COVID-19 Update: GM to Restore Salaries to 69,000 Workers

By Desiree Homer

But Executives Continue to Defer Their Own Pay

General Motors announced recently that it would be reinstating full salaries for some 69,000 of its employees. While many workers had been furloughed, others agreed to pay reductions, and the automaker made the commitment to bring back staff and reduced pay in due time. This announcement comes sooner than expected, and the company’s white-collar workforce couldn’t be more enthusiastic. And in a good faith leadership effort, GM’s senior executives are planning to keep their salary deferments in place. When company leaders seek to make their teams whole before they do so for themselves, it demonstrates one of the most important steps of management strategy. At the dealership level, are you making similar moves in a show of confidence to your employees?

The General Motors Announcement

According to documents shared by Free Press out of Michigan, General Motors is moving forward with plans to restore full pay to its roster of employees worldwide. Much of the company’s white-collar workforce took a 20% salary reduction back in early April. The salary restoration is expected to take effect about a month sooner than originally intended. With the announcement, GM spokesman, Jim Cain, told Free Press, “we thank our employees for their shared sacrifice to get us through.” The automaker isn’t just returning to pre-pandemic pay levels, either. It also plans to make the employees whole by reimbursing the deferred amounts, with a 6% interest in October. Mary Barra, GM’s CEO, said she and other senior leaders plan to maintain their current pay deferrals, which includes 5%-10% reductions for various executive-level members.

How Are You Making Your Employees Whole?

You may not have imposed salary reductions at the dealership level. But most dealers did ask their employees to make sacrifices in other ways. Whether it was in the form of accepting furloughs, working from home, or reducing work hours, chances are you do have staff members who stepped up during tough times. Dealer owners can use these re-opening times to acknowledge and recognize those loyal members of the team. Leaders acknowledge that getting through tough and unprecedented times like these is impossible without the dedication of the entire team.

Leadership Beyond the Bottom Line

Dealer owners and leaders know the importance of driving revenue and streamlining operations, especially in this new COVID-19 landscape. But leadership goes far beyond improving the bottom line. It’s about taking care of those who take care of business and ensuring there is a path to success for everyone. Dave Cantin sits down with Damon Lester, the President of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD), in a recent Dealer News Today podcast, for a conversation about leadership best practices.

It takes a strong and decisive captain to help navigate the ship through the storm successfully. For General Motors, it’s time to recognize the 69,000 employees who helped sacrifice portions of their salaries for the overall good of the company. It’s evidence of what leadership looks like and reminds dealer owners to take care of those who helped their stores weather the storms.