Dayna Kleve

October 3, 2023
Dayna Kleve and Jordan Cox sit down to chat at ASOTU CON 2023,
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Dayna Kleve is the Director of Diversity, Engagement & Foundation at the Walser Automotive Group.

Thanks to Effectv for making ASOTU CON Sessions possible!

Paul Daly: 0:02You're listening to a soda con sessions by effective live from a soda con 2023.

Jordan Cox: 0:15

Hey, guys, thanks for tuning in for this next episode of soda con sessions, presented by effective live right here for a soda con 2023. We get a chance to catch up with Dana cleave, who's the Director of Diversity? Oh, engagement and foundation? And no, just to kind of like recap on this real fast. And first off, thanks for joining us. Yeah, thank you for having me, of course. And for those who don't know, what Director of Diversity, engagement and foundation is like, tell us what that is. Like, who

Dayna Kleve: 0:44

does? Yes. So, yes, now you do. Yeah. So I think sometimes when I'm describing my title, it's easier to like, go back into how I became, you know, came into this title. So really, my job deals with communication if I had to give one term for it. And it started when I came to Walzer, which is where I work now. And I came in as a reputation management coordinator. So I was responding to Google reviews, and Yelp reviews, and Facebook and like doing all this liaison with our general managers, when customers were happy, or when they're more like when they were not happy. And so I really got to form this relationship with them, and kind of understand coming in at the bottom, like, how carsales works, or service. And so that it was that and then social media kind of came into the role until I kind of done these various things. And then it transitioned into corporate communications, kind of doing CEO comms PR media outreach, you're just sort of my bread and butter. And then when we began our diversity, journey, diversity kind of came into the work. So about a year ago, about a year and a half ago, my title changed to diversity, engagement and Foundation, and the foundation piece of this. So we have an amazing Foundation director, she's on my team, and she handles really all the grant making and giving that we do in our community, which is about it depends on you know, the year but more than $500,000 a year in philanthropic efforts from our foundation walls are so just together, you know, we work to make sure that the giving we're doing is elevated in the right ways. Sure. Yeah.

Jordan Cox: 2:04

And obviously, you cover a ton of stuff. And it's so cool to see that Walmart's putting so much effort into developing their culture, developing their team, and really developing leaders, because that's what I think a lot of automotive retailers are missing right now across the entire nation. They, they want the output, they want this, they want that, but sometimes they're not willing to invest in their people. And people can be our biggest problem or like our biggest asset. Yeah. And there's so much we can invest in our people. So what are some specific things you guys do at Walser? That you're investing in your team?

Dayna Kleve: 2:34

Yeah, I mean, I will argue that people are the biggest asset. So I'll just say that, but I think people, you know, no matter where you work, you want to know where you're going, you want to know how you're contributing to, to the mission and vision of the company, you want to know how your work builds on that, even if you're a law tech, even if you're a coordinator of funding specialist, or whatever that is, you want to know how your work contributes. So having a really clear career path is something that everyone probably wants a nice shirt. But But somehow, for some reason, it's just really missing in auto. And I think, you know, for a long time, this industry has been kind of afraid to create, and maybe not afraid to create positions, but afraid to kind of create upward mobility within those positions. So if you're thinking about, like, you know, kind of mapping out what that path looks like, maybe it's coordinator to specialists to analysts to, you know, senior analyst, and there's yeah, there's ways to kind of create that that lattice effect for people so they can grow. And having those conversations about where people see themselves is also a really big part of that. But in my own organization, you know, I spoke about this in my panel earlier, but we use a process of a balanced scorecard so that your your, your your wins, and your losses are documented, so that you can say like, red, yellow, green, like, here's what went great, and why. And here's what didn't go so great. And how you can can improve on that. And then your promotions and your successes are, you know, measured in a real way without bias. You're not saying I've worked with him forever, he's a great guy, or She's a great girl like, like, give her the promotion, like, No, we have real, you know, kind of perspectives on what works, you know, in with KPIs to match it. So we use these balanced scorecards. We do succession planning every year. So again, we have these really in depth conversations with people that look at who's ready, right and primed for movement, who's a trusted professional who's who's not quite there yet, you know, all of these things using those scorecards. That's part of it. And then the other really cool thing that I want to highlight is we do a program called Emerging Leaders. And this is very common in corporate America and something that I think our dealers and vendors could use way more. And so it's a group that's ready for the next big thing. And it's challenging. It's a very small, elite group of people and you're asked to do a case study on a real problem in our company names and all those there's no change but my year I did it last year, we were looked at you know, efficiency in our in our shops, we had a shop who was struggling and and looking at bay layout In tech productivity and you know, customer pay and things that I knew nothing about you're, you're paired with a mentor. And you're and you write case study based on this real problem. So there's various, you know, other elements of the program, but it really, it's hard, and it tests people as a way to grow within kind of your growth structure. If that makes sense.

