Employees at dealerships all over South Africa are spending most of their time at the dealership, away from home.
As a Dealer Principal, it is imperative to provide a working environment where employees are happy, enjoy coming to work and feel valued.
This is no pie-in-the-sky goal for one of the top performing DPs in the country, Cheryl Claassens from Hatfield VW Bryanston, who recently received the Golden Partner award from ABSA Vehicle and Asset Finance for the third year.
“In a still male-dominant industry, we as women have to work so much harder and think even smarter to move forward and be successful,” she told Dealerfloor. “However, it is not about gender, but about passion for the work, having the necessary confidence and bringing a different viewpoint to the team.” She adds that surrounding herself with a great team, who shares the same vision where setting goals is key to the success of the business.
Being in the industry for the last 32 years, of which she spent 17 years as DP at Hatfield VW Bryanston, being a coach and mentor to many employees come naturally to her. “I truly enjoy this side of my career, spotting talent, giving advice and tips, while growing that person into the best version of him- or herself, gives me immense satisfaction,” she said.
Asked about advice to young women dipping their toes into a career in the motor industry, she said that having direction, confidence, passion and goals are key, non-negotiable attributes. According to her, confidence is not being arrogant, but an inner knowledge of knowing that you are capable of embracing any challenges that you may face.
It is imperative to provide a working environment where employees are happy, enjoy coming to work and feel valued
“Being the proud recipient of the Diamond Pin from Volkswagen’s Head Office in Berlin, has confirmed my philosophy of recognition and reward towards employees,” she said. “It is an integral part of motivation and was emphasised by the COVID-19 pandemic in giving support to our employees, while still providing the best possible service and satisfaction to our customers.”
She firmly believes one should take something good from anything bad that happens, and to her, the bright side of lockdown has been taking stock of the business, needless costs and avoidable experiences. “I just love a challenge and, since we find fewer cars on the road from many people now working from home, I had to look into different ways of still being profitable without necessarily selling or servicing more vehicles and parts,” she explained, “and that is why you will find great coffee, but not our famous cappuccinos, for now.”
Mitsubishi Motors South Africa (MMSA) kept the wheels rolling this year with the opening of five new dealerships in four provinces.
The latest addition to the Stellantis dealer network is a large, new Super Group multi-franchise facility in Jacaranda Street, Hennopspark, Centurion, for Jeep, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot and Citroën.
We can overcome all the hurdles placed in front of us if we recognise our biggest asset in business is our people, says Rob Downs the Dealer Principal at CMH Nissan and Mitsubishi Pinetown.