For dealers, productivity is a key element in our quest for profitability.  Dealers expend unlimited resources on vendors who guarantee increased productivity.  Whether purchasing the newest mind-boggling software application or Mr. Slamma Jamma’s ultimate sales training program, we are continuously in search of ways to incrementally increase our store’s productivity.  

A healthy workplace means much more than occupational health and safety.  A healthy workplace starts with healthy habits.  All behavior has consequences and the negative consequences cost dealers profitability.  It’s easy to recognize an unhealthy work environment by its low employee morale, poor retention, high absenteeism, and increased conflicts.  Financially, dealers suffer decreased profitability due to low productivity and higher benefit cost. 

As dealers, let’s confess that we have not taken a holistic approach to productivity.  In fact, we have encouraged many unhealthy habits in our sales organizations.  How often do we strongly expect a salesperson to work their day off?  Do we even schedule days off?   Yet we fail to acknowledge how burnout leads to decreased productivity and profitability.  We barely notice the salesperson gobbling down an unhealthy fast food lunch at his desk.  Later, we barely notice that he has spent his afternoon searching for Zantac pills rather than selling cars.  Salespeople arrive at the morning sales meeting too sleepy-eyed to engage in training so we suggest they grab a sugary Coca-Cola or Red Bull.   Look around you!  Is your sales team overweight?  Smokers?  Heavy drinkers?  Are they sedentary?  These poor lifestyle risk factors cost employee and the dealer profitability.

Mounting evidence suggest that investments in healthy dealerships and wellness training pays off.  Increased ROI can be found in increased productivity, lower sick day usage, lower turnover and lower health claims; all resulting in a larger bottom line profitability.

Want a healthy productive sales team?  Allow me to make a few simple suggestions such as committing at the management level to be a healthy workplace and then communicate this objective to your staff.  All leaders must lead by example so think about your own lifestyle habits.  Perhaps you could benefit from gym membership or make healthier lunch choices.  You can’t order the fried catfish platter and expect your staff to eat a veggie burger.  Turn off your computer or television at a reasonable hour and get 8 hours of sleep each night.  No one is at the top of their game without at least 7 hours of sleep nightly.  Sleep is so critical to our thought process that if I have an employee that is chronically sleep deprived, his employment could be at risk.

Offer resources to employees.  Twenty years ago, my husband, a Ford-Toyota dealer, was not only concerned over his employees’ well-being but also their loss of productivity due to smoking.  He offered to pay for each smoker to visit his/her doctor for a smoking cessation prescription.  He also paid for their prescription.  Every employee that accepted his generous offer ceased smoking. Dealership productivity was enhanced and his net profitability each month reflected the wisdom of his program.   Perhaps you should partner with a local gym for a corporate rate and offer free gym membership to your staff.  As an avid health and fitness buff, I cannot over stress how invigorating a daily workout regime can be.  I wouldn’t dream of attempting to motivate and train my sales staff without first completing my morning workout.  I am productive, energetic and most importantly ready to sell cars and make money!

Assess your current policies and procedures to determine if they can be revised to promote healthy lifestyles and in turn increased productivity.

Understand that changes take time.  As passionate as I am about the correlation between healthy lifestyles and increased productivity/profitability, I still encourage my staff daily.  They have learned to make more productive lifestyle choices.  Soda use has given way to increased water consumption resulting in less dehydration, fatigue, and headaches thus increased productivity. Smoking has abated.  Less than 10% of my entire dealership staff still smoke cigarettes.  Fewer smoke breaks, fewer colds, fewer sick days all equal more productivity. 

Through education, fast food consumption at my dealership has decreased substantially and has been replaced with healthier choices for lunch and snacks.  The sales team’s waist lines have decreased and their paychecks have increased.  When employees feel good about their health, they have a more positive attitude on all facets of life; home and work.  That same happy positive attitude is essential to productivity and profitability.  

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Comment by Jim Kristoff on September 28, 2013 at 7:55am

Too often, a "balance of life" is completely abandoned in a dealership environment!......

A tired horse never wins the race!

Good article Candace!

Comment by Judy Barnes on September 27, 2013 at 1:07pm

Well said Candace.  I also believe that the better a person feels the more enthusiastic they are, which creates less tardiness and the down rolling spiral of actual work being done while on the job, which creates profitability.  I have joined a great company that has been green before green was popular.  They manufacture products for your health, focusing on more energy and including weight loss as well as products that do not have chemicals and toxins that will effect your health.  

I believe dealerships should also be concerned about the cleanliness of their stores which in turn effects the health of their employees.  I used to work in a dealership that has an open beam ceiling with ceiling fans.  They were so caked with dust.  The only allergy I had at the time was to dust.  While working there I got bronchitis for the first time in my life and it turned into chronic bronchitis.  Also the cleaning products that are used by most cleaning companies have ammonia or clorox in it which will also effect people with asthma, etc.  

If anyone would like more information on these products, you can contact me at judybarnes76@gmail.com or call me at 610-554-4616.

Comment by CANDACE BENNETT MCRAE on September 27, 2013 at 10:54am

Thanks Matt & Daniel.   We lose too many employees to heart attacks & lung cancer and we lose too much production &  profitability to unhealthy lifestyles.  I am not in favor of the "health police" but we can create a healthier less stressful work atmosphere.

Tom, I will be in touch next week.

Comment by Matt Page on September 26, 2013 at 7:35pm

I applaud you for taking a stance on this! I just saw workers at a disgruntled dealership do this on pay, but this is more likely a deeper problem!

Comment by Daniel Tegeder on September 26, 2013 at 6:44pm

Inspiring great article

Comment by Tom Loyalty Coach Wiegand on September 26, 2013 at 4:46pm

Very well done Candace!  Deming said: "The result of long term relationships is better and better quality, and lower and lower costs.  Improve quality, you automatically improve productivity."  He also said: "The cost of the prevailing system of management is failure to keep up with quality, loss of competitive position, and destruction of the individual." 

The prevailing system of management he referred to was obviously our western (American) management system.  Have you ever considered taking a holistic approach to quality?  I wish to invite you and your entire team to participate in a week or two on our daily live online education sessions; no cost and no strings attached.  1TeamSynergy is a Deming catalyst 100% focused on keeping customer-facing business persons and customers loyal with each other within Deming's proven quality-first principles.  I will appreciate your participation and input as participants learn, practice, teach and share best example habits of the highest quality defining moments that continuously improves the ‘cause’ of relationships that automatically improves productivity.  443-910-7702; Tom@1TeamSynergy.com

Comment by CANDACE BENNETT MCRAE on September 26, 2013 at 4:02pm

Thanks Marsh. 

Comment by Marsh Buice on September 25, 2013 at 11:21pm

Cadace excellent post! I applaud the fact that you and your husband offered support to better the lifestyles of your staff by helping them kick the smoking habit which in turn led to all parties becoming more profitable. We do have to lead by example by eating better, exercising more, and enjoying things in moderation. Healthy habits lead to more have-its. Thanks for the great post.

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