You can have all the fancy lights and curvy designs and layouts in the world, but successful businesses are based on people, and relationships among employees and between employees and customers, says Adamec, a third-generation family owner.
While it’s common to talk about a dealership’s CSI, Adamec emphasizes his ESI. “We started pushing that a number of years ago, and it didn’t come easy, believe me. It goes against some things,” he explains. “The customer is No 1. But you can never satisfy customers if your employees are dissatisfied. You can’t expect dissatisfied employees to satisfy customers. It goes way beyond employees. It’s facilitating an environment in which employees can grow and operate. That’s the basis for doing all the things we do.
“The charity things, the workshops — they’re all important, and you want to do them,” he continues. “So it’s important that you have the correct infrastructure of employees — people in the right places where their gifts and talents can be developed to the fullest. Then you can do these incredible events and incredible dealer rides and all the events we do. At the same time we’re growing our employees and developing our relationships, we tend to the day-to-day business processes because it’s all part of our culture.”
Building employee culture begins with open communications, which includes selected financial information, he notes. “We’re quite open with that. We really share our numbers with all the people on a need-to-know basis.”
If you’re in the parts department, for example, you get financial information on the parts business. “They need to know exactly what the expected goal for the month is [and] what’s expected of them, which keeps team members focused on performance,” Adamec says. “Now our people feel like they’re on the inside; they’re part of the team, not just putting their head down and working.” Employees can help improve the gross profit if they know what the gross profit is and what it’s expected to be, he adds.
Such openness wasn’t easy; in fact, he resisted the idea for some time. “I didn’t want to share financial information,” he recalls. “But some years ago I made a decision: I needed to be more open about everything. Especially as our company grew, the day of me trying to do all of this by myself wouldn’t work anymore.”
So he took the next big step. “To do many things well, I was going to have to have great people help me and to build a great team, I had to share more. Part of that sharing is being vulnerable. But that is the basis of trust — vulnerability on everyone’s part.”
One result is the dealership’s KUDOS program, which honors employees for exceptional service. Employees can be nominated for a KUDOS by customers or by other employees.
“It’s been an incredible program,” Adamec says, “because it keeps the focus on everyone working together as a team, and recognizing and appreciating that an employee can do things that really stand out. It causes the level of service to improve because people try to outdo each other by doing what’s right.” (Continued)