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Business Management

Why Employees Continue To Quit?



CC_Untitled[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he powersports industry talent pool ain’t what it used to be, eh? The younger generations can’t keep pace with the Greatest Generation’s work ethic. Minimum wage rate hikes are killing your profits and forcing you to pay more for less qualified help. Employee turnover is at an all-time high, and the dysfunction and in-fighting of the employees who haven’t quit is driving you nuts. What’s a dealer to do?

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Hold on there, Mr. Dealer! Maybe you should point the finger in the mirror rather than at others. It’s all too easy to blame the problems on those who report (or whine) to you. Could it be YOU who is manifesting the problem in the first place? I’m no Kung Fu Guru, but it seems many shop owners are creating their own vortex of employee dissatisfaction… because they are dissatisfied with their employees. Grasshopper, do you see the self-fulfilling prophecy which you have been unable to break? It’s called the Pygmalion Effect and it can lock you down into a cycle of perpetual employee distress.


I visit more than 100 dealerships a year, so like a fox sniffing the air for prey, I can smell a culture in the air… or lack thereof. Any customer can also catch the scent since he or she is inside more than 100 other retail establishments a year themselves. We all shop – it’s a throwback to our atavistic hunting and gathering roots.

Like our ancestors, humans internally rank the surrounding environment so we know whether to come back to a hunting ground again… or move onto greener pastures. In any store it’s easy to sense the energy when it is present… or absent. A few more minutes is needed to tell if that energy is positive or negative. The employees themselves (via body language and faces) express exactly what type of management is present. They are perfect “reflections” of how they have been treated and trained. If Starbucks and In-N-Out Burger can build effervescence into their food servers, why can’t we provide some of that secret sauce to our powersports employees?


Of all the self-awareness workshops, how-to-business books and enlightenment gurus I have experienced, it always seems to come back to how each of us “projects” ourselves into our employees and the business culture we collectively build. We get what we give. Whether you are a parts clerk in Muskogee or a CEO in Milwaukee, all of us work in the best industry in the world. We are all fortunate enough to combine our passion with our career and roll it into a 7-day-a-week lifestyle. The challenge comes in separating your rider and business personas – and not mix the two while managing people.


To truly understand why your employees act the way they do, or why they quit, you really need to understand YOU better. Many of the job sites, career forums and LinkedIn Groups are discussing employee retention these days because “re-training” new employees is getting more expensive. This collectively creates the “double whammy” of more time lost to recruiting and more lost sales due to a constant stream of untrained employees. Sure, cross-town rivals and the Internet seem to be stealing your sales, but could it also partly be due to you giving up?

Rather than calling it quits… or losing more employees who quit, you need to focus on breaking the Pygmalion Effect cycle. There are 5 reasons people don’t stay with employers:


1. Relationships
Or more specifically, the absence of any. If putting in the time and collecting a paycheck is all you want from your business, then that’s all your employees are going to see and feel. That vibe is contagious, Mr. Mirror-Mirror-On-The-Wall.

2. Boredom
Employees can’t read your mind and oftentimes don’t naturally “see” what needs to be done. Have you provided a clear list of daily duties… and all the tools to get them done? Without seeing how it’s done by a mentor or trainer, most employees won’t do it right. Make sure there is way more to do in a day than is humanly possible (see #3).


3. Underutilization of Skills
Imagine being a pro racer having to race the junior class? This also causes boredom (#2 above) and forces people to seek out more challenging jobs elsewhere. Did you hire an over-qualified person for the job? If so, where else could you be using their skills in the operation? A little reverse engineering of the Org chart never hurts.

4. Negative Culture… or Lack of Culture
Culture is big – bigger than you think. Without established employee relationships, they are left to fabricate one in your absence. Can you guess why it’s probably a negative one? Set the tone for vibrancy by filling the previous void with energy, helpfulness and satisfaction.


5. No Recognition
Pass out some more “atta-boy” awards and schedule a few “recognition meetings” a month. It will completely change the feeling in your store. Sure, some will poo- poo the concept as childish, but they will also be the first ones to compete for most improved salesperson, customer service person of the month or the customer’s compliment award.

It’s human nature to seek the path of least resistance. So set some higher standards for yourself… and your employees. Take a management course. Bring in a local guest speaker on customer service. Train the “5 Steps to Making the Sale.” Read about Starbucks’ customer service training from a Google search. In other words, take a look in the mirror and fix that employee first!


Turning your entire staff into a more positive and co-operative team can honestly be done in far less time than you think. It’s likely your procrastination to “break the cycle” that’s holding you back.

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