Why Do Overwhelmed Employees Affect Engagement ?

An interesting article on the Forbes website shared the results of a recent study by Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends. The study was the result of an extensive survey of over 2,500 companies in 90 countries. Based on the survey results, the author shared the importance of engaging employees in growing a business and how this relates to customer retention. The survey found that over two thirds of employees today feel overwhelmed, which prevents them from engaging with their employer. The survey further found that company executives recognize that their businesses have difficulties in this area; over 75 percent reported challenges in the following areas:


  • They have a significant retention & engagement problem. (79%)
  • They do not have the right HR skills to address the issue. (77%)
  • They are struggling to attract & recruit top people. (75%)


While I do not know if any auto dealerships were included in this study, the data certainly rings true for our industry. Bell-to-bell shifts for salespeople are very common and sales and service employees tend to work long hours. Add to that the stress involved in meeting sales expectations, and the problem is only exacerbated. High turnover is all too common and is something that many dealerships struggle with. This turnover absolutely affects customer experience. In sales it creates an orphan owner with no known point of contact at the dealership. And in both sales and service causes inconsistent individual follow-up with customers.


There is a delicate balance within a dealership when it comes to staffing. On the one hand, management doesn’t want to flood the floor with salespeople, as it can potentially affect their income by distributing sales amongst more people. On the other hand, if employees feel overwhelmed due to an imbalance in their work and personal lives, this can affect performance, engagement and revenue.


Businesses cannot expect to earn a customer’s loyalty when their own employees aren’t engaged with their business. If their customers aren’t loyal, dealerships increasingly have to focus their marketing efforts on customer acquisition to replace those lost customers. This then leads to inadequate retention marketing, which further increases customer defection.


The bottom line is that there is a direct correlation between customer and employee retention.


It’s absolutely necessary to recognize the interconnectedness of employee engagement, employee retention, customer retention and the customer experience. These are not independent of each other and it can help to face these challenges with a holistic plan that is inclusive of all of these areas.

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Tags: automotive, dealerships, deloitte, employee, engagement, forbes, leadership, management, retention, sales, More…stress


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Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on March 26, 2014 at 9:31pm
Years ago I worked with a research team at Johns Hopkins University that proved work stress created a much higher chance or workplace injuries among medical professionals. It makes sense that this would extend to quality of customer engagement in other industries. Top csi dealers generally take better care of their staff...
Comment by Richard Holland on March 21, 2014 at 9:02am

Thanks for the comments Brian and Mark! Dealers that pay attention would find that revenue increases and employee retention have a direct correlation.

Comment by Brian Bennington on March 20, 2014 at 8:41pm

Bingo, Richard!  I'm not quite sure if it's "holistic" or not, but I've operated a "plan" for a group of dealerships for 20+ years that nails what you're talking about.  Every dealer wants their salespeople to do good consistent F-U, yet if you ask them what they mean, they'll be all over the map.  Honestly, the only thing they can be definitive about is the delivery method.  Ask them what to say and all you'll get are vague generalizations.  Regular phone calls and emails are usually at the top of they're list, because they're the cheapest delivery methods.  But, think about it.  Who likes an unsolicited call from a salesperson?  Who wants another "selling" email?  If it's a highly personalized relationship-building message, telling a customer what they really want to hear (which can be summed up in two words; admiration and reassurance.), with a well thought-out selling proposition delivered almost peripherally, it should arrive at their customer's home via the "Cadillac of delivery systems," which because of its cost, is postal mail. And, that's only the beginning of how to build truly effective, "no giveaways", relationship enhancing "make the customer feel appreciated because of who they are and not the $$ they have", no downsides, gigantic ROI customer follow-up.

Now, a dealership can try to do this on their own, or they can hire a service like ours, thus eliminating the confusion, aggravation and inconsistency caused by good sales reps having to do something they're not that proficient at, or interested in, or comfortable doing.  And, can you imagine a sales rep's reaction when they read "their" own letter, perfectly written to sound like them, telling their customers how important they are, and then knowing every customer will receive the same, each tailored to that particular customer's ownership cycle.  Talk about a loyalty building program that both reps and customers love, we're 1st page, multiple-links-on-Google  "Relationship Centered Marketing" specialists.  As to a service like ours, I have yet to learn of anyone who even approaches us in the amount of detailed hand-crafting we do.  And, anyone who's sold "for real" knows that personal follow-up works best only when it is convincingly personal.  Most of my life I've been a sales rep, and my "numerous reasons to dislike" helping new customers motivated me early on to relentlessly pursue the most productive (meaning profitable) follow-up I could create.

Finally, if you noticed, I didn't mention the name of my business.  I'm also not going to mention any of the endless "statistics" every blog on DE and ADM contain. even though we've had a career of outstanding results. The only thing I will say is that customers place true tangible value on the appreciation and admiration of their sales reps.  Most people who read this won't see the "difference" between an email and a letter.  But, if you asked them what has more impact, an emailed birthday card or a postal mailed birthday card, the "fog" will begin to clear.  You'll never go wrong showing your customers the same level of consideration you give to those most important in your life.  OK Richard, you can have your "soap box" back.                

Comment by Mark Dubis on March 20, 2014 at 12:26pm

Rich, great article and confirms what many in the industry know is auto retailing's Achilles Heel.  Our recent research indicates as an industry dealers spend over $1 billion a year in recruiting, hiring and training costs.  http://ilovemycustomer.com/dealers-spend-over-1-billion-a-year-for-...

Many manufacturer's do not see dealership employee retention as their issue, and when dealers only focus on hitting the monthly numbers, they don't have time or energy to put into building a culture that works to retain their best employees.  I just spoke to an executive at a DMS company who did a study of dealership users. What they saw was a total turnover of user ID's in a two year period.  That's dealership employees who used the DMS not just sales people. How can any industry build customer loyalty when every two years they turnover their staff?  

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