GPC Asia Pacific – the company behind the Repco brand – resells and distributes car parts and accessories through a network of more than 550 stores and distribution centres. It can trace its history back over a century and now employs 6200 people.

It’s this “GPC Crew” that is key to the business’s enduring success says managing director and CEO Rob Cameron.

“We’ve always known our GPC Crew are the key to our success. The culture of our business has always focused on our people and bringing our values into everything we do every day. What we saw in the past year was that the urgency created by COVID kicked our team into another gear.”

While team member hours were reduced during Australia and New Zealand COVID lockdowns, he says team members “leaned in and enabled us to navigate successfully through the crisis.” GPC also made the commitment to staff that it would; “keep them safe and keep them in a job at a time of heightened uncertainty and we achieved that outcome,” says Cameron.

“We regularly check in with our GPC Crew via employee engagement surveys results and we were very proud last year to see yet another substantial increase in employee engagement since the prior survey.   We also continue to see our voluntary turnover rates decrease in a highly competitive market. The average tenure in GPC is now pushing up to 10 years and is a significant marker of how happy and engaged our team are,” making GPC a clear candidate to be named the Best Place to Work in the retail, hospitality, tourism and entertainment category.

Besides being loyal to the company, GPC’s team is also deeply engaged with the broader community. Over the past 10 years staff members have volunteered their time and money to support the Starlight Children’s foundation in Australia and Canteen in New Zealand while in early 2020 the business collectively raised more than $300,000 to support bushfire relief.

It also launched the GPC Asia Pacific Foundation, a program designed to support both the GPC team and wider community. The fund has five key pillars; a team member hardship fund, available to address a one-off financial hardship; a disaster relief fund; a charitable foundation; the offer of third-party charity support to foster relationships such as Starlight and Canteen; and a formal program that encourages and enables team volunteering.

“Our team were responsible for suggesting and establishing a pilot program as part of our Foundation. We wanted to develop a pillar to the foundation that invested back in our community through education and career path development opportunities,” Cameron says.

A GPC employee who watched a TV program featuring the story of a young Afghani refugee called Moj, who had fled to Australia as a child after his family was killed, approached the Foundation to ask if there was any way to help. The Foundation kicked off a pilot program in December to fund Moj’s position in the company.

“During his time with us, we will work with Moj through a program of skills development, and give him exposure to a variety of elements across the GPC business,” Cameron adds. “At the end of this time, we hope to Moj will be in a position to take all he has learned from the business and pursue a career in the automotive industry.”

While the Foundation is a relatively new initiative, Cameron says that; “as a leadership team we spend considerable time creating clarity in our structures and roles, ensuring that everyone knows how their position and their unique value add to how we serve our customers. This clarity and alignment with our strategies is driving quality in our work and an increasingly positive experience for our customers as they are able to access the right product, close to where they live and work, at the right price. Fuel this with an engaged, collaborative, innovative culture, and we are an employer of choice in our industry and the market more broadly.”

Originally posted by the Australian Financial Review