Empowering Your Employees – “The Group Thing”

David Dietrich NewsletterSomething heard way too often in the dealership environment is “Nothing I say or do will change anything around here.” These employees don’t necessarily hate their job, but don’t exactly care for where they work—there is a difference. These employees are probably not going to help day to day issues, or help to build business for the future.  This is exactly why employers cannot afford not to have their employees more involved in the operations of their facilities.

 There is no such thing as stagnation in today’s business world.  If you are not moving forward, you are going backward.  Employee involvement is much more than simply getting people to work well together or having an employee bring positive ideas to management. Employees are looking for not only a job where they can make a comfortable living, but also a place where they can continue to grow.

 It is important for all businesses to incorporate the philosophy to create employee involvement and to provide a positive work environment.  Some of these techniques are known as lateral support groups, simple support groups, super groups, and production teams. These techniques demand a higher degree of employee involvement by empowering the staff with authority, responsibility and accountability in operating the business.  In return, it offers the opportunity for the staff to create the type of environment in which they want to work.  The common denominator in the design of these advanced production techniques is that they successfully use the “group” concept.

 The “Group Thing”

 The common bond between sports teams and business groups is that, in principle, they are both “self-directed.” By definition, self-directed work groups are groups of employees who are responsible for an entire work process or segment that delivers a product or service.  To a varying degree, group members work together to improve their operations, handle day-to-day issues and plan and control their work flow.  Not only are they responsible for getting the work done, they also manage themselves.

 This concept is not a new idea by any stretch.  However, American businesses have been slow to embrace it. We have worked for years on “advanced production” techniques. These methods were designed to overcome some of the structured inefficiencies that have evolved in traditional service departments over the last 30 to 50 years.


 Business must look to move toward a work force of self-directed operations because it works.  Organizations are moving toward this concept because more people are realizing that empowered employees provide a way to accomplish organizational goals and meet the needs of a changing work force.

 Dealers face the ongoing situations of maintaining productive to non-productive staffing ratios at an acceptable level.  Self-directed work groups have offered the opportunity to empower the production employee with supervisory and management authority.  This enables the employee to make decisions and offer solutions that directly impact their work environment and the product being produced.

 Groups may not be right for you and your organization. They are not a cure-all. The self-directed group concept must fit into the larger organizational culture and be comparable with the organization’s overall business objective. The direct and indirect reasons to move to groups, as well as the investment and maintenance required of these groups, must be considered. Some of the direct results that can be achieved with groups are reductions in management intervention, higher quality output, higher production and increased customer satisfaction. Indirect results are increases in employee morale, lower employee turnover and fewer trade union grievances.


 M5 has made a commitment by dedicating time, energy and effort to teaching advanced production concepts as well as many other areas of advanced automotive management. We have assisted dealers and manufacturers in the pursuit of advancing their dealerships to a new level that satisfies employees, customers and the manufacturer. The satisfaction achieved is not merely from putting more dollars into the bottom line—an even greater satisfaction is derived from helping the employees. Without employees, we cannot open the doors to take care of our guests.  Without happy, satisfied employees, the longevity of the dealership is jeopardized.

For more detailed information and to determine whether these structures and operating techniques would be helpful to you.  Contact me at 205-329-3735, or davedietrich@m5ms.com.



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