A hard-working General Sales Manager was being undermined by his subordinates with a bogus complaint sent to the corporate office of the dealership. He’d always had a stern style of managing but his results were uncompromising. We were selling 200 new high-line European cars for about $1.2 million a month. He ran a tight ship and some of his staff didn’t like him.
One day, the corporate office sent in a team of attorneys and auditors to follow up on the ‘complaint’. They never really found anything but decided to fire the GSM anyway…probably to justify their two weeks of billable hours.
Enter into this story the payroll clerk who was told to prepare the GSM’s final check. The payroll software was tricky and because she’d never been properly trained, she still couldn’t navigate it. This software was not made for the car business and you had to work around it sometimes. In order to cut his check for $20,000, she needed to override the standard and manually enter $20K as salary. Unfortunately, she entered the 20,000 into the ‘hours’ column and the software computed the check to $2.8 million. The untrained payroll clerk never checked the amount and cheerfully sent the payroll for processing.
Enter the corporate HR manager who’d been a catalyst to the GSM’s demise. He’d wanted to deliver the GSM’s final check personally so that he could make sure it was “done right”. When the documents came from the payroll company there was no check printed because the GSM had been on ‘direct deposit’, so the funds were automatically sent to his bank account.
To further the absurdity, the HR manager never opened the documents. He only met with the GSM and handed him the unopened envelope containing the payment notice that $2.8 million (less taxes) had been deposited into his account. When the GSM opened the envelope and saw the amount, he asked the HR manager twice if ‘this was for him’. Disgusted that he was being questioned, twice the HR manager replied ‘yes’.
The company’s bank account was part of a bigger company’s account so the $2.8 million went unnoticed. The only way the company found out about the mistake was after the bank called to verify the transaction. It was policy for the bank to call on any transaction over a million dollars. By this time it was too late though, the money had been gone for over a week.
Because the HR manager had confirmed that the money was his, the GSM decided to hire an attorney to handle the situation. It took the company two years to retrieve the money.
How important is employee training to your dealership?