Auto Dealers are an essential part of the American economy. Not only do they employ many different kinds of people all over the country, but there is good money to be made by employees – and dealers. When Auto Dealers run solid, well-oiled and ethical operations, everyone wins, including consumers. That’s why it’s necessary for auto dealers to have strategies in place that can help protect them in the case of complaints or disputes with employees or customers. In this article, we’ll explore three unique strategies and solutions that can help Dealers stay safe and protect themselves in business.
Dealers Can Protect Themselves by Developing and Implementing Ethical and Compliant Policies and Procedures
Developing ethical and compliant policies and procedures for nearly every aspect of one’s business can seem like a daunting task. But just like you carry insurance to protect you when the need arises, you need clearly defined and enforced policies and procedures to protect you and your employees from potential problems. Here are just a few examples of the kinds of policies that need to be written and consistently followed in your dealership:
- Recording Time Worked
- Attendance Policy
- Unexcused Absence
- Tardiness Policy
- Family Emergency Policy
- Severe Weather Conditions Policy
- Jury Duty
- Sick Leave
- Medical Absences
- Maternity Leave
- Family/Medical Leave
- Military Leave
- Solicitation and/or Distribution Policy
- Outside Employment and Conflict of Interest Policies
- Visitors in the Workplace
- Telephone Use Policies
- Email Use Policies
- Social Media Policies
- Mobile Device Policy
- Substance Use Policy
- Policy on Harassment
- Employee Dating Policy
- Weapons Policy
- Seatbelts and Cell Phone Use While Driving
- Vehicle Accidents
- Personal Appearance Standards
- Standards of Personal Conduct
- Standards of Conduct with Customers
- Policies on accepting Bribes, Kick-backs and/or other illegal payments
- Workplace Safety and Security Rules
- Incident Response Policy
- ADA Policy
- Policy for Employees Working Remotely
- Service Provider/Vendor Management Policy
- Data Retention Policy
- Confidentiality Policy
- Information Security Program Policy
- Encryption Policy
- and the list goes on!
There is no shortage of policies and procedures needed to run a compliant operation. So the first step is to make sure you have all of your policies and procedures clearly spelled out. In this case, more explanation is better than less.
Dealers who need assistance with this can engage the services of automotive compliance experts like Ignite Consulting Partners. Ignite has developed a number of tools and resources related to the new FTC Safeguards Rule and beyond to help automotive companies meet Federal regulations. Their services are remarkably affordable and represent thousands of dollars in time and value in which everything is done properly to meet the standards.
But simply having policies and procedures that exist is only the first part of the process. You then have to ensure that all of your employees are clear in their understanding of them. But how do you do that?
Dealers Can Protect Themselves By Delivering Policies and Procedures Online, Testing on Them, and Storing all Results Digitally
Most dealers don’t know that they can take their entire onboarding process online while digitally verifying that their new and existing employees understand and agree to every company policy. Yes, you read that right. Imagine having your entire onboarding process automated, while still maintaining that personal touch, and having a digital file locker for each employee’s documents, agreements, test results and certifications. If this sounds too good to be true, think again. We spoke with the folks at SOARLMSi.com, an “intelligent” LMS platform, who filled us in on how they help companies do just that.
“Turning your company policies into an interesting and enjoyable online education process is a highly under-utilized opportunity,” said Kathy Diane, Director of Corporate Relations for SOARLMSi.com. “This is the missing link that can revolutionize multiple facets of a company’s operations. We’ve helped companies with high turnover pre-screen applications via the platform, so that HR only interacts with candidates that are viable options. After that, we help them build out their entire onboarding process online so that managers can repurpose that time as needed. The beauty of SOAR is that managers can efficiently maintain personal contact with employees through its real-time feedback features. Overall, companies end up with greater employee satisfaction because there is no ambiguity about anything for new or existing employees. No important information gets left out when everyone goes through the same process and accesses the same content. Employers can easily test for understanding and confirm employees’ agreement with policies and procedures. All of this gets saved in the employee’s digital file and can be reviewed with employees as needed. It’s a complete game-changer for employers.”
The SOAR platform will notify managers every time a new or existing employee completes a certain aspect of their online training or onboarding process. This allows managers to respond to the employee in real time, keeping the web-based process totally personal. Everything is automatically stored in the employee’s digital file locker, keeping record of important actions and interactions. But there’s another huge benefit automotive companies can enjoy when they utilize a private-labeled SOAR platform.
Dealers Can Offer Federal Compliance and Ethics Certifications to Their Employees
SOARLMSi.com has created a partnership with the College of Automotive Management (CAM), the nation’s highest-rated Dealership Management and Lending school. CAM offers the most popular and comprehensive training on Federal Compliance and Ethics in the automotive industry. Dealerships that utilize a private-labeled SOAR platform can also elect to pre-load it with CAM’s Federal Compliance & Ethics Certification. Those that do can offer this program to all of their customer-facing employees on an ongoing basis. Every time a new employee is hired, s/he is enrolled in this training as part of the onboarding process. Therefore, every new and existing employee is virtually guaranteed to be certified in Federal Compliance and Ethics. And guess what? These certifications, along with all other agreements to company policies and procedures, are saved in the employees’ digital file lockers. Some dealerships even print the certificates, frame them, and hang them in the dealership.
In addition, CAM offers ethical, compliant and profitable process training on every aspect of sales and finance. By delivering high quality, ethical and specific training to their employees, dealers can maintain a culture of ethics, compliance, and employee satisfaction. This is tantamount to improving employee retention, customer satisfaction and overall profitability.
By developing, implementing and training on compliant company policies and federal compliance and ethics, Dealers can protect themselves from most potential complaints. And with the strategies outlined in this article, it can all be implemented in less than 30 days! While there is no bulletproof solution that protects against every potential problem, doing these things has exponential benefits for employers that go far beyond protecting themselves and their employees.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Ignite Consulting Partners.
CLICK HERE to learn more about SOARLMSi.com.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the College of Automotive Management.