Promoting diversity and inclusion at your dealership is a win-win for everyone. From senior-level employees, all the way to your customers, encouraging diversity can have a positive impact on your dealership culture, employee engagement, and your bottom line.
A study by McKinsey, a consulting firm, profiled 180 companies over two years. They found that diverse boards outperformed those who were less diverse. These boards also generated revenue that was 53 percent higher than less inclusive companies. Another study of 200 business teams by software company Cloverpop saw that diverse teams made better business decisions up to 87 percent of the time.
The tangibles of diversity are there. However, it’s the intangibles that can propel your dealership forward. When a customer walks in the door and sees someone who looks like them, or a female staff member is recognized for developing a strategy that allows you to reach women in the area more effectively, these are the moments that drive home why diversity should be a priority.
Therefore, how do you promote this ideal in your dealership and to your teams? Read on for our tips.
Discuss Its Value
Ensuring that everyone has a seat at the table is the right thing to do. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to convey why diversity is important and why it benefits everyone involved. Sharing studies like the ones above can accomplish this. However, it helps to go a bit deeper. Again, focus on moments where diversity is an asset, whether it be moments where your team decision-making improved or how an ethnically diverse person can better understand the cultures of customers who come from similar backgrounds. Drive home the point that representation is crucial to identifying with potential car buyers.
Listen And Work to Create a Culture Friendly To Diversity
Many times, one of the most impactful things leadership can do to promote diversity and inclusion is to listen. If you already have employees that are part of a minority group, seek their input on how you can improve everything from your workplace culture to policies. For example, if the majority of your dealership team is male, and many new hires come from referrals, the hiring pipeline will likely be a majority of new male hires.
Sitting down and listening to employees who are a part of a minority group allows you to see where situations like this could be happening. At a recent National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) event, Chief Human Resources Officer for Walser Automotive, Sherry Shultz drove home the role of listening when it comes to diversity: “Diversity is what your employees tell you that it is. If you don’t ask, you may create programs that do not resonate with people.”
Require Recruiters to Go Through Unconscious Bias Training
Everyone has biases. Our perceptions of others are formed through experiences and unproven stereotypes. These unconscious biases can impact the decision-making of your recruiters. One way to address this is by facilitating unconscious bias training for your dealership recruiters and everyone on your team.
Identifying biases is crucial to taking the steps needed to move away from them. The role of this training is not to condemn anyone; instead, it is meant to create an environment where these perceptions can be understood, addressed, and challenged.
Add Diversity to the Hiring Process
In addition to unconscious bias training, there are some other ways to promote diversity during the hiring and recruitment process:
- Ensure the interview panel is diverse – You want the team that is hiring employees to look like those who are applying. So, be sure that your hiring teams reflect inclusivity, and that these individuals also play a part in the decision-making process.
- Go to where diverse applicants are – You need to seek out talented and diverse candidates. Check out job boards like DiversityWorking.com or Diversity.com to locate talent. Also, be sure to look into minority-service institutions like Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and historical women’s universities and colleges to diversify your hiring pipeline.
- Ask for referrals from minority employees – You may already have a strong diversity recruitment pipeline in the form of your current employees. Ask them to refer minority professionals they know.
These steps can help you begin to put your dealership hiring team in the position to find exceptional diversity talent.
Show Your Customers That You Are Committed to Diversity
It is great to donate to causes that promote diversity and hire professionals that are a part of minority groups. Still, your customers need to feel that your efforts to promote diversity are genuine and impactful. How your dealership addresses diversity in front of your customers is critical.
A great example of this is the story of an El Monte, California Toyota Dealership, who embraced inclusion and saw success. In 1998, the business was featured in an article that highlighted their commitment to diversity. Their approach was simple. Their 60-person sales staff (at that time) spoke more than 20 different languages, a forward-thinking move for a company operating over 20 years ago. While the dealership’s HR manager, Ken Rankin, made diverse hiring a priority, they also sent a message to their customers that they valued the language and cultural differences of their customers.
This act benefited those hired and went a long way to making customers feel represented and valued. This move also helped the dealership become one of the most successful ones in the area, and they are still around today.
Whether you have bilingual professionals on staff or feature stories of interns from HBCUs on your dealership website, the goal is to let customers know that you aren’t going through the motions. You want them to see that diversity is an essential principle to your dealership.
Diversity and Inclusion Are Components of an Innovative Dealership Workplace
Again, the importance of diversity isn’t just about the bottom-line or meeting a quota. It is about the moments when you allow those in your local community, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, or religious affiliation, to impact the work you do.
Generation Z is on track to be the most diverse generation ever. A commitment to promoting diversity at your dealership allows a large percentage of them to see themselves when they walk in the door. Not only is this good for business, but it speaks to a greater unity and connection your customers—regardless of who they are—can have with your dealership team.
Did you enjoy this article from Chanell Turner? Read other articles from her here.
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