A suggestion box in the corner or an open-door management policy isn't enough.
Successful dealerships are proving that it pays to let employees voice concerns without giving their names and through multiple communication options — if, that is, the dealership is then active and creative in responding. Those employee concerns can range from co-workers' behavior to an idea for speeding the morning check-in line in the service department to abusive language in the workplace to suspicions of fraud or theft.
Take Penske Automotive Group, which has 20 dealerships on this year's Best Dealerships To Work For list. When someone calls the group's employee hotline, Mike Boening from the corporate human resources department initiates an investigation that eventually lands on the desk of Bud Denker, executive vice president of human resources. Denker and Boening emphasized the importance of employees being able to report anonymously. The need for objectivity and confidentiality is paramount, they stressed. The fact that the hotline has worked well for 14 years is strong evidence.
An outside vendor administers the 800 number, but the HR team handles the process. "We've done a good job of being the moderators, being the trainers and being, frankly, the objective third party that brings these things to resolution," Denker said.