RUSSELLVILLE, Tenn. — "We want to create an excellent experience for both customers and employees," Roger Porter, president of Russellville-based Porter's Tire Store, said recently, explaining his approach to business. "They're equally important, and you can't separate them."
Best Places to Work: Flexible work schedule popular at Porter's Tire
Porter's Tire Stores
Owner: Porter Family
Headquarters: Russellville, Tenn.
Special perk: Flexible work schedule
Philosophy: Create an excellent experience for both customers and employees.
Porter's Tire, a seven-outlet, 98-employee operation, offers a long list of benefits to its workers, including 10 paid-time-off days after one year of employment, profit sharing, 50% to 74% payment of employee medical premiums, a bonus/incentive program, free snacks and beverages, a Christmas saving plan and 100% community college reimbursement.
Perhaps the most popular employee benefit Porter's Tire offers, according to Mr. Porter, is its flexible work schedule. It's a little more challenging to schedule, he said, but it pays off in employee satisfaction.
"We've got some guys who work 32 hours a week, and some who work 40," he said. "At every store we have one extra technician, a 'floater,' who fills the holes in the schedule. It's just a little more on the payroll, but nothing too bad, and it's a big bonus for our people."
Mr. Porter first decided in 2015 to create an "extraordinary" workplace at Porter's Tire. A shortage of technicians, he said, made it harder to keep people and retain talent.
"We improved the bays, the tools, the cleanliness of the break areas," he said. "Polling our workers told us what matters to them. We made visual changes to working conditions, and that made tangible changes to the business. It's as good a place to work as we could make it."
The result is that Porter's Tire is a much-sought-after place for tire and auto technicians to work, according to Mr. Porter.
"The folks who were for us are arguably our best advocates," he said. "We've taken the best aspects of a small family business and incorporated them into a progressive, performance-driven culture."
Seth Ewing has been manager of the Porter's Tire Buffalo Trail location in Morristown, Tenn., for about 2½ years. Mr. Ewing started with the company five years ago as a technician.
"It's a really good culture here," he said. "It's very customer-oriented, and they take care of people. It's a very positive work environment."
Part of Porter's Tire's mission, as Mr. Porter sees it, is to elevate the image of the tire retail industry as a place to work.
"Generally speaking, the industry has been viewed as dirty, non-technical, limited as to career paths," he said. "Now, it's competitive with other industries across the board.
"The biggest challenge is letting people know there's a future here," he said.
"We need to make sure our culture of extraordinary radiates through the staff, so that it's sustainable. We've got to keep on working toward extraordinary."
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