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Case study: How Mercedes-Benz USA revitalised its corporate culture

How Mercedes-Benz USA revitalised its corporate culture

October 31, 2014

Worried about disengaged employees in your business? Fret not, you are not alone – and the situation can be remedied. Look at Mercedes-Benz USA.

Faced with serious levels of colleague disengagement, the luxury car-marker took pro-active steps to create bona fida employee engagement across its business.

Make no mistake, Steve Cannon seems to truly ‘get’ the huge benefits that properly engaged employees will bring to a business.

The CEO and President of Mercedes-Benz USA admits facing “eye-watering moments” when facing the issue of disengagement among colleagues when he took on the figurehead role three years ago.

But importantly he’s led from the front.

And if you can ignore the liberal sprinkling of management speak in Mr Cannon’s words, his approach is refreshing, undeniably positive and, dare I suggest, a touch inspirational.

He told Loyalty 360: “There is no way to deliver a great customer experience with miserable employees.

“One of the first baseline metrics we needed to define was employee engagement.

“There were some eye-opening moments for us and our dealers. We had stores where 80% of employees were disengaged or actively disengaged. You never get to a great customer experience unless you deal with your employees first.”

Ensuring the business’s senior leadership and mid-management were fully aligned in the approach to changing the company’s internal culture, Mr Cannon rolled out a programme designed to engage colleagues with the brand.

Upon learning that almost three-quarters of the workforce had never actually driven a Mercedes-Benz, $4 million was invested into putting 750 cars on the road of employees to test drive.

Mr Cannon said: “This allowed our employees to spend a couple of days behind the wheel. That’s tangible and worth something.

“We knew it was necessary to allow our employees to create good customer experiences.”

This was accompanied by company-wide Immersion Sessions – providing the entire 23,000 workforce with an insight into the high standards that the company’s products are built.

Mr Cannon: “It’s a rich history and an incredible investment. We are creating a rising tide among human capital across our business.

“It’s necessary to make connections beyond transactional to take us from good to great.”

Three years on and the concentrated effort on boosting employee engagement appears to be paying dividends.

Mr Cannon added: “Employees are implementing Town Hall sessions and improving break rooms because they’re looking at the business through a different set of eyes.

“If you believe in customer experience, you’re going to have to make your employees believe that this is at the top of your priority list. If you say it’s a priority, you have to live it as a priority.”

To read the full article, visit the Loyalty 360 story here….