2016 Best in Class: Best Training & Benefits

Best Training & Benefits

Irwin Marine
Laconia, N.H.

During the recession, everyone had to scale back to stay alive. This meant making very difficult cuts within the business, and in many cases those cuts included benefits. However, the boating industry is now at a point where it has reasonably bounced back, and the benefits once provided to employees should return.

Irwin Marine has exemplified what it means to reward employees when the business has the capacity to do so.

q11-4-employee-night-1Irwin Marine began giving its employees a discretionary year-end bonus five years ago, based on net profit for the company. All employees who have been with the company for more than a year are eligible, and the bonus is the same amount for everyone.

“We look forward to growing with our long-term staff and appropriately rewarding them as a team. Our view is that every employee is key to our future success,” says John J. Irwin, vice president and partner of Irwin Marine.

In the service department, the dealership pays technicians a straight hourly basis to help provide a stable environment for techs.

“In short, our philosophy is that a technician’s hourly wage is a function of their skill level and efficiency,” says Irwin.

q11-4-employee-night-2In addition to its monetary benefits, the dealership offers its employees an aggressive benefits package that includes medical and dental insurance, short-term disability benefits, life insurance, bereavement leave, severance pay, vacation benefits, maximum difference cancer insurance, and more.

Irwin Marine prioritizes recognizing its employees for their hard work, frequently hosting appreciation parties and lunches.

In 2015, management hosted an end of the season employee party for all full-time staff. Staff members and a guest were invited to a pre-party celebration at Meadowbrook’s Private Partner Lounge for beverages and appetizers, followed by a Little Big Town concert at the Bank of NH Pavilion.

“It was a really nice way to enjoy each other’s company outside of work,” says Irwin. “Most of all to let the employees have some fun and show them how much they are appreciated after a busy boating season.”

q11-4-employee-night-3In addition to its benefits offerings, Irwin Marine focuses a significant portion of time to training. All employees in the dealership are actively trained in PCI and RED Flag Compliance per the company’s corporate policy and procedures. The dealership attends all statewide New Hampshire Marine Trades Association sponsored trainings and educational offerings, as well as participating actively in educational opportunities offered by the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, the Young Leaders Advisory Council and the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo. All departments also receive rigorous product knowledge training.

Because of all the pieces of Irwin Marine’s appreciation for its employees, the dealership is staffed with many employees who have been staff members for 18 or more years. The techs, service writers, parts/accessories and yard crew at Irwin Marine add up to hundreds of total years of service.

“The stability and experience of our dedicated staff is unmatched among our competitors. Our customers recognize the strength of our organization and its employees. It is not uncommon to see a customer bring in lunch for the entire crew as recognition of their efforts on behalf of the customer. Referrals abound, not only for our sales team, but also for our service and parts teams,” says Irwin. “In the end, it is truly our employees that set Irwin Marine apart from our competition.”

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