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At ActivEngage we know that a happy employee will result in better services for your dealership and your online customers that chat. We take pride in keeping our Virtual Sales Associates (VSAs) happy and we do so by offering a multitude of perks and benefits.

I’m bringing this up because keeping your warriors happy (i.e. corporate culture) is your best marketing plan yet. Take a look at Suzuki of Wichita (soon to be Subaru of Wichita), they have countless awards and have been named the #1 Suzuki dealership in the USA for 4 years in a row. That doesn't happen by chance, and if you look further into their award page you can see that this dealership takes the time to recognize their employees.

Aaron Wirtz, Social Media Manager of Suzuki of Wichita states on maintaining a happy atmosphere:

"I feel that the biggest sense of team cohesion at Suzuki of Wichita comes from the work itself. While we do have Tvs, video games, free soda, and a claw machine in the showroom,  it's understood that those are for customers. You'll never see any of our employees standing around using them because there's enough work for everyone to do. People are rarely tempted to goof off because the feeling of accomplishment always trumps the fleeting pleasure of wasting time.

Since our salespeople are non-commissioned (salary based with customer service and volume incentives), there is a sense of working with customers instead of against them. This isn't just some line that we feed people to trick them into trusting us, either. It really is true. Yes, we're in business to sell cars, but the reason why  people come back for their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, even 7th cars is the way we treat them.

Don't get me wrong--employees are treated very well here. Every Friday, the company provides lunch for the employees, and on Saturdays, lunch is provided for employees and customers. This is not a cause of happiness, though, just one of its many effects. At other jobs I've had where morale was low, any sort of gesture from management (free pizza, prizes, etc) was only a cause for more complaining.  

Why do we have so many pictures of smiling employees? Two reasons:

  1. People are generally happy here.

  2. We make it a priority to document that happiness.

There's nothing fake going on, either. If you've ever been tasked with trying to make miserable car people have fun for the camera, you know it's next to impossible. If you can do it, you're better at persuasion than I am."

 

If that wasn't enough to explain the importance of keeping your employees happy, here are some additional tips to keep your employees happy:

Keep Communication Open

Business research repeatedly underscores the important role of the middle managers in building an open and honest rapport with employees. This goes beyond regurgitating the company line, which employees can usually spot as easily as an elephant in a driveway

Recognize Success

According to the principles of Six Sigma, a business management system initially developed at Motorola, employee recognition isn't a tool to incentivize success, but rather to establish a standard for excellence.

Set Clear Goals

Psychologists agree that people work their best and hardest when endeavoring to meet a specific, challenging goal. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Albertafound that people who focused on the meaningfulness of their jobs exhibited a 60 percent drop in absenteeism and a 75 percent reduction in turnover.

Provide Growth Opportunities

Career experts rate career development opportunities as one of the top five most important benefits that employees wish for.This especially rings true among the emerging Generation Y workforce. Integrating that need for variety and feedback while potentially improving job performance could prove to be the perfect storm for honing the newest wave of recruits.

Give Employees Respect

A crucial part of nurturing engagement is acknowledging and utilizing the unique skill sets that employees bring to the table. Thomas Britt, an organizational psychologist at Clemson University, suggests that if people aren't tapped for their talents, it squanders engagement and diminishes job commitment.

Provide Feedback

Providing consistent feedback opens up a line of communication between employees and managers -- and the resulting benefits go both ways. Employees gain a better understanding of where they're succeeding and what requires more attention; managers glean insight into office dynamics and daily work flow.

Offer Perks and Benefits

This doesn’t have to be extravagant, you could do a lunch once a month for employees or have some sort of potluck. At ActivEngage we offer our employees, bi-monthly lunches, massages,  free gym memberships, and free health care benefits.

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