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.