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Yosef Ayzencot

Customer Care

Building Tomorrow’s Workforce in a Tough Market

Develop and implement a solid company culture

Published: Thursday, August 18, 2022 - 12:03

Starting a business is a costly investment. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, more than half of businesses fail within the first five years of opening. Adding to this pressure were the nationwide staffing challenges during the “Great Resignation” and then the “Great Reshuffle.” This type of workforce back and forth leaves business owners and human resource managers with constant whiplash while the needs of the business continue to go unmet. The problem is finding quality employees and keeping them engaged.

As a co-founder of 26 Motors, a full-service and independent pre-owned car dealership, I can only speak from experience within the niche car sales market. Still, the principles should be much the same no matter what your business sells or provides.

Company culture is key to employee retention

Developing and implementing a solid company culture is the first and most crucial step. Don’t simply provide lip service when outlining the company culture, philosophy, and foundational pillars. Develop them, write them out, and share them with your existing staff. Most important, live by them and demand that your team adopt the same philosophy while working.

Toxic work environments are detrimental to everything—the business, customers, staff, management, and owners. They serve no positive purpose and are counterproductive to achieving any personal or business goals. Employees look at culture when deciding to join a company. In fact, a study by MIT Sloan Management found that a toxic corporate culture, for example, is 10.4 times more motivating than compensation in predicting why employees leave a company.

It’s important to encourage open dialogue and embolden feedback. This creates a level of respect that is key to success and is defined by how we all interact with each other.

You also want people to have fun at work and to foster that kind of environment. When people enjoy what they do, that energy transfers into all interactions, whether with another employee, a manager, or the customer.

Creating authentic company values that mean something to the team is an invaluable process and should be built into your business plan from the first day. If it isn’t, don’t worry—culture can be implemented at any time if it’s accepted and adopted by all.

Nurturing diversity and inclusion in the workplace

The other goal in labor acquisition and retention is fostering a workplace that promotes diversity and inclusion, but in a way that is organic, not forced. Therefore, it’s important to seek people who are interested in your core business. Embrace people who want to earn a living and be a part of something special. Focus on those aspects—not just checking off boxes—when you recruit. Review every application and go into each interview with an open heart and mind.

Our business is in the New York metro area, so diversity is baked in (and we’re thankful for that). Melding perspectives and life experiences brings insights to serve your customers better and grow your business. A variety of strengths can help drive the bottom line and solve any workforce issues.

Giving second chances

A core pillar of an inclusive company culture is to not discriminate, even against those with a criminal history. Everyone loves a good comeback story. As community members, it’s important to embrace those who have traveled astray but are looking for some form of redemption. How can we claim to embrace diversity and inclusion if we ignore those who have paid their dues and are working toward a positive, productive, and enjoyable future?

Having prior offenses and re-entering society is hard, with limited opportunities to travel the right path. Sometimes when you give people a second chance, they will be the best employees you could ever find. A research paper studied job performance among call center employees and found that individuals with criminal records had longer tenure and were less likely to quit than those without records. A study out of Johns Hopkins found after “banning the box” on initial applications, employers making decisions based on merit hired applicants with criminal records who exhibited a lower turnover rate than those with no criminal history.

For example, we have an employee who was previously incarcerated and has completely turned his life around, thanks to the second chance we gave him. He’s been with us for several years, and we couldn’t be happier to have him as a part of our team. People make mistakes when they’re young; those mistakes shouldn’t haunt them their entire lives, especially when trying to find employment. There are many people out there who unfortunately served time for things that are now legal today, and things like that shouldn’t be held against them.

Building a workforce that lasts

Social media, culture committees, and expanding benefit offerings are ways to improve talent acquisition and retention. But none of these efforts matter if your business doesn’t identify and outline its core company philosophies and build pillars to support each segment. Culture isn’t an external concept; it comes from within. It starts with an idea and a passion for people, and manifests through consistent action in how you treat and interact with them, and how they feel after each interaction.

In sales, the customer experience can make or break a business. Each salesperson is more than just an employee. They are ambassadors of the beliefs and culture of the business. Take care of your staff, and they will take care of your customers.

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About The Author

Yosef Ayzencot’s picture

Yosef Ayzencot

Yosef Ayzencot, co-founder of 26 Motors, oversees accounting and staff management. An Israeli immigrant, he first came to America on his honeymoon. While visiting New York, family friend and co-founder Aharon Benhamo offered him a job. Driven by his desire to succeed, he learned all the ins and outs of the automotive industry and has since helped the company grow from a single location to eight throughout New York, with plans to open its newest location in Miami.