, Fire Fast
Freedom of choice is powerful. Accruing a talent backlog and interviewing for cultural fit is the best practice. Leaders know in a week if a new associate has their head in the game. After twenty days, if they’re playing to win, and their house is in order. If they don’t fit, stop the bus, open the door and let them off. You’re holding them back from reaching their full potential. It’ll cost you big time not to. They’ll drag down and chase off your high-performance difference makers. Do the right thing, do what needs to be done.

For a complimentary schedule of team activities to build the best place to work email Adam Walker at