Jordan Cox: 5:18

No one does. And so I 100% agree with that is that too many people are looking at people as a problem. And so trying to fix that, yeah. And looking at that and saying, What are we doing wrong as an organization? And I think you guys are so far ahead of what other dealers are and automotive retailers are across the nation, because it's, it's so clear that you guys are willing to invest in your people. Yeah, and map that and show them like, Hey, here's, here's where the next step is for you. And here's how we can get there. Yeah. And give them that that scorecard that report card? Yeah, that so someone who doesn't know what a succession plan is, like? Explain that real fast.

Dayna Kleve: 5:51

Yeah. So so it's a conversation with your top level leaders, and you're looking at every member of your team, you're saying, okay, like, what is this person articulated to you that where they want to go? Yeah, how are they doing? And are they ready for movement? Yes or no. And you're and you're going around, you're documenting that you're making sure that you're, you're kind of setting them and yourself up for success that you have the right people in the right seat at all times? And then that's reviewed on an annual basis. That's kind of what a succession plan looks like. Yeah. So you have a bench ready? When you need it? Yeah, you know, someone leaves or something happens, you can go and pull that right person.

Jordan Cox: 6:24

Yeah, I think what's cool about that is not that you're, you know, trying to fix turnover, or trying to get like super fast execution when someone leaves but like, that's a very real problem that people have is, you know, what, if that person is promoted, let's say you do have a sales manager, and you need to fill that role, because they got promoted to a GSM, you will have people that are ready for that? And yes, and you know, ready to go on to the next spot? Right. So let's talk about your map real fast. Let's say that you do have a salesperson. Now, do you have different routes for them? Is does it based on their personality? Is it based on what their their goals are? Like? What does that look

Dayna Kleve: 6:57

like? So I think the beauty of auto and I think, again, underutilized is that there's a lot of different routes, you could take in a lot of different verticals. And you know, you could be the consummate sales professional, who, who wants to sell and maybe move into that account executive role, or that, you know, that role that really focuses on not every salesperson wants to be a manager, or should be a manager, you know,

Jordan Cox: 7:18

they want to initiative, you, right? Yeah, there's,

Dayna Kleve: 7:20

there's kind of different skills that comes there. For me, I knew that I wanted to manage people, I'm a people person, I like getting in the weeds with my people and having those conversations. But I also like to do the work too. So I so you know, had to find that fit for me. But I think, you know, being you, you could move up to a GSM I guess, if you want but you could also look at inventory, you could look at buying, you could look at, you know, any, you maybe want to get into fists, like there's a lot of different ways you could go. And just because you're moving laterally doesn't mean you're moving down, and it's on your manager, or our managers, I should say, to create a system where a lateral move doesn't mean it's a backward step, especially if you want to try in a new area of the business. And I think, you know, our best GMs they are skilled at all areas of the business. And I think never stepping foot and fixed, you're never quite understanding when it really happens in parts or whatever, or, you know, and there are many talented people. So I'm not saying that's everyone. But yeah, I think you have to have such a well rounded depth and breadth of knowledge. And that's really hard to do on your nine to five or your bell to bell or whatever, like you can't do that all in a short period of time. It takes years to build up that skill set. And so I think your best general managers are going to be people who have who have been across the business have sat in your BDC understand how those calls come in, understand, you know, all those different elements. So I'm

