If there is one theme that binds the success of this year's Tire Business Best Places to Work finalists together, it's the f-words.
All four of them: Family, food, fun and flexibility
The five organizations that have been recognized this year (see story on page 1) as finalists — SimpleTire L.L.C.; Best-One of Indy; McMahon's Best-One Tire & Auto Care; MFA Oil Co.; and Tire Group International (TGI) — have plenty of attributes in common, but one sticks out the most: the perks they provide employees.
Here are just a few:
• SimpleTire, the Trevose, Pa.-based online retailer that is the overall winner of the survey, allows employees to purchase up to 12 tires per year at cost, to share with family and friends. SimpleTire also provides discounts for purchases of BMW, Jaguar and Volkswagen vehicles, as well as purchases with major retailers such as Office Depot, Sprint, Sketchers and Verizon.
• Miami-based wholesaler TGI has a ping-pong table that team members may use on lunch breaks or after clocking out for a match against a fellow employee. TGI preaches family, and each year, on Florida's "Take Your Child to Work Day," the company organizes a host of activities to teach "all things tires."
• Best-One of Indy has a mobile shoe program that provides, twice a year, employees with free pair of work shoes valued up to $100. A Cintas mobile shoe truck visits each store, and employees may select the shoe of their choice. In addition, the company hosts cookouts at store locations that are free for each employee, including management.
• MFA Oil, a Columbia, Mo.-based Big O Tires franchisee, runs monthly incentive contests, offering opportunities to win cash, grills, steak dinners and other prizes. The company also gives back to organizations and causes that are meaningful to employees such as local schools and Operation Homefront. The company plans to donate more than $40,000 this year.
• Family-owned McMahon's Best-One of Fort Wayne, Ind., touts its flexibility. Each of its stores works with employees to ensure that their schedules are flexible, giving them the ability to take care of their kids and other family members. After-hours meetings are usually held in a fun location, the company said, and it tries to keep the time to a minimum. And food is important: McMahon's Best-One buys lunches on Fridays and provides ice cream during the summer.
Compensation, of course, is another factor in setting these companies apart.
Four of the companies offer a 401K, and three pay at least 75% of medical premiums. SimpleTire offers 18 days of paid time off (PTO) after one year of employment. MFA offers profit-sharing.
Parties seem to be common as well. TGI hosts a Holiday Spirit Week with prizes — examples include Pajama Day, Office Decorating Contest, Ugly Sweater Day, etc. SimpleTire hosts a Super Bowl party during working hours with games, food, beer tasting, as well as a St. Patrick's Day party, with prizes, food and beer.
Best-One of Indy hosts an annual team party where team members are recognized for their dedication and hard work and years of service, encouraging fun outside of the work place.
Other awards programs include the McMahon Award, which recognizes one employee per year who encompasses the dedication and values of the company, while SimpleTire lauds an Innovator of the Month, with the winner receiving a $50 gift card and a certificate.
TGI awards employees a "happiness" pin, depending on the accomplishment achieved. Employees then may trade pins for different prizes such as days off or even an expense-paid trip to Cancun, Mexico.
TGI also does something unique to its Cuban culture: Twice a day, the company passes around a cafecito, or a Cuban espresso. "Nothing like a delicious pick me up after lunch," according to the company.
Some of the other unique offers: Two of the companies offer facilities for mothers to breastfeed; Best-One Indy allows customers' pets in stores, a "treat" for employees; and weight loss competitions in which winning employees are awarded a day off or a cash prize.
Perhaps your shop can replicate just one of these innovative ideas. And maybe next year, your shop can be among the Best Places to Work.
Check out Shop Floor
Be sure to check out Tire Business' latest online feature: Shop Floor (tirebusiness.com/shop-floor).
The feature includes a detailed looked at eight topics common to tire shops across North America: Balancing; demounting, mounting and inflation; tire repair; safety; TPMS service; training; vehicle lifting; and torque.
Each topic not only includes the description of the service, but also has an accompanying video that shows a technician performing the particular job.
The material is intended as an outline of each job to help educate new and recently hired technicians.
Thanks go to Ziegler Tire & Supply Co., the Massillon, Ohio-based retail and commercial dealer and wholesaler. Ziegler Vice President John Ziegler Jr. graciously allowed videographers from Tire Business to use one of his locations for the shoot.
Special thanks go to Rod Lanham and his staff at the Ziegler location in North Canton, Ohio, for allowing us to monopolize one of his technicians for part of a day in order to capture video of the various jobs.