Four weeks later, one thing that’s stuck at the top of my head came from a discussion in Steve Jones’s session, “Understanding Owner and General Manager Roles.” While Steve led the session, it turned into a great discussion about owners, general managers, department managers and staff.
Soon, the topic of employee satisfaction came up. Justin Jackrel, president of Bintelli, mentioned a survey he does with his employees. He frequently sends out a one-question, anonymous, digital survey to employees to gauge their satisfaction and engage with them in a different way.
Some questions are fun in nature, such as, “What did you want to be when you were growing up,” just to get employees talking about the things they were interested in as children. Others help Jackrel and his staff plan teambuilding events, asking, “What types of out-of-the-office activities would you like to participate in with your co-workers?”
But Jackrel also makes sure to regularly ask his employees, “What’s your satisfaction with your job on a scale from 1-10?” Again, the surveys are anonymous and run through a company called TINYpulse. Jackrel has no way of identifying anyone who answers the survey unless he or she leaves a comment that identifies who he or she is. However, Jackrel can send a message to the anonymous polltaker, for example, if they answer a 3 and Jackrel wants more feedback on why they feel that way and to learn how he can improve the work environment. That question and others asking about things like satisfaction with supervisors and satisfaction with their specific roles has led Jackrel and his team to make changes to improve the culture at his company.
The concept is so simple, yet so important, and I got to wondering just how many companies in our industry are making that kind of effort to reach out to their employees to make sure they’re satisfied with their work. Have you ever had a top performer walk up to you with his or her notice, and it shocked you? Then you probably need to be asking these types of questions of your employees as well.
This survey that Jackrel runs came up again in the Dealer Roundtables later in the day. One dealer said he had recently decided to survey his employees via a printed form (which he admitted might have been a bad idea, since he might be able to recognize their handwriting). However, he told the group that those surveys were still sitting at his desk in an envelope. He’s afraid to open them because he’s afraid what he might read. What if they are unhappy? What if they don’t like working for him?
Yes, surveying your staff can be scary. You might find some information that’s unpleasant — maybe they’re having a hard time working for a manager who’s been with you for 25 years; or maybe 90 percent of them are unhappy with your vacation policy. Things like that are hard to read about. However, how can you fix the issues, if you don’t know they exist?
And that’s the next kicker, you can’t just survey the staff, learn there are issues and not fix them. Sure, some things may be out of your control or would hurt the business to fix, but many can be addressed in some way or another. Once the staff sees you’re working to make the company better, you’ll get more buy-in from them; you’ll retain more of the good employees; you’ll weed out the bad employees; and your business will become a place people want to work and want to refer their friends to work for you.
Liz Keener is the senior editor of Powersports Business, a trade magazine for the powersports industry. She reports on the powersports industry through Powersports Business’ varied media, including in the magazine, online and via social media. She produces the magazine’s annual Market Data Book and handles a variety of assignments for the magazine and its ancillary products. Powersports Business is known for its exclusive dealer surveys, in-depth industry analysis, Power 50 dealership honors program and dealer education.