Congratulations to Goldstein Auto Group for Winning a Top Workplace Award!
What does it take for a dealership group to become a “Top Workplace?” We decided to ask one of our customers, the Goldstein Auto Group, after they won a Top Workplace award in New York’s Capital Region. This is the second year that the group was honored with the award from the Times-Union.
Goldstein Auto was founded in 1964 and is a family-run operation with more than 270 employees. Goldstein has five dealerships located in or near Albany, NY; including Subaru, Mitsubishi, Buick/GMC, Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge/Ram and Big Al’s, a used car supercenter.
Roderick Sipe, Director of Training and Recruitment at Goldstein Auto Group, joined the company in 2012. He realized the company had a lot to offer potential employees, and it was Sipe who nominated the company for the first time in late 2014. The owner, Alan Goldstein, was a bit skeptical at first. But, to their pleasant surprise the Times-Union announced Goldstein Auto Group was a winner in 2015 and it was just announced that the group is also a winner in 2016!
“Being a top workplace is great for a couple reasons,” said Sipe. “First, it does help in our recruitment efforts. I’ve had several applicants note on our applications and at job fairs that they heard of us because of our top workplace award. Second, there is a feeling that when a customer comes in to buy a car, that they are happier buying from a dealership where the employees are happy and they have an overall better customer experience.”
Sipe attributes the following management styles to the company’s success:
Senior Management Cares
As the group principal, Alan Goldstein is very visible and accessible to all the employees. Two of his children, who are General Managers at two of the group’s stores, have similar management styles.
“Alan speaks to everyone as part of the hiring process, no matter what the position is,” notes Sipe. “He makes a real effort to get to know the employees.”
Sipe says employees are sometimes surprised when Goldstein approaches them and asks them where their kid is applying to college, or how their child’s baseball team is doing. “He makes a point to remember these things from their interview, and it makes them feel good,” says Sipe.
Being visible also means being aware of what’s going on in the ranks. On a recent Saturday a young, rookie salesperson sold two cars. “He was really excited, he had only been here three months and he sold two cars in a single day,” said Sipe. That Monday, Goldstein sought out the salesperson and congratulated him in person, told him he was doing a great job and to keep it up. “That 20 seconds of conversation probably meant more to that young salesperson than anything else Goldstein could’ve done,” said Sipe.
Goldstein Auto Group has company meetings on a regular basis and requires every employee to attend. “We do it in shifts so we don’t close the stores down,” said Sipe. The meetings are used to convey information to the employees so they are aware of virtually everything that’s happening in the auto group.
Managers share information on all the latest projects; where new ground is being broken, what renovations are happening in which stores, and plans in the works. “Even if it doesn’t apply to their store or immediate work situation, I think employees like to feel informed and it makes them feel like they’re part of something,” said Sipe.
Annual Picnic and Barbecues
Goldstein Auto Group’s annual picnic is held on a Sunday in the summertime and all the stores close down for the day. Employees are allowed to bring as many family members as they want and the event is gratis for all.
“We try to make it fun, with face painting for the kids and bouncy houses and waterslides,” said Sipe. “For the adults we have horseshoes and other games, and we also present our service awards to employees at this event.”
Occasionally during the summer, managers at the various stores will organize a barbecue for the employees as well.
Training, Education and Support
Goldstein Auto Group trains all new employees and provides additional education and support, as needed. “The philosophy behind training is that if someone understands not just how to do something, but why they’re doing it, then they have a better grasp of the overall process,” said Sipe. “Training helps employees realize how important their role is, how they fit into the organization and the big picture of where we’re going.”
Promoting From Within
Goldstein Auto Group makes it a policy to promote from within. “Our people know that if they want, there’s an opportunity to stay with Goldstein for a lifetime, and they don’t have to stay in the same job,” said Sipe.
One example of this involves an employee who recently changed roles within the company. “We had a title clerk and she was fantastic. She’d been doing it for about five years and one day she said she wanted a change,” said Sipe. “We realized that to keep this employee happy we needed to let her try something else. She was interested in becoming an Internet sales person, so we let her try that and you know what? She’s wildly successful.”
One of Goldstein’s inventory photographers also transitioned into the role as an Internet salesperson, and a couple of former salespeople are now F&I managers.
“You can’t let talented people become stagnant,” said Sipe. “Besides, when you promote from within, you already know what that person’s work ethic is, what their style is and how they get along with people, so if there’s talent there by all means we try to find a way to nurture that.”
These are just some of the reasons why Goldstein Auto Group ranked right up there with yours truly (Auto/Mate Dealership Systems) as a Top Workplace in the mid-size business category! What do you think makes a great place to work?
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