AM100 car dealer Swansway Group, is celebrating their fifth consecutive year in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work for list.
The family owned and run business was placed at number 35 in the list, a real achievement having risen from 75 in 2011.
The list recognises businesses that provide a great working experience for staff and as the results are based totally on anonymous staff surveys.
Swansway group director John Smyth said: “The ranking is purely based on employee feedback, so, as a family business it’s great to know we are getting it right. We try to treat our employees as one big extended family and our consistent rankings, confirms that’s how they feel.”
His brother and fellow director David said: “Our core values of caring, honest and proud, may sound a little old-fashioned in this digital age; but the proof is in the results, our happy staff lead to happy customers, which in turn give us great results across the board.”
Swansway has 17 sites, with 11 brands, including Audi, Volkswagen, Seat, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Honda, Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat, Jeep, Abarth and Land Rover.
Sytner came second in the 25 Best Big Companies To Work For countdown.
The Sunday Times' citation for Swansway:
"Swansway Garages is a family affair. Michael Smyth, the chairman, is known as the father of the business, but Swansway is not his only baby — his sons David, Peter and John run it alongside their dad.
Smyth Sr has had 45-plus years in the car trade. He started out repairing and servicing vehicles in a shed, acquiring petrol forecourts before building and becoming the largest Toyota and Lexus dealer in Europe. His family now owns and runs an 18-strong chain of approved dealerships for car brands that include Audi, Volkswagen, Seat and Honda, as well as two accident repair centres.
With headquarters in Crewe, the 678 Swansway employees work in 18 sites across the northwest and West Midlands, selling new and used cars to individuals as well as to fleet customers, plus delivering services and repairs. Their bosses’ willingness to roll up their sleeves and get on with any task and their passion for the business is noted among the workforce, who say senior managers truly live the company's values, giving this measure a top-30 score of 77% positive. The staff have faith in Smyth Sr (83%) and say he runs the company on sound morals (82%).
Constant easy dialogue is the Swansway approach to communication within the firm. An open-door policy allows workers to speak to line managers as and when needed. The company also has an allotted 'buddy' who acts as a sounding board for employees to speak to off the record if they would rather not go to their manager or human resources.
Backroom staff, who are often overlooked in favour of salespeople within the industry, are celebrated at Swansway with 'unsung hero' awards every quarter. People nominate colleagues who have made an outstanding contribution and, with board approval, the winners receive trophies and £50 of gift vouchers.
Those at the frontline get a look-in too, however, and competitive spirit in the sales and service teams is encouraged by productivity leagues. Top performers in the leagues competed in a challenge last year that saw 50 employees winning a trip to the Nurburgring in Germany for motor racing and go-karting.
"Swansway employees are excited about where the business is going (81%,) and believe their contribution to its success counts (86). The company is clear about what is expected of staff in their work (also 81%, ranking ninth) and they love working for the company (80%)."
Male/female ration: 78:22
Average age: 35
Voluntary leavers: 8%
Earning £35,000+: 8%