As margins grow slimmer in the automotive retailing industry, you can blame any number of factors outside your control: interest rates, customer buying preferences, general market uncertainty and several others. One thing you can do something about is employee turnover, which the 2018 NADA Dealership Workforce Study says has risen to 46%.
Not only does attrition hurt your budget, it hurts current employees’ morale. If your unenthusiastic team members are the ones greeting people on the phone or at the door (assuming they greet your customers at all), imagine the impact that’ll have on your customer experience.
If you don’t do anything about attrition, its effect will continue to ripple throughout your dealership. What exactly do you do about it? Start with the three steps below.
Train Your Employees
According to Deloitte, 54% of employers lack programs for building employees’ skills for the future. If your goal is to improve employee retention, then not prioritizing training is a mistake. Everyone wants to feel like they’re put in a position to succeed. If you don’t train your staff members well and set clear expectations with measurable goals, they end up frustrated and perform poorly.
Training programs should include sessions that apply to all employees, such as cybersecurity awareness, dealership policies and procedures and using internal systems. For example, when it comes to training your employees on software or hardware, see if your technology partner of choice can provide training resources, whether it’s supplemental materials such as help guides and best practices or live training sessions.
When employees feel like you’re investing in their success, they’ll be more motivated to pour themselves into their jobs.
Change Your Culture
Is an unhealthy workplace culture killing your employee retention rates? If you want an idea of how your employees perceive your culture, just ask them. If you want brutally honest feedback, check review sites like Glassdoor.
Research by Gallup found that 85% of American workers are non-engaged, which is the middle ground between two other categories of workers: engaged and actively disengaged.
It’s no surprise that employees who aren’t excited about their jobs would want to leave. To swing the pendulum in the right direction — toward engagement rather than disengagement — start with servant leadership, considering what your employees need and showing them you value them. That could mean offering generous benefits and job perks, acknowledging employees’ accomplishments or considering their ideas.
If you want to get employees even more excited about the work they do, instill in them a strong sense of your dealership’s mission. For example, you’re not just selling cars, you’re contributing to the community’s economy and giving residents a place they can trust to buy and service cars.
Once you proactively start engaging employees, Gallup reports that you can expect to experience 25% to 65% less turnover.
Stay Competitive with Technology
Helping employees realize why the work they do is valuable is a big part of keeping them engaged, but it’s equally important to empower them to carry out your dealership’s mission. If you don’t give them the tools they need to succeed, that’ll put a damper on their motivation.
For example, if salespeople have trouble tracking down keys or vehicles for test drives due to outdated key control logbooks and poor test drive scheduling processes, they’re not going to feel like they’re doing much for the economy if the customer chooses to drive a couple hours away to a dealership that’s prepared and ready to get them into the vehicle of their choice.
Similarly, if you have an outdated, unreliable way of tracking customer keys in the service department and a customer’s keys — or worse, their vehicle — goes missing, service advisors aren’t going to buy in to the idea that they’re a trustworthy place for customers to bring their cars in for service. In addition, if you don’t have an audit trail to indicate who was at fault for the incident, the wrong person could be punished or even terminated, which would further hurt employee morale.
Using technology to help employees do their jobs more efficiently and deliver a customer experience that’s consistent with your dealership’s mission will help increase their satisfaction and reduce the likelihood that they’ll look for opportunities elsewhere.
Take the time to evaluate your own processes and consider whether you can utilize existing technology or invest in new tools to make it easier for your employees to do their jobs well.
Click here to view more solutions from Steve Robinson and KeyTrak.