For Pentagon Group and the people who work there, 2014 looks like being a milestone year. The AM100 dealer group recruited a dedicated training manager in December and has launched the Pentagon Training Academy, based at its site in Barnsley.
Turnover £459m (2013 accounts)
Both moves are part of an ambition to ensure market-leading customer satisfaction and a right-first-time experience for every customer at every stage. Crucially, it also plays a role in helping the company to develop its future business leaders, who will come into play as it grows from the near-£500 million business it is today.
The academy will train the group’s 950 team members on site, at their dealerships across the Midlands, Yorkshire and the North West and via a new online e-learning system.
Monthly and quarterly one-to-one reviews called ‘Pepp Torques’ – in conjunction with customer feedback via Judge Service – help the academy to identify skills’ gaps and lead to the development of a training plan for each employee.
The academy will play a key part in Pentagon’s recruitment process. All new employees will participate in a one-day corporate induction alongside job-specific training. Exit interviews are also conducted to identify what made an employee join Pentagon in the first place and what has prompted them to leave.
Pentagon chairman and chief executive Trevor Reeve said the academy was also a crucial part of a strategy to prepare the group for expansion, as it seeks to add one or two dealerships a year in the medium term.
That strategy has led to the creation of a management team that sits below the directors, with group managers each responsible for one function from IT, training, financial control, HR, service, parts, F&I and fleet.
Beneath them, Pentagon’s general managers (GMs) are responsible for two brands or two sites each.
“The idea is to create bigger jobs so that allows me more investment in the group team. Now everybody is working together, with a very hands-on group team and some exceptional young managers on each site. About 60% of our GMs and 50% of the group team have up come through the business, so we’re supplementing the experience where we need to,” Reeve said.
The group managers are empowered to go into any business within Pentagon to work with site managers on issues as necessary and also to identify where individual dealerships can win more business.