Jordan Cox: 8:38

sure especially with changes in technology, because let's look at the legacy GM for a second. You know, they've been in automotive for 20 years. Yeah, it's a and back in 2003, things are a lot different now than they were back then we've got so many great pieces of technology that we're able to utilize. Yeah, and having the having GMs they're still involved in the actual operations ever, whether it's in the sales BDC, or whether it's in even in the fixed operations side. It's really cool to see that. And one thing I love that you said, Dana, is that, you know, a lateral move is not a bad thing, especially if they're able to utilize these other great things in their personality that they weren't utilizing before. Yeah. So like talk that through how often do you have someone either go from like, the fixed side to the variable side or variable to fixed all the time? Yeah, all the time. Because yeah, I mean, I think in most dealers, that does not happen. Yeah. I mean, so can you guys do that? Yeah. And I can't give you exact numbers, I

Dayna Kleve: 9:29

guess. I don't know. But, but from from the perspective of communicating these storms, that's, I mean, we're, you know, my whole job is is to communicate with our people. And I think inclusion comes when you understand the direction the ship is going, I get it. I'm on board, I'm part of the team. And so that even includes like oh, so and so's moving to Toyota and so and so's moving from Toyota Mazda and, and, you know, I think when you look at some of some of the world class sales organizations, they have ease almost like or on, you know, even hospitals so teaching hospitals that you you create these opportunities for those teaching experiences to happen and those growth moments to happen, it's built into who you are. And if you are, are so rigid and how you structure that up and down, there's never going to be any time or any opportunity to get out of that monthly cycle, to to grow and to try something different and to end to expand yourself as a person. So we communicate those changes all the time, and they happen frequently.

Jordan Cox: 10:24

Yeah. So Dana, I love that is that you're trying to get your people out of that 30 day cycle? Yeah, that one single month. It's hard. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And giving them that map and that guidance to say, hey, here's where you want to go. Here's what you need to work on. But he also don't forget, you're really good at these couple of things. Yeah. So that's cool that you can document that. Yeah. How often? You guys do a scorecard?

Dayna Kleve: 10:44

I mean, every quarter, every quarter, there's no question mark on it every quarter. Yeah. Yeah, every quarter we do it. So every employee has a scorecard. And it could depend like, you know, for for the communications specialist who's on my team, his scorecard, he's a party one, he's the only person in the whole company who has his title, because he's, you know, in a very huge, small part of it, most of our people are in production or contributing to the profitability of the company. And you know, and so for him, his scorecard is individual, it looks different from everyone else's, you know, all of our lot Tech's theirs might look the same all of our CSR customer specialists, as we call our salespeople, there's looks the same as it's based on units and, you know, per vehicle retail and vehicle service, contract penetration. So there's is, you know, a larger party that's holding that kind of same look and feel, but you know, kind of contributing in a specific way. So,

Jordan Cox: 11:35

so let's talk about details real fast, and scorecard. And actually, before we get to that, can you tell everybody how many employees you guys have between all of your locations?

Dayna Kleve: 11:41

Yes, so we have 2000 employees, not 26, we've tapped the other group out of Minneapolis. And then we have a luxury campus in Wichita, and addition to that we have five affiliate rental agencies under ace rentacar.

Jordan Cox: 11:54

Yeah. So it's, it's obviously a very large organization and a lot of people you're trying to do this for every person in your company? Do they have a scorecard?

Dayna Kleve: 12:02

Yes. Yes.

Jordan Cox: 12:06

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, how do you guys, let's see the scorecard itself, some of the details that are on there, it's cool for your CS, your customer specialists? How you have it tied directly to revenue generating items. Yeah, it has to exactly yeah, like, it has to make sense. It's not like, oh, they were nice this day. They were mean this day, right. It's actually key things that are takeaways. So what are some of the details you have on the scorecard?

Dayna Kleve: 12:32

I mean, so I think everyone's kind of said this earlier, but everyone's looks different. And so you know, mine is not related to revenue generation. But but, you know, indirectly, it's related to retention. So that is my key metric that I'm that I'm working on is retention through the lens of communication through the lens of employee engagement, and through the lens of of inclusion. So everyone's looks different. But you know, that yeah, I guess that's that's kind of what I can say about it. There's, there's different things that you're aiming for. But it's a very specific conversation, a very thoughtful conversation that you have with your manager. And there might be big groups of people who have the same scorecard. But you're kind of beholden to those those KPIs.

