Last summer’s civil unrest across the nation sparked outrage as well as change for many. Companies, like Asbury Automotive Group, started to examine and increase their diversity and inclusion efforts. The Group, alongside a consulting firm, created Asbury’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome Jed Milstein, Chief Human Resources Officer at Asbury Automotive Group and we’re also joined by Dan Clara, Senior Vice President of Operations to discuss diversity and inclusion at Asbury and the creation of their initiative.
Milstein says it’s been an all-involved effort. It wasn’t only about the internal efforts but the community efforts as well. They wanted to focus on areas of their communities that were economically and socially disadvantaged. They knew they could make an impact and help raise a level of opportunity.
First, they started with education. You have to get your senior leaders to understand what an inclusive culture looks like. Milstein says all 150 of their top leaders started with a 2 1/2 hour workshop and then it was multiple steps from there. The culture of inclusion is having people understand how important their ideas and contributions are. Milstein says the important thing was to get back into each store location and create action plans. He says there’s a real value enhancement to do this if they do a great job. If we can attract the very best people with great ideas to the company, retain them and keep them, so much will prepare us better to get to that ultimate vision, says Milstein.
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Clara believes the most valuable asset that we have are the ladies and gentlemen that are in the front lines, every single day. He says they’re only going to attract the best of the best. Therefore the level of service is going to improve, which will get them closer to being the guest eccentric automotive retailer.
In order to become more diverse, Clara says, they have to create an environment, where women are welcomed. The question to ask is, how do we accommodate the specific needs that they may have? That’s the number one key initiative Clara wants to change and evolve in the business to further enhance career opportunities and D&I initiatives.
Clara says what differentiates them, is they do everything because they care. It’s also the right thing to do. If you approach every day as such, you will hit those numbers.
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