As arguments for and against boosting the minimum wage continue in Washington D.C., a tire dealership in Fort Wayne, Ind., decided that it didn’t need to wait for a legislative resolution. Effective March 1, all full-time employees at McMahon’s Best-One Tire now earn at least $15 an hour. And Kim McMahon, one of the dealership’s three owners, couldn’t be happier.
Implementing a wage increase “was an important move for us to make,” she recently told me. “You watch the news and you see how everybody in Washington is trying to (adjust) the minimum wage. Some people want it. Some people don’t. They’re fighting over it.
“We said, ‘We don’t have to wait for them to decide. We can do this on our own because it’s the right thing to do.’ You shouldn’t have people working for you who are making poverty-level wages. That’s just crazy.”
McMahon’s Best-One Tire employs 120 people across eight locations. Most of its employees were already making more than $15 prior to March 1st. But some – including tire technicians and delivery truck drivers – were earning less.
They were “thrilled” to receive a bump in pay, says McMahon.
Opponents of boosting the minimum wage claim the practice will lead to job losses. She disagrees with that theory.
If anything, McMahon believes that a wage increase – and the positive publicity that her company has received over the course of this past week – will make her dealership a more attractive option for job seekers.
The dealership’s March 1 announcement generated lots of TV coverage in the Ft. Wayne market. Here are a few clips:
“I don’t subscribe to the idea that (a wage increase) will lead to job losses. At our company, we have very long-term employees,” including three who have worked at the 50-year-old company for more than three decades.
“Part of the reason for that is we treat them well and they are paid well.”
In addition to rewarding the dealership’s hard-working, dedicated employees, the recent wage hike “is about attracting new people who might not currently (consider) us. I think that putting ourselves out there as a company that’s more progressive gives them an opportunity to take another look at us.”
Compensation is “very important in attracting (new employees ) – getting people to come in for an interview and things like that. You want people to feel like, ‘This is where I want to be. This is the company I want to work for.’
“The money becomes a little less important once they buy into” your company’s culture, says McMahon.
Securing that buy-in has never been a problem for McMahon’s Best-One Tire. “Our turnover rate is very low. We’ve been very lucky.”
I’m sure employees at McMahon’s Best-One Tire will tell you that there’s more to the company’s success than just luck.
A big part of it is the value that the dealership’s owners place on recruiting and retaining great people – value that Kim McMahon and her partners weren’t afraid to express by offering a better wage while the national, well-publicized debate continues.