One reason study abroad programs are so popular for today’s youth is that it opens one’s eyes up to new experiences and cultures. Very often, some of our fondest memories in life stem from vacations we’ve taken. Travel we’ve made. It’s expanded our thinking and changed our beliefs about how we fit into our world. Very few things can have as profound an impact as going from place to place. Getting around.
Each one of our dealerships are their own separate little planet. As you move from department to department, you pick up life experiences. Each different department has its own language, its own lifestyle, its own pulse, its own personality. As it is with most successful GM’s and owners, the more understanding they have about the functions and functionality of each department, the more well-rounded they become in their thinking. However, to get to know the departments, it takes a little travel.
Since we are always grooming each individual in our store to be better, it is imperative that you give employees the opportunity to experience life in other departments, if only for a day. Make it a requirement. All new hire orientation programs, regardless of the department for which you hired, should insist each candidate spends time in the dealership’s other departments. Allow your employees (new and current) to witness what it takes to perform the daily duties required of their coworkers from other departments.
Dedicate one spokesperson (Department Liason) from each department (Sales, Service, Body Shop, Aftermarket, Marketing, Internet, Management, Finance, Parts) and create an internal ‘Study Abroad’ programs where they can see what goes on behind the curtain. And for dedicating some of their valuable time to the greater good, the Department Liaisons that are taking the shadows under their wing can be promised the first look when a promotion/opportunity comes up in their department.
Not only does it help build organizational rapport, but it gives your employees the chance to see all the work that goes into operating the whole rather than just the section. If you do right, you hire everyone with the hopes of them being the General Manager of the future. If this is true, then you must let them travel throughout the other departments even if just for a few hours a month or a day a quarter. The understanding of the dealership on an organizational level will be a true benefit to every employee.
You don’t have to distract them from their focus… just let them see through someone else’s eyes. Their area of concentration will always be their own department, but if you are an employee looking to grow, or a dealer looking to have your employees love the dealership as much as they love their team, then it’s good to do the ‘Get Around’.