Mizera and Aitken appreciate the dealer’s camaraderie, and Khouri has made an effort to promote it. Every quarter he invites the staff to dinner at a local restaurant. And in the summer, the dealer organizes barbecues for employees.
Khouri also sponsors a program called Make Others Great to recognize employees who go the extra mile. Winners can get dealership swag like baseball caps. This summer, two employees of the parts department received tickets to a game of the New York Yankees, along with dinner and player autographs.
“We want to recognize everyone at the dealership,” Khouri said. “It could be a doorman, a manager or a salesperson – it could be anyone. If you go above and beyond the call of duty, we’ll recognize you.”
Although Millburn Audi’s sales are quite low, competition among dealers for employees can be fierce. That competition has become more urgent as Khouri’s standalone store is undergoing a major expansion.
The showroom is expanding to accommodate 10 cars, up from seven today, and the service department growing to 28 bays, up from 16. “Now we need to make sure we can man it,” Khouri said. “What good is an empty bay?”
Khouri has adopted a number of strategies to attract good employees.
Over the past decade, he has rehired seven people who left for other jobs before changing their mind.
He is also willing to hire employees’ relatives. For example, he has hired the niece and nephew of a husband-and-wife team that works in the store.
An employee “makes my day if he comes to me and says his daughter, or son or niece is looking for a job, and are there any vacancies?” said Khouri. “It means we did something right.”