"I think having a successful store has a lot to do with being personable," said Taylor, who has been at VW of Kearny Mesa for four years but only took over as general manager four months ago when Irvine was promoted to a larger Group 1 Automotive dealership. That attitude — being engaged, accessible and caring — starts with Taylor and permeates through the dealership's employees.
Taylor said it is the hidden secret of the dealership's success.
Staff, Taylor said, "need to know that you're not just walking around with a name badge. And when they know you care — when you've demonstrated that — they care. It doesn't matter what job you're doing. When you care, you show up on time, and you want to do a good job."
So what makes VW of Kearny Mesa special in terms of the quality of life for its employees?
The dealership offers employees a stock option program, and it has a retirement savings match, domestic partner benefits and paid time off to do community service or volunteer work. It also allows flexible scheduling and offers smoking-cessation and other wellness programs to improve employee health, as well as some tuition and training reimbursement assistance to better workers' education. The dealership also provides incentive recognition programs to most of its employees for completing classroom training and for hitting customer satisfaction targets.
VW of Kearny Mesa certainly isn't alone among dealerships in providing such benefits to their employees. If being the best was a simple matter of economics, the ranking likely would be much more tangible and easier to calculate. But it's the intangible benefits where VW of Kearny Mesa stands out.
For example, Taylor said, "Once a month, when we have a service event, not only is it for our customers, but we invite every employee to come out."
Those events generally are catered by local restaurants such as In-N-Out Burger, or Buffalo Wild Wings or a gourmet food truck. At one such event, Taylor said, "We had omelets made fresh for all of our customers and employees."
The dealership also hosts regular employee appreciation days, with catered luncheons, where the whole staff shares a meal during the workday and catches up with one another, Taylor said.