“Must-Dos” to Equip Your Dealership for Today’s Tech-Centric Workforce

This article originally appeared on Digital dealer here.

By Susan Moll & Matt Hurst

While Halloween is known for bringing a month of frights, constant employee turnover haunts dealership efficiency all year long. According to the 2019 Cox Automotive Dealership Staffing Study, approximately 20 percent of dealership staff are likely to look for another job in the next six months. On top of this, NADA’s 2018 Dealership Workforce Study found dealership turnover reached a new high of 46 percent last year. So, how can dealerships reverse this damaging trend? Well, it all starts with taking stock of the changing talent pool.

A younger generation is entering the workforce and bringing with them a greater interest in dealership jobs than older generations, opening dealerships up to a new audience with a fresh point of view. Among Gen Z and Young Millennials, more than 30 percent are interested in working for a dealership, according to the 2019 Cox Automotive Dealership Staffing Study. This rate was even higher when roles other than sales were presented to them. However, appealing to this audience requires a cultural and technological shift.

Just as car buyer needs evolve, so do those of your employees. Here’s a list of “must-dos” to attract and retain this younger, tech-savvy talent and meet their changing needs head-on.

DO foster an environment that makes employees feel valued and show them there is an opportunity for future growth.

For Jennica Krebsbach, controller of Van Horn Automotive Group, creating a collaborative and engaging culture has been critical to her dealer group’s success. From instituting more flexible work hours to investing in training programs that help employees grow their careers and rise through the ranks, Van Horn understands employee satisfaction is vital to customer satisfaction.The auto group recently reimagined their on-boarding process for their sales staff to now require new hires to spend a week off-site to learn how to effectively communicate with customers, talk through word tracks, and gain a better understanding of what the sales process looks like. In addition to this, Van Horn also offers an advancement program, which is for anyone who wants to reach the next step in their career, whether as a finance manager, sales manager, etc. At Dealertrack DMS, we use individual development plans, which can be easily adopted in a dealership environment too.

DO engage your employees and ensure everyone feels like they have a say in the future of the business.

“We are 550 employees strong, so to keep everyone motivated and on the same page, communication and transparency are key,” Jennica notes. This perspective is also why Van Horn employees currently own approximately 30 percent of the dealer group and why town hall meetings occur the second week of every month. It’s all about making employees feel like they have a voice and a stake in the dealership and its success.

DO perform intermittent talent audits and “stay” interviews rather than just exit interviews.

A talent audit will help you review your workforce engagement strategy and address any needs for a specific skill set. Meanwhile, interviewing employees about why they choose to stay at your dealership and what improvements they would like to see, offers a unique point of view that’s hard to get from an exit interview.

DO evaluate the efficiency and simplicity of your dealership’s technology.

For Gen Z and young millennials, technology is more than a tool, it’s who they are, how they work, play, and communicate. These younger generations expect dealerships to equip them with the digital tools necessary to work more effectively and efficiently. That’s why leveraging a modern, open, and easy-to-use DMS system, along with a dedicated technology partner is a must-do. Plus, by not being locked into a rigid platform, dealerships have the flexibility of hiring to fill business needs rather than cater to the needs of their technology choice.

DO highlight training opportunities that are tech-centric.

Faced with the weight of high staff turnover, having intuitive technology and a provider that offers ongoing training opportunities and support is critical to bring greater productivity and speed to the new hire on-boarding process. Look to your technology provider for digital training functionalities and ask about access to peer-to-peer forums, self-service support, and virtual training and webinars.

A new, younger generation of workers is out there, and many are interested in dealership jobs. It’s time to take a look at your current technology and talent strategy to see if they make sense for the needs of today’s consumers and a changing workforce.

(Stay tuned for more, as this is part III in a monthly series of must-dos to keep your dealership running efficiently all year long.)

About the Authors

Susan Moll, Senior Director of DMS Field Services, Cox Automotive.

Matt Hurst, Senior Director of Tech Client Support, Dealertrack DMS.

This article originally appeared on Digital dealer here.

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