Working at Bozard Ford Lincoln is at the top of the wishlist for many in the St. Augustine automotive scene. The dealership has been named National Dealer of the Year and the No. 1 Ford Lincoln Dealer in the Nation by DealerRater.com, and it’s making a large impact in its Florida community with various community service projects.
But what’s the one thing that has kept both its customer and employee retention rates so high? Though its success relies on a number of moving pieces, nearly all of it can be traced back to the dealership’s stellar work culture.
All 189 employees at Bozard Ford Lincoln are encouraged by each other and by management to do the best work they can, within the dealership and in the greater community. Not only is this great for prospective employees to see, but the culture that this dealership has in place is also what keeps people coming back.
Because of the dealership’s strong focus on fostering a healthy internal culture, it has noticed increased efficiency across all departments, greater customer satisfaction and team members being closer to one another than ever before. Ed Roberts, who serves as the dealership’s parts and service director, attributes its strong culture to three areas of importance.
Instilling Diversity in Groups
“One of the biggest things we focus on is teamwork,” Roberts says. “Everyone in every department works with some sort of team. ”
As the foundation of Bozard Ford Lincoln’s internal culture, teamwork is apparent within every department of the dealership. This helps in keeping efficiency rates high, it helps with making communication easier, and it helps employees make connections at work so they feel at ease.
“Team morale is a big deal. It’s instrumental. If someone is out for the day, they know that they don’t have to worry about the work being covered,” Roberts says. “Their team always has their back.”
Because teamwork is such an important part of how things flow at Bozard Ford Lincoln, a lot of thought and intention is put into developing teams. In order to appeal to different types of customers and to have a well-rounded perspective, teams at the dealership are determined by a number of different factors.
“We put our teams together in a very intentional way. We base our teams on skills, personality, strengths and weaknesses,” Roberts says. “Teams need to have multiple perspectives and a lot of diversity in order to be successful.”
Part of the diversity aspect of their team matchmaking process is focusing on gender and background within teams. In such a male-dominated industry, Bozard Ford Lincoln makes sure to have a mix of male and female employees on a team to ensure different viewpoints.
Many technicians come from apprentice programs with local technical colleges. Partnering with both the First Coast Technical College in St. Augustine and the J-Tech Institute in Jacksonville, the dealership has a plentiful and diverse pool of applicants in which to choose.
By focusing a significant amount of their energy into these development programs, Bozard Ford Lincoln is able to instill a strong sense of teamwork early on in its employees. Though chemistry between employees is never guaranteed, connections are more likely to be strong when teamwork is introduced right off the bat.
Rewarding Great Work
There’s something to be said for letting people know that you appreciate them, and Bozard Ford Lincoln does this best.
Employees have the opportunity to be rewarded with employee of the month programs in various departments. For larger or yearly awards, often, employees will get to choose their gift. Rewards like tickets to NFL games, Alaskan cruises and cash incentives are not out of the ordinary at Bozard Ford Lincoln.
Beyond individual awards, Bozard Ford Lincoln hosts a number of fun events for the entire staff to show that their work is valued. From ping pong brackets to fantasy football leagues, local 5Ks to company-wide golf tournaments, the dealership consistently provides opportunities for employees to bond and engage in healthy competition beyond work.
To build team unity even further, they have a rule that partners, teams, opponents, etc., need to be made up of people from a variety of different departments. Roberts says that they have a very open policy of keeping departments communicating during the weekdays, and that policy carries into the fun activities they do, as well.
“With everything we do at our dealership, everyone needs to be on the same page,” Roberts says. “Not only is that important to promote to customers and future employees, but it needs to be real in our staff.”
Promoting Community Engagement
“We really pay attention to the whole experience at our dealership,” Roberts says. “And a big part of that experience for customers and employees is our community involvement.”
Employees in all departments are encouraged to do their best work both within the dealership and out in their Florida community. Bozard Ford Lincoln acts on its word by allowing four paid hours of community involvement to each employee, each month. Whether it’s volunteering at a local nonprofit or helping coach the local high school football team, employees are able to intertwine their careers with local efforts, which is a huge piece in retention.
“Our vision statement is ‘Driven to inspire’ with each letter representing a different aspect of our business,” Roberts says. “The ‘E’ stands for engage.”
Community involvement is strongly encouraged by leadership at Bozard Ford Lincoln, but employees take the lead in deciding how they want to volunteer. Several employees serve on local nonprofit boards and have been recognized for their influence outside of the shop.
Not only is this aspect appealing to current employees in terms of retention, but Roberts says working for a dealership that genuinely cares about the local community is a major selling point to prospective employees, as well.