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Finding and Keeping Valued Employees: Keys to a Successful Dealership

The current unemployment rate equals 14%.

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Of the 14%, 7% are unemployable. By this we mean to say that these people are not able to hold any position and/or perform any job description within your dealership. The balance is either transient or a victim of the COVID-19 crisis we are all emerging from. So, depending on how you look at it, the net unemployment rate is zero, unless you see the opportunity to improve your tTeam with people who are currently sitting on the bench through (potentially) no fault of their own.

It’s clear that finding the right people continues to be an issue for our industry. Anyone worth hiring is currently working or is waiting to be re-called when their store is looking to staff back to pre-virus numbers.

It’s no surprise that dealerships have so much difficulty hiringemployees. In fact, most dealer principals and their managers find this issue to be one of the most time consuming, expense ridden, frustrating things that exist in the day-to-day running of a car dealership.

Remember the “old days”? All you had to do is put a small ad in your local paper and hoards of applicants would flood your store all seeking that one job opening. And today? The same ad has grown into a word filled online post on multiple sites (as well as the potential newspaper ad) with little or no result to show for it except the bill. And if you do make a hire, the possibility of turnover is prevalent.

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Ah yes, the dirty word…Turnover. Let’s be factual here, the issue of employee retention has eluded most people in the automobile business for generations. How many times do you sit down and lament over the huge amounts of money spent in recruiting good people only to have them leave your employ long before the expense they incur is even close to being justified based upon tenure?

What used to be effective methods, programs, processes and pay plans are no longer effective in creating a long list of employees on the payroll that will work for the same company for their entire working life or at least close to it. Not today, most people when asked have a tough time seeing past their first 12 months with you.

 

So, what to do? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Hold a meeting with each of your departments. Find out why they applied to work at your store, why they stay, what they like and what they think people would need to hear about in an ad.
  2. Review the media sources you use. Think about it this way…you’re sourcing all of your sales outlets to justify each spend, why not do the same for HR media?
  3. Utilize an online test to assess the applicants Mental Aptitude, Personality Profile and Cognitive Skills. You can set benchmarks for each position in your store to see how an individual does vs. your benchmarks in order to better justify the reason to hire the person in the first place.
  4. Add in a group interview component. If the applicant does well enough to move to this step, bring them into a neutral area of your store (like a conference room) and let the individual talk with three or more of the people from the department they could be working in. Introduce everyone and leave the room for 15 minutes. This way, everyone will comfortably talk about why your store is the place to work. Of course, pick the most upbeat positive people for this step.

Additional steps within your interview process will land more qualified people who will be easier to retain. Or, you can just hold a mirror under the applicant’s nose and if they fog it offer them the job 😂!

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