Staff meetings, job descriptions critical for success

These articles recap some of the opportunities uncovered by our GSA Powersports Consultants during actual consulting visits.

Dealership Details
More than 20 years ago, this family-owned dealership started as a used motorcycle business. Within a few years, the owners began acquiring additional dealerships in surrounding cities. They bought the current location about 15 years ago and consolidated the other stores into this one dealership a few years later. In addition to the multi-line powersports dealership, they have a large Internet sales division.

They sell approximately 1,700 units per year. The local population is about 90,000, but the dealership also draws from surrounding towns and larger metro areas. The facility is made up of multiple buildings that house the main dealership, Internet operations, P&A and additional inventory.

Employee Issues
The employees indicated they do not understand their responsibilities. Their job descriptions may need to be revised and reinforced to support accountability. Sample job descriptions were provided. Utilizing non-negotiable standards as the basis for these descriptions was discussed. They were also provided with the enhanced “Daily Dozens” for all department managers.

Employee surveys indicated that an ineffective leadership structure and lack of communication were major issues. The lack of an organization chart has led to situations in which there are too many employees who think they are in charge, but no real leaders. An org chart must be developed and presented to all staff, and the chain of
command should be enforced. Managers should be trained and held accountable for the performance of their departments.

Part of resolving the leadership and communication issues is implementing and maintaining consistent manager and staff meetings. There was a discussion about daily huddles with the staff. Huddles are quick meetings (10-15 minutes) during which there is a discussion of what happened yesterday, what is happening today and what to expect tomorrow. Weekly manager meetings need to be implemented to review performance reports and provide policy information that managers then disperse to their staff.

Managers also must hold regularly scheduled meetings with their department staff. Sales managers must conduct weekly staff meetings that are motivational, provide goal updates, recognize achievement and include training. Meeting participants must understand that issues can’t be presented without offering solutions. This prevents these meetings from becoming ineffective “complaint sessions.”

Management should reinforce what employees do right. Some of this could be addressed in regular employee reviews — acknowledging positives as well as negatives. Recognition and positive reinforcement is a critical part of getting the most of out of employees.

The Job Motivation Worksheet that was provided will help in determining the form of reward/recognition that will best motivate individual staff members. This exercise should be used with all employees, including managers. It must be presented periodically and one-on-one. Life experiences change motivational patterns. Doing these in conjunction with biannual employee reviews would be excellent.

Action Items

Develop an org chart and enforce the chain of command. Revise/create job descriptions for all personnel. Work with managers on the job description for departmental staff. Utilize non-negotiable standards as the basis. Once completed, hold employees accountable.

Develop goals and incentives for all departments. Provide them to managers to allocate to staff.


Empower the sales and service managers to manage their departments as required.

Monitor and drive manager performance and accountability. Base their compensation on department performance. Continually reinforce implementation of essential department processes.

Enforce the sales manager’s primary duties: Monitoring and improving departmental performance. The sales manager should be on the sales floor more than 70 percent of the time — coaching, counseling and training sales staff; developing and enforcing sales and prospecting procedures; desking deals; and saving sales.

Recognize good performance and encourage managers to do the same for their staff.

Mail should not be opened by accounting; cash deposits need to be counted by two people; deposits should not be made by accountant.

Conduct performance reviews of managers twice a year. Require managers to do the same with their staff.

Install electronic door swing counters at all entrances.

Gart Sutton has been a leading provider of on-site dealer consulting, dealer 20 groups, online financial composites, accounting rescue services and OEM and dealership training solutions for more than 30 years. For additional information on these services, visit www.gartsutton.com.

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