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Keeping up morale is key in recession

Positivity in the workplace has become more important now than ever as workers within the automotive sector are bombarded with negative press in the daily media.

At Hodgson’s, the north- east-based dealer group, keeping morale high is a top priority for the business.

David Lowes, Hodgson group general manager, said: “The amount of pressure on staff has definitely increased as a result of the recession.

“The key thing is to keep staff involved at every step. They need to know what’s coming ahead.”

Hodgson has been lucky throughout the economic downturn and has not needed to resort to making redundancies.

Lowes said: “We are communicating to staff much more frequently about what’s going on within the business – all the positives and negatives – so they can feel confident they know what’s happening.

“We’ll get our entire staff together every six weeks and there’s a lot more one-on-one sessions with people now.”

While there’s not enough money to go around to pay huge bonuses or to organise staff parties, Lowe said the managers are still keeping some money together to take staff on small group outings like go-karting.

The teams also play football after work together.

Hodgson hasn’t cut training and has kept on all of its apprentices.

Lowes said: “It would have been quite easy to cut things like training and the number of apprentices we have, but it’s important to continue things like that for when the turnaround comes. It’s also important to keep staff morale high.”

  • Hodgson brought in ex-Newcastle United football club and Falcons’ coach Steve Black last month as part of its training programme for staff.

Black met with employees one-to-one to devise a personal development package as part of Hodgson’s Race for Growth strategy, a new programme developed to improve soft skills like communication and team building while supporting aftersales and helping staff individually.

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