You’ve probably heard the term “Doing good is good for business.” Many studies support this statement. Companies that become involved in their communities and support good causes enjoy tangible benefits, including:
- Increased employee engagement, morale and retention
- Positive impact on employee recruitment
- Positive corporate branding
- 82% of consumers–Moms and Millennials in particular–consider social responsibility when deciding where to shop
Most dealerships do support local and charitable causes. But not all dealerships have a high employee participation rate. Getting your employees involved is critical if you want to create a positive team culture. And, the more of your employees that are out in the community representing your brand, the higher your brand recognition will be.
At Auto/Mate, employee volunteerism is promoted and encouraged. We don’t make it obligatory but we do make it easy. The results speak for themselves: I believe that our community involvement programs are one of the top three reasons why employees want to work here, and one of the reasons why we have been voted a ‘Top Workplace’ and ‘Best Place to Work’ for so many years.
However, just hoping your employees become involved doesn’t automatically make it happen. What does make it happen is a sustained and coordinated effort by senior managers. Here are some tips to increase employee volunteerism in your dealership:
Let Your Employees Choose the Cause
Sometimes a dealership principal or manager will choose one or two causes that are dear to their heart and those are what they support, year after year. Nothing wrong with that, except that employees aren’t getting much say into how they are spending their time and effort.
Encourage employees to select and participate in a cause, charity, event or fundraiser. If an employee loses a family member to Alzheimer’s, suggest they organize a team for Walk to End Alzheimer’s. If an employee loves animals, let them choose a pet shelter or rescue group to help. Employees who have a personal stake in a cause will be motivated to rally their co-workers, further increasing involvement.
Put a Manager in Charge
Any employee may choose a cause, but a manager should be in charge of every team. Managers tend to have management skills that will make the event go smoothly. Managers know how to delegate. And having someone in a position of authority actively involved in the event increases employee involvement. An employee may not think twice about blowing off an obligation to a co-worker, but they might think twice about doing that to a manager.
Mix It Up
Events and fundraisers are a great way to promote and foster a sense of teamwork in your organization. When putting together a team for an event, include members from different departments of your dealership. Don’t let the same groups of friends or people who work together all day always be in the same group. This is another reason why a manager should be in charge; so the employees will respect the manager’s organization of teams.
Give Employees Paid Volunteer Days
From an employee’s perspective, having paid time off to volunteer is a big perk. If you really want to increase employee participation rate in community causes, this is one of the most effective things you can do.
Match Dollars Donated by Employees
Another way to rally the troops in terms of involvement is to match employee donations, dollar for dollar.
Make it Fun
One of the ways we get employees enthused at Auto/Mate is to make t-shirts for specific events. This helps to boost team pride and depending on the design, is always something that can pique interest or generate a few laughs. Be creative and brainstorm ways to make the cause fun for your volunteer team.
Recognize Employees Who Volunteer
It’s important to recognize employees who volunteer their time. It can be in the form of an award or small gift certificate; just something that lets them know their time is appreciated. Recognition of this type also has a positive impact on employee participation rates.
There are scores of good causes, charities and events to participate in. Try raising teams for sporting events like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®, Walk to End Alzheimer’s or the Tour de Cure for Diabetes. Organize volunteer teams for worthy charities and organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House, your local humane society, food shelters or Meals on Wheels.
Your help is needed. Getting your dealership’s employees involved is a win-win situation for everyone: the employees, the cause itself and your dealership brand.
Author: Mike Esposito
Mike Esposito is President and CEO of Auto/Mate Dealership Systems, a leading dealership management system (DMS) provider. During his tenure at Auto/Mate, Esposito has grown the company’s auto dealer client base to more than 1,100 rooftops. Auto/Mate has the highest customer retention rate in the retail automotive industry and is the number one DMS in customer satisfaction. Its DMS was “Designed by Car People, for Car PeopleTM.” Find out how Auto/Mate does business differently at www.automate.com.