Jordan Cox: 13:10

Yeah, sure. So right before this, you just got done finishing a session. We had Ashley Cavazos in there, we ran cage. Yeah. Tell us a real quick like synopsis of that. And what were some key takeaways you

Dayna Kleve: 13:19

guys did, it was a really good conversation. So it was about how to create kind of pathways into automotive and to create inclusive spaces once you're in it. And I think some of the key takeaways that we talked about were, you know, how you how you win at work, while still being who you are, when you're there, while still having fun making it sticky, making it worth stay around for. I mean, today, it's, it is an employee's market. And if you don't like where you're working, you can go somewhere else, because there's lots of options. We're still coming out of, I think, you know, a little bit of the great resignation. And, and for me, now, I'm thinking, the great retention, like that's where I'm at. And so I think there are a lot of places where you can go if you don't like where you work. And so when I think about that conversation, it all comes back to how you get great people and you hang on to them once you've got them.

Jordan Cox: 14:05

Yeah. And I love how you look at the issue of the great resignation and turn it into an opportunity. Yeah, to be great at something else. Yes, retention. Yeah, that's great. Yeah. What are some things that you have in your future that you're looking forward to in the next two to five years?

Dayna Kleve: 14:20

Oh, man. Okay, so I'm really pumped about this at Walzer. I oversee our employee resource groups and actually have the opportunity and the pleasure to do a workshop on this at nada in February about how to create an employee resource group. That's cool. I think you know, you can be a single rooftop you can be a multi rooftop and it doesn't have to look the same but they are possible and at the heart of these groups, what they are is their employee led their employee driven, they're meant to create engagement around some topics. Sometimes it's a social demographic, sometimes it's a just an identity or, or a status like parenthood, you could that could even be sending young professionals like there's lots of ways that that could go. So I oversee our three right now and we never start employee resource groups just to start on like you have to have A reason that purpose service in the way that it supports your business. But next month, we're in the process of getting a veteran advisory committee together to start thinking about how we better support our military members or retired service members, their families, and then with the hope that that can evolve into perhaps a full fledged employee resource group, because you talk about a population of people that is so prime and ripe and ready to come and transition, you know, or or take the next step. You know, Otto is so perfect for that. Yeah. And we have a really large population. So that's what I'm, like, really excited for in the immediate future. Two to five years from now, I don't know, we'll see.

Unknown: 15:39

Let's get through that first. Right. Yeah.

Dayna Kleve: 15:41

I mean, I think I think our group is on is on a growth minded trajectory. And so I expect to see our employee population to continue to grow at a fairly quick rate. Perhaps rooftops you know, I'm not sure what the future will hold. But I know that that's, that's something that we're aiming for.

Jordan Cox: 15:58

That's exciting. Yeah. How cool. Yeah. So Dana, thanks so much for taking a few moments with us to this. Thanks for being a part of a soda con and sessions. We have the great education out here. And I know you've already said this fall. So I'll say for you, they can connect with you on LinkedIn. Yeah, they can find you Dana Cleve, and I'm sure you would love to help people. Yes, yeah, it's about culture, things like that. Yeah,

Dayna Kleve: 16:17

you know, I just have my last thought that I'll say I was just talking to someone else about this, but they said you know, like, I would love to see those scorecards. You were talking about to season those things. And I said, we all do better when we do better and for me to hold on to you know how I found my ear geez, like what the charter looks like, I won't do that. I will happily share those templates with people because you know, there is enough room in this industry for all of us to do really, really well by our people. I don't need to hang on to to the things that are working well for us that could work really good for you.

Jordan Cox: 16:46

I loved it. Thanks so much for taking

Paul Daly: 16:50

Thank you for listening to this a so to concession by effective if you want more content like this, you can check out our other podcasts we have a daily show called The automotive troublemaker Monday through Friday. Here on podcasts also live streamed on YouTube, and LinkedIn and Facebook. We also have a long form podcast called Auto collapse, auto collapse. And if you just want to go a little deeper into this community, you should sign up for our regular email we put our heart and soul into it. You can get it for free by going to a We'll see you next time.

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