Three Swansway Group dealerships – Crewe Audi, Crewe Volkswagen and Volkswagen Van Centre Liverpool – have gained the accolade of AM Best UK Dealership To Work For in 2017.
Family is a theme at this AM100 dealer group, owned by the Smyth family. Every July, the directors, including chairman Michael Smyth and his sons, David, John and Peter, host the Swansway Family Fun Day. It’s a day out for employees and their families, with entertainment, barbecue, ice creams and a fun fair, all paid for by the business.
Communication is key at Swansway’s dealerships, and business leaders hold staff meetings at least monthly, in addition to a monthly ‘Dinner With David’ where staff from any level can ask to join director David Smyth for lunch at a local restaurant to hear the latest news, first-hand. A staff-only bi-monthly magazine, Yourway, is posted to employees’ homes, reporting developments from the business and celebrating its ‘unsung heroes’ nominated by other staff. Every dealership also has screens displaying Swansway’s ‘Must Know TV’, showing key performance indicators from all businesses in the group.
Individual dealerships organise team get-togethers, such as go-karting and meals, to help people bond socially as well as professionally.
Staff also appreciate being supported by the business in raising funds for local good causes. Every winter, employees are encouraged to nominate their favourite local charity to receive gifts from the Swansway Santa Patrol, and a similar initiative provides gifts from its Easter Egg-stravaganza. Staff also participate in nationwide charitable events, such as Macmillan Coffee Morning and Red Nose Day.
The business operates a number of incentive schemes, driving high performance. The Chairman’s Challenge, open to all staff across all departments, offers a prize of a day at the races for all winners from each dealership. Managers are on an incentive scheme tied to achievement and over-achievement of targets, which are carefully set to ensure they are attainable, and technicians are incentivised for inspecting and identifying worn tyres.
Employee performance reviews are done on an ‘as needed’ basis rather than rigid annual appraisals. Swansway’s dealerships offer formal career development programmes, leading to CIPD and AAT qualifications, and apprentice schemes. Managers are also enabled to attend leadership workshops.
Staff entitlements include 25 days’ leave as standard, a cycle loan scheme, subsidised cafeterias, and death-in-service benefit.