• Question: What inspires your employees to care about their work?
    Answer: Employees care about their work when they know their company cares about them!

You cannot force your employees to care. If they don’t care about hitting their goals, you can put them on probation and fire them one after the other, but it won’t help.

When fear takes over your culture, you will never climb out of it until you learn to trust your team.

If you want creativity, collaboration and big ideas from your team, you have to invest time and energy building a high-trust dealership culture.

To start building trust within your dealership's organization, you must remove impediments to trust and teamwork... Ancient, tone-deaf rules and policies are some of the biggest roadblocks!

Fear-based dealership management practices of the past are obsolete... They are based on rules, hierarchy, constant measurement and frequent evaluation of employees, All of which are cruel and at times unethical, but they are also bad for your dealership's business. Your customers expect your dealership to be able to hire great people and keep them happy.  They do NOT expect annual turnover of more than half your staff!

"When companies create ridiculous and demoralizing rules to halt the outlandish behavior of a few individuals, it’s a management problem. There’s no sense in alienating your entire workforce because you don’t know how to manage performance. It makes a bad situation that much worse." --Dr. Travis Bradberry, Author & President at TalentSmart

  • Rules like the ten listed below keep your employees feeling mistrusted and insulted.
    - Who could innovate or collaborate feeling that way?

Here are those ten outdated and insulting dealership policies and rules you should ditch in 2017:

  1. Rules that requires employees to bring in a doctor’s note or document when they are sick. If you hire adults, you don’t need to treat them like children! People know when they need to go to the doctor and when they don’t.
  2. Rules that requires employees to get their managers’ approval to transfer within the group or company. This dumb rule is a great way to get employees to leave your organization altogether! It should never be easier to job-hunt outside the company than inside it.
  3. Any employee appraisal process that pits people against one another, including forced or stack ranking and “bell curve” type performance review systems. Fearful leaders often assume that no manager could have a team full of great employees and no poor performers. Leaders get what they expect to get, and if your performance evaluation system assumes that many of your employees are poor performers, that’s exactly what you will have! Healthy companies don’t build performance appraisal systems that require managers to rate some people low on the totem pole or that rank employees relative to one another. Every employee is unique. It’s the interaction of the team that makes sparks fly! Get rid of any crusty 1980′s-style performance review systems you are still hanging onto.
  4. The rule that requires employees to fill out anonymous, secret 360-Degree Feedback forms on one another. If you want to build trust and teamwork, you’ll encourage people to give honest and compassionate feedback to one another directly, the way humans have done for millennia. If you want to inspire paranoia and mojo-sucking internal competition, you’ll force employees to rate one another anonymously instead! 360-degree feedback is one of the worst HR ideas ever to come down the pike. Get rid of it, and build so much trust that your team members will happily help and coach one another.


  5. Any rule that makes an incident of absence or lateness a disciplinary issue. There is no clearer sign of a nineteenth-century management mindset than an attendance policy that treats any unexpected absence from work as a disciplinary infraction! We are in the age of Knowledge Work now, and we must remember that people don’t bring their best ideas to an environment that treats them like criminals for getting sick or having to take an animal to the vet.
  6. The rule that requires employees to bring in a funeral notice in order to be paid for a few days’ bereavement leave upon the death of a family member. This shameful policy is a stain on any organization that would stoop low enough to install it.
  7. The rule that says non-hourly employees can work until midnight or later when necessary but had better not be late to work the next day!
  8. The rule that prohibits department managers from giving references to their former employees. No ethical leadership team would allow people to work for them for years and then refuse to give the former employee a good reference — only because the company is afraid one of its managers might slime a former team member and get the company sued! If your managers aren’t qualified to give references without bashing people, they shouldn’t be managers in your dealership. 
  9. The rule that says employees don’t get paid for their unused sick and personal time when they quit. This policy only creates an incentive for employees to use all their sick and personal time after they accept a new job and before they give notice. Company leaders and HR folks too often forget the Law of Unintended Consequences — of which this foolish policy is a perfect example!
  10. The rule that penalizes employees for missing their numeric goals — even when the company’s leaders say “Thinking outside the box is our highest priority!” You will never get innovation or collaboration in an environment ruled by fear. It’s easy to put someone on probation or threaten to withhold praise and money at their annual review if they miss their goals. It’s harder to support your employees in dreaming up big ideas that could revolutionize your business, especially when the creation and realization of those big ideas threaten your weekly and monthly metrics. However, you will never build trust or teamwork if you treat your employees like production units!

It’s a new day. Working people care about company culture more than almost any aspect of their jobs. No leadership team can afford to manage through fear and control these days.


On a national basis, it is very difficult for most car dealerships to hold on to good employees, but it shouldn’t be. Yet, with an industry-wide annual employee turnover at dealerships of over 40%, this may be the single greatest challenge to our franchised dealer business model.

Employee turnover sucks far too much profit from dealership financial statements, without a single attributable expense line! Most of the mistakes that dealers, groups and automotive retailers make are easily avoided. And, when you do make these types of mistakes, your dealership's best employees are the first to go, because they have the most options.

The faster your dealership's organization evolves away from fear and towards trust, the better for everyone... Especially the owners!

Edited and based on an article written by Liz Ryan , Forbes Contributor

Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap.
Follow her on Twitter and read Forbes columns.