AKRON — What does it take to make an employee happy and willing to stick with you?
That's a question probably all companies and entrepreneurs wrestle with, but it's especially relevant in tire retailing where Baby Boomers are retiring in droves and not many Millennials are interested in a career in the automotive trades.
Tire Business spoke with Chicago-based consultant Darrell Rowe on the issue of compensation and what to consider when hiring or promoting employees.
Mr. Rowe, who retired from Bridgestone Americas Retail Operations in 2014 as national director of teammate education and development, said that in his career with Bridgestone Retail, he found there was no "silver bullet" to compensating sales, management or technical employees.
"What I would say (to independent tire dealers) is their compensation package needs to be competitive with the local competition," he said.
- This story appears in the March 27 print edition of Tire Business.
Mr. Rowe noted that the amount of wages, health insurance coverage, a possible 401K match and vacation/sick time is going to vary by region. But he has noticed that in the past few years that independent tire dealers are changing the way they're doing business by analyzing what they're offering and what their competitors are offering.
"They'll go to professional (trade) organizations and get compensation information from those, then build knowledge on what's offered in their geographic region," he added. "From that knowledge, they design a compensation model."
Undoubtedly, a fair wage that provides for an employee's cost of living is a starting point, Mr. Rowe said, but when it comes to fringe benefits, not every employee is interested in the same thing.
As a result, he advised against stereotyping either Generation Xers or Millennials.
"One of the things I've realized is it's not an individual's (age) group, but their situation that drives them," Mr. Rowe said.