If you’re not convinced about how valuable employee training is, consider what Henry Ford said about the topic: “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”
Unfortunately, while it’s important to educate your employees, it can be difficult to know what to focus on. To get into an effective training cadence, look for the following triggers.
1. A New Employee Has Just Started
One of the most common reasons for training is having a new employee start. If you have high turnover like most dealerships, plan accordingly by selecting an associate who has been with the dealership for at least a year to help train new employees. While this person doesn’t need to be a member of management, they should be familiar with your dealership’s daily operations.
Document duties for each role, both to help set expectations and to ensure the training covers everything the new employee will need to know for their role.
2. It’s a Specific Time of Year
Some training needs to be done on a recurring basis. To get into the habit, designate a specific time of the year (first quarter, mid-year, end of year, etc.) to perform these sessions. Periodic training is usually necessary for the following:
- Use of internal systems
- Job-related skills (selling, customer service, etc.)
- Cybersecurity awareness
- Sexual harassment prevention
While this isn’t a comprehensive list, these are the most common types of routine training dealerships offer.
3. Salespeople Are Underperforming
Even if you provide sales training at a specific time of year, there may be times when specific salespeople — or even your entire sales staff — aren’t performing at the level they need to be. If that’s the case, step in and provide some additional coaching based on your dealership’s best practices.
4. You’ve Implemented New Technology
If you roll out a new technology, whether it’s a new operating system, dealership management system or key control solution, set up training for all staff members who will be using it. Ensure they know how to use it and who to contact if they need follow-up training, have questions or need help troubleshooting a problem.
If the vendor offers training resources such as help guides or live training courses, give employees the information they need to take advantage of these resources. This will ensure you get the most out of your investment.
5. Employees Are Repeatedly Breaking Policies
If multiple employees are breaking the same dealership policies or making the same mistakes, it’s time for a refresher. Some common problems to look out for include:
- Sharing passwords
- Not returning keys promptly after test drives
- Letting the phone ring too many times before answering it
- Using vehicles for personal errands
- Not entering information into the customer relationship management system
Of course, remedial policy training should complement, not replace, any disciplinary action prescribed in your company handbook or employment agreements.
6. Customers Are Complaining
Check your online reviews, listen to call recordings and keep an eye on your Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) score. If multiple customers have similar complaints about your dealership, pay attention to what they’re saying and evaluate if you need to offer employees additional training in a certain area.
It’s true that training takes time, effort and money. But when you consider the fact that it affects your employees’ performance — which directly impacts their job satisfaction and in turn your customers’ experience — the results of quality training are priceless.