It is a real challenge to find and keep top talent in automotive retail. But dealers can definitely do more than think outside the box and find those best suited to grow with their dealerships. More importantly, they can look for people who can improve the return on their hiring investment.
Keep employee statistics in mind
Employee turnover at dealerships have always been a problem, but most dealers don’t understand the severity of the situation. Did you know that turnover can cost billions of dollars every year? Dealerships drastically underreport their average turnover rate at just 22%, as per a NADA Dealership Workforce Study. That is more than half the actual dealership turnover rate identified by NADA. It is 46% for employers and a whopping 80% for sales personnel. This discrepancy between perception and reality can be remedied by tracking employment and turnover metrics over time. Listing, defining, explaining, and tracking relevant metrics, is necessary.
Use diverse hiring tactics
Unfortunately, there aren’t as many avenues for women and minorities to explore careers in the auto industry. Many of these candidates are among the top, sought-after talent that dealerships should be looking to employ. When dealerships expand their hiring practices and operate outside the boundaries of the typical dealership employee (one who might bring baggage of poor industry habits), there is a greater likelihood of finding and keeping the best people for the job.
Offer lucrative compensation to existing employees
The average annual pay for a car salesperson is lower than the average salaries in a majority of industry in the United States. Moreover, the auto industry has taken a hit during the pandemic as well. With the economy slowly becoming somewhat normal, there should now be a wholesale industry shift toward providing better compensation for workers. Considering the high costs of turnover, dealerships should look to increase compensation for current employees instead of throwing money at new workers.
Apart from increasing compensation amount, dealerships also need to consider a separate compensation structure altogether. It involves moving away from conventional commission-based pay. Some dealerships have already made this move, implementing perks like limiting work weeks to 40 hours and offering 2 days off per week. However, they haven’t reduced wages. The results have been immediate, in terms of improved employee tenure and job satisfaction.
Offer remote working options
Employees, both in and outside the auto industry have now recognized the benefits of working from home, especially due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, many won’t go back to an all-in-office situation anytime soon. Employees want more flexibility moving forward, even from dealerships. In fact, there has been a parallel trend toward remote car shopping and online vehicle purchases. Dealerships should definitely take advantage of this trend to align their staff and HR structures to adopt an omni-channel approach to sales. It gives customers the option to buy cars, in person, remotely, or in the form of a hybrid model. This trend can create new positions for remote and mobile sales people, which has the added benefit of attracting top talent.
Work on improving company culture
As per a Hireology Research Report, almost 40% of people choose to begin a new job search to find a better culture. To put the importance of company culture into perspective, just 36.5% of people listed better pay as the reason for starting a job search. Dealerships have to implement more employee recognition efforts and work more to engage employees. They have to get opportunities to think, grow, and feel valued for their contributions. Improved employee engagement, better emotional connection with work, and more efficient work hours are undeniably interconnected. It is definitely a win-win for both employees and dealerships.
Better technology is a must
When a majority of the workforce is young, who grew up with technology, you need to provide them with the latest tools. They view workplace technology as an integral perk! They know that the right technology can make the work easier and more interesting. Implementing integrated technologies that make your employees’ jobs easier and more efficient is a major step toward attracting and retaining top talent. They help boost workflows, remove inter-departmental friction and barriers, and let employees focus on what they do best. The technology improves your overall brand perception too.
Enhance employee onboarding
According to Automotive News, employees become most productive after three years on the job. However, the average employee tenure is only 18 months to 2.4 years. In order for the dealership to retain employees for a longer period of time, you have to provide a strong start. It means implementing productive, structured onboarding that focuses on employee retention. Thus, you can reap the rewards of your investment in them. There is strong correlation between structured onboarding processes and employee retention. When new hires participate in a structured onboarding process, many of them are likely to remain with a company for longer than three years.
Invest in smart human resources partnerships
Unfortunately, most human resources departments are too often tied up in mundane number crunching and accounting work. It takes them away from overseeing the daily progress and well-being of actual employees. Outsourcing HR management and utilizing better payroll and HR technology allows your team to shift focus back to your employees. They can resolve concerns, and ensure that employees are happy and being productive.
Attracting and retaining top talent in a dealership is definitely a daunting task, but following the above mentioned tips can point you towards the right direction.