In its drive to create the ‘best place to work’, Scottish dealership group Peter Vardy is confident the company will also emerge as the ‘best place to buy’.
As winners of this year’s AM’s Best Training Programme award, Peter Vardy’s group HR director Huw Roberts and academy director Elaine Ashworth will take to the stage once more at the AM/IMI People Conference on June 12.
Taking place at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, prior to the prestigious AM100 Dinner, the conference is a first for the industry and includes insights into various aspects of attracting, retaining and training staff.
Roberts and Ashworth will show how the group’s focus on its staff has contributed to an over-achievement of business plans by 30% and a return on sales of almost 3%. More importantly, the group boasts 85% retention within the core sites and gained 10 percentage points in 2013 over the previous year’s training score in ‘The Times Best 100 companies to work for’ league, taking the group to 71%.
At the heart of its strategy is the Peter Vardy Academy, which has just celebrated its second birthday, where all managers receive one day’s training a month on leadership skills and operational issues to further drive performance as well as providing structured training for all other employees including customer service workshops.
However, training is only half the story, Peter Vardy incorporates a number of other initiatives including allocating a ‘buddy’ for new starters whilst the third day of induction training enables new recruits to ‘give something back’ to the community and work as a volunteer for the day.
Commented Ashworth: “We have had people work in food banks and other local charities or with community agencies and it has proved to be one of the most successful policies we have introduced and certainly has the ‘wow’ factor.
New employees are surprised that we encourage them to participate in the local community this way and they wholeheartedly embrace the opportunity with many continuing to undertake voluntary roles long afterwards. It fully underpins the Peter Vardy ethos and we think it is one of the defining characteristics of the business.”
Other initiatives include its ‘Rookie Academy’ which was established to encourage external recruits to the industry and includes a four-month intensive programme. Running in conjunction with the Edinburgh Napier University, it leads to an executive certificate in professional selling.
“It may sound a bit cliché but at Peter Vardy we genuinely care about the people who work for us and the customers who buy from us,” said Ashworth. “It is very much a part of our DNA and is a direct result of our CEO Peter Vardy’s belief that this is the best way to run and do business.
“We have created a real sense of belonging to the organisation and our culture of colleague engagement is very tangible. I honestly believe it makes us as a company unique; everyone works together and has a genuinely team-player approach and that’s reflected in the success of our business.”
Tickets are available to dealers, manufacturers and automotive businesses, with a limited number of supplier tickets on sale. To book, please contact Emma-Louise Kinnaird on 01733 395133, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ampeopleconference.co.uk