In-house referrals keep turnover down at Georgia Mini dealership

Employee referrals have proved effective for the Hendrick Automotive Group dealership, which sold 1,872 new and used vehicles last year.

“If our employees are willing to say, ‘This guy or gal could be a great candidate,’ we want an opportunity to try and talk with them,” Secondo said. “You’ve got to constantly look for ways to be at the top and the best way is to start with your people.”

Mall of Georgia Mini pays employees $1,000 for every referred hire who stays with the company for at least six months. More than 80 percent of the store’s 53 employees were referred by other employees.

Meanwhile, work force turnover is less than 20 percent.

“We haven’t had any technicians leave the dealership in over two years,” Secondo said. “That’s an insane stat because technicians are extremely, extremely hard to keep.”

Secondo said he hires 90 percent of referrals.

“We save hours in interviews and due diligence,” he said.

The referral program has helped turn the entire work force into recruiters and has created a “culture of accountability,” Secondo said.

Employees who have been referred are likely to perform better because they know a friend or family member at the dealership put their reputation on the line to vouch for them.

Meanwhile, the employee who did the referring is also motivated to do well.

“You never want to recruit someone and then get beat by them,” Secondo said. “So it creates a competitive culture in a positive way.”

Referred employees also hit the ground running because they have a mentor in the dealership who can show them the ropes and make them comfortable in a new environment.

“It gives you a sense of confidence knowing someone’s going to kind of take you under their wing, rather than just walking into a totally new culture and environment,” Secondo said.

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