“As everybody knows, compliance can sometimes get lost in the shuffle,” says Tyler Porter, HR and Legal Compliance Manager with Martin Management Group. “We’re here to sell cars, but at the same time, you know, we have to work on the compliance aspects as well.” We sat down with Tyler to chat about how he keeps compliance from getting lost in the shuffle for the 500 employees that span Martin’s auto, motor sports, and flight dealerships.
Listen in on the interview with Tyler we recorded for our Smart Compliance Podcast.
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We’ve got a transcript of the conversation below:
I have the pleasure today of speaking with Tyler Porter. He is with Martin Management Group, a family owned automotive group in Kentucky. Tyler, thanks very much for making time for us today.
Tyler: Absolutely. It’s my pleasure.
First, tell me a little bit about Martin Management Group. What does the company do?
Tyler: Sure. So, we are a automotive group that pretty much encompasses everything from automotive to motor sports and even have a little bit of flight involved as well.
Flight? That’s a whole different kind of business.
Tyler: Absolutely. Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. We’re pretty much encompassing everything.
How long have you guys been in business?
Tyler: We have been currently operating for around 32 years, so definitely been around the block a couple years, for sure.
How many employees do you have?
Tyler: Approximately about 480 to 500 on a weekly basis.
Now, your job is the human resources and legal compliance manager, correct?
Tyler: That is correct.
That is a lot of compliance to keep track of.
Tyler: It absolutely is, but I love every minute of it.
Every minute? Come on.
Tyler: That’s a valid point, so almost every minute of it.
Well, one of the things I wanted to chat with you a little bit about is using the Compli platform to kind of manage some of that compliance. When did you start using that?
Tyler: So, from what I’ve been told, we kind of started back in 2014. We wanted to kind of purchase the program, which is a fantastic program, to kind of help us work on the compliance aspect of just day to day life, I guess, in the automobile dealership would kind of be the best way to do it. They offered everything from, you know, having the ability to put a handbook on the system all the way down to some F&I training and some other requirements as well. So, that’s kind of where we wanted to go back in 2014.
What’s F&I training?
Tyler: So anything from like, red flag rules to OFAC, some things of that nature.
What are some of the compliance issues that face dealers?
Tyler: Well, definitely protecting privacy of our clients is probably the main concern. Along with that, you also have different reporting requirements along, you know, that are given out by the federal government, you know, Form 8300. And then on more the employee level, I mean, it’s the same thing as in any other industry. You know, you have sexual harassment training requirements. You’ve got a handbook. You’ve got proper processes of reporting complaints, etc.
And those compliance things, like, they’re not just done once in many occasions? There are multiple times either a year or every certain period of time?
Tyler: That is correct. Absolutely. We try to keep everybody up to date on a yearly basis.
What did you use before you had Compli? Were you just keeping a list and checking things off?
Tyler: We did. We definitely had, let’s call it the paper version. We had a paper handbook. We had paper acknowledgments, definitely more paper based than online. So, it was more of a switch to more of an online system.
How was the switch over? I mean, did people miss giving up the paper or did they kind of get the hang of it pretty quickly?
Tyler: It depends on what kind of person you are. Absolutely, the system is very easy to use, so without question, it was a very smooth transition. There are people that like paper better. There are people that like the electronic source better. In the end, you know, it doesn’t mean you can’t do the paper version as well, but we try to do everything electronically when possible.
How has it affected the company culture that way? Has it made it easier? Do people, you know, are they a little bit more aware of compliance?
Tyler: They are. You know, it’s definitely a tool that has been used. They send out alerts to people that are needing to complete certain trainings or need to sign off on certain notices. It definitely allows compliance to kind of go into the forefront. As everybody knows, compliance can sometimes get lost in the shuffle. So, it’s a great way instead of trying to go run somebody down to sign a document, you know, everybody has a phone, everybody has an email, so they can get those alerts more regularly.
