1. a strong culture:
“The No. 1 thing we hear when we try to reach outside our industry to hire people is always about our culture,” says Wright, owner of Dave Wright Nissan Subaru. Fleming Ford, vice president of people analytics at ESI Trends, a Florida consulting firm, says “You can say you’re a great place to work, but former employees may post their stories online. Cultural behaviors — tolerating inappropriate or inconsistent behavior — that have been symptomatic of the industry turnover problem are creating issues with hiring.” Evelyn Rojas, talent development manager at Fox Motors in the Chicago area, says recruiting “starts from the top. You have to have the right culture in a dealership to entice the right people to join your team.” For Fox, Rojas says, that means leaders must build a culture “with a lot of intention, about how you speak to each other, how employees work with customers, how they talk about other departments.”
2. up-to-date job structure:
Wright says dealerships need to be more creative than ever in recruiting talent. “When recruiting technicians, for example, we used to say, ‘come work for us — you’ll get more business, sell more cars, work all the hours you want.’ But people don’t care about those things today. So now we say, ‘Tell us how many hours you want; tell us the working conditions you need.” That means flexible scheduling and less commission-based pay. “The labor market has an aversion to highly variable pay plans,” Robinson of Hireology says. “It just doesn’t matter what we think about how this business should be run. The rest of the world is paying people for their time, not their production.” Wright’s dealership offers every new hire the choice of a commission-based plan or one with base pay plus bonuses for unit sales and CSI scores. He also has cut store hours to help staff with work-life balance, closing at 4 p.m. on Saturdays and staying open only two nights a week. To recruit and keep the people they want, Rojas says, Fox uses a strong mentorship program, especially focusing on promoting people from within, and monthly performance reviews.
3. effective leadership:
Ford says ESI’s work with dealerships underscores the importance of top leaders in attracting and keeping good workers. “General managers have to get better at the people part — explaining the vision, inspiring the team,” she says. “They’ve got to get over the idea that they’re selling cars; their job is to manage the people who sell cars.” Ford suggests that 90% of a GM’s time should be spent on having the right people in place, then developing that team — for instance, a daily huddle with managers to reinforce different core values.