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Sarcasm gets the red card at Pebley Beach

Sarcasm, cheap shots, and swearing are all being given the red card at Swindon motor dealer Pebley Beach, as staff are asked to think about the way they interact with each other.

Emails between colleagues have also been banned, in a new move that sees employees at all levels leaving their desks or workstations and talking to fellow team members in person.

Pebley has consistently won awards for its high levels of customer service and teamwork over the past 12 months, including the title of Garage of the Year, as voted for by its customers, and an Excellence in Aftersales award from industry insiders at the AM Awards.

The firm is also the current holder of the Wiltshire Business of the Year title, and also picked up the accolade of Wiltshire Apprenticeship Business of the Year in the same competition. 

But in the typically macho worlds of motor sales and repairs, friendly banter can quickly get out of control. 

“I’m proud of the supportive culture we foster here,” said managing director Dom Threlfall. “I don’t mind a bit of banter, but I want team members to think about the language they use towards each other, and how people feel when they are the butt of jokes – however well intentioned.”

To add a touch of levity to the initiative, Dom has issued every member of staff with a set of soccer-style red and yellow cards. 

Anyone on the end of an inappropriate comment – or anyone within earshot of the exchange – can issue a red or yellow card.

“Interestingly, people on the receiving end tend to issue yellow cards, whereas colleagues who overhear a negative comment are more likely to pull out a red,” said Dom. 

There are no sanctions for being issued with a red or yellow card. “We just want to encourage best practice,” said Dom. 

And the initiative has been applauded by Wiltshire-based business psychologist Jan de Jonge, of People Business Psychology Ltd, who said: “Companies that genuinely make a big effort, together with the teams involved, to increase communication, bolster self-awareness and realise what impact we have by the way we behave, ultimately will reap the rewards. 

“In terms of effectively applying psychological principles of managing people and working as a team, this organisation gets a bright green card from us.”

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Please note we have a policy of recording and monitoring communications.

Financial Disclosure

Pebley Beach Limited is an Appointed Representative of Automotive Compliance Ltd, who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA No 497010). Automotive Compliance Ltd’s permissions as a Principal Firm allows Pebley Beach Limited to act as a credit broker, not as a lender, for the introduction to a limited number of lenders and to act as an agent on behalf of the insurer for insurance distribution activities only.

We can introduce you to a selected panel of lenders, which includes manufacturer lenders linked directly to the franchises that we represent. An introduction to a lender does not amount to independent financial advice and we act as their agent for this introduction. Our approach is to introduce you first to the manufacturer lender linked directly to the particular franchise you are purchasing your vehicle from, who are usually able to offer the best available package for you, taking into account both interest rates and other contributions. If they are unable to make you an offer of finance, we then seek to introduce you to whichever of the other lenders on our panel is able to make the next best offer of finance for you. Our aim is to secure the best deal you are eligible for from our panel of lenders. Lenders may pay a fixed commission to us for introducing you to them, calculated by reference to the vehicle model or amount you borrow. Different lenders may pay different commissions for such introductions, and manufacturer lenders linked directly to the franchises that we represent may also provide preferential rates to us for the funding of our vehicle stock and also provide financial support for our training and marketing. But any such amounts they and other lenders pay us will not affect the amounts you pay under your finance agreement, all of which are set by the lender concerned. If you ask us what the amount of commission is, we will tell you in good time before the Finance agreement is executed. All finance applications are subject to status, terms and conditions apply, UK residents only, 18’s or over. Guarantees may be required.