Yeah, I guess not everybody comes to work thinking the first thing in the morning, what do I need to do today? Oh, compliance. Let’s work on that.
Tyler: That’s exactly right. Absolutely. We’re here to sell cars, but at the same time, you know, we have to work on the compliance aspects as well.
Now, I had heard or I think we had talked about a little bit about there’s…you recently had an incident that you were able to work through in terms of a sexual harassment that kind of helped you get ahead of the curve or ahead of the problem. Tell me about how Compli helped you do that.
Tyler: Sure. So, Compli has an avenue to where not only can you assign trainings, but you can also assign additional trainings as well. You know, when we have issues, whether it’s a sexual harassment or any kind of, for lack of a better term, any kind of issue, you know, we use Compli not only to ensure that we’re compliant, but we also try to ensure that all of our employees are well-aware of all instances. With that, you know, we reassign trainings, the appropriate trainings to the appropriate employees. Compli also allows us to just, you know, focus on one set individual if needed or we can focus on multiple groups as well. So, having the ability to pre-assign trainings and to keep things in the forefront allows us to make sure our employees are well-versed in all different aspects of, you know, requirements, notices, etc.
As an HR manager, what kind of support does Compli give you in terms of making sure that documentation is there?
Tyler: It is a fantastic tool to use for supporting documentation. Due to the ability of placing our notices, our trainings, our handbook, etc., on the Compli system, when an employee signs off, it allows us not only to have the date that it was executed, but also a timestamp as well. That way if there’s ever any ambiguities regarding whether or not an employee signed it, I can go right in the system, I can pull up that employee and at the same time show whether or not an employee has completed a document. It’s a lot better than paper. We lose paper…everybody’s well aware that you misplace things. I unfortunately misplace things sometimes on a weekly basis, but at the same time, in this system, you can’t replace anything because it is recorded and it’s also recorded if an employee is no longer with the company as well. So, it doesn’t just have to be active employees. It can also be non-active employees as well. It’s a fantastic tool for having the ability to pull, whether it’s a procedure, whether it’s a notice, whether it’s did they complete their training, you know, it’s something that can be used multiple years.
And I would imagine it also allows you to kind of go back and search too, so it’s not like looking for that scrap of paper.
Tyler: That’s exactly right. Absolutely.
As an HR manager and someone who has to worry about compliance, what keeps you up at night? What’s the biggest concern that Compli maybe helps you alleviate?
Tyler: Definitely required trainings. You know, Compli is kind of a one-stop for trainings. Obviously, there are some additional trainings that are needed in the automotive industry that Compli might not offer. But at the same time, you know, it covers privacy. It covers Form 8300s. It allows me to put my entire workforce on notice of, you know, whether it’s a new requirement sent out by OSHA, you know, and I need to upload a new policy. It actually allows me to sleep a lot better at night than if I was focusing on either paper or focusing on each individual one of our locations doing the proper training. It’s definitely an all-encompassing tool that I can check, I can run reports. You know, if I see that there’s an issue coming up at one of the locations, I have the ability to reach out to the appropriate personnel and solve that issue before we actually do have a problem.
Well, and compliance is one of those things that keeps changing, sometimes probably on a daily basis it feels like. How does the Compli team help keep you in front of those changes?
Tyler: Compli allows us…they send out daily blogs. They send out, you know, different notices for me to just make me aware of what exactly’s going on in the compliance world, but at the same time Compli is very flexible, so if there is a change, if I need to change a policy in the employee handbook, if I need to figure out whether or not I can provide a certain type of training, I can reach out to the Compli team pretty much at any time and they’ll get back to me promptly. And the flexibility of the system allows me pretty much to take care of any problem that might arise through ever-changing laws, because, as you said, I mean, it’s a daily thing. It’s definitely not a once a year kind of issue.
Excellent. Well, Tyler, thank you so much for making time to chat with us today and to share your thoughts.
Tyler: Absolutely. Thank you.