John Yark has a fairly straightforward formula for success.
Sell good vehicles out of top-tier facilities, hire quality people, provide them with ongoing training and support, and keep them abreast of what’s happening beyond their individual department.
It sounds simple enough, but that strategy has helped Mr. Yark grow the business from a single Oldsmobile dealership that he operated with his late brother Jim Yark to a chain of seven locations that employ almost 450 people.
Notably, Mr. Yark, the owner of the Yark Automotive Group, has overcome a longstanding problem within the industry — keeping good employees.
“Our retention with our sales staff, our technicians, our office staff, our managers, it’s extremely high,” he said. “It’s at least twice what the industry norms are.”
Not only does that save time and money spent recruiting and training, it means Yark maintains a sense of continuity and can promote from within.
“We would much prefer to bring somebody in, train them, get them competent in that position and then take a look at what’s the next step in their career development,” Mr. Yark said. “For the most part, all of our talent is homegrown.”
Sprinkle in opportunities for community involvement and a number of special events for employees, and it’s easy to see why Yark was named to the top spot in the large business category for the Toledo area’s 2016 Top Workplaces competition. It’s the company’s first time at the top, though Yark was among the winners in each of the last two years. The category is for employers with 300 or more workers.
The firm also has been piling up Best Dealership to Work For awards from Automotive News. Yark had four of the top 100 spots last year, including two dealerships in the top 10.
Important as success is, Mr. Yark believes that employees don’t just want to work for a company that’s successful. They want to work for someone who cares about doing things the right way, and someone who cares about more than the bottom line.
“Employees are looking for a company that they can be proud to be part of, a company that’s involved in the community,” he said. “A company that gives them an opportunity to be involved in different events throughout the community.”
Indeed, that’s something that was said by several employees surveyed by WorkplaceDynamics, which partnered with The Blade for the Top Workplaces issue.
“I feel like I am rewarded for doing what I truly love,” one employee wrote. “Our company rewards people for taking care of our customers and for doing the right thing. Yark is a great community partner and I’m proud to work for a company that supports as many organizations and causes as Yark does.”
Employees also praised Yark for making them feel important and appreciated.
“They make you feel important. I never had that at a workplace before and I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities that I have gotten so far,” one employee said.
Mr. Yark said he’s proud the company has received such recognition and that it validates that what they do matters to their employees.
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