“The Women in the Workplace 2017,” a study conducted by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey states, ”Women and men see the state of women—and the success of gender-diversity efforts—differently. Men are more likely to think the workplace is equitable; women see a workplace that is less fair and offers less support. Men think their companies are doing a pretty good job supporting diversity; women see more room for improvement. Indeed, nearly 50 percent of men think women are well represented in leadership in companies where only one in 10 senior leaders are women. And perhaps unsurprisingly, men are less committed to gender-diversity efforts, and some even feel that such efforts disadvantage them.”
Only 25 percent of the workforce in the automotive industry, including manufacturing, are roles held by women. A mere 18.6 percent are women in the workforce at dealerships and most of these women work in accounting or support roles, according to the latest estimates from the National Automobile Dealers Association.
With this in mind, what is your plan to attract, hire and retain women? Having more women on staff in all positions including leadership roles at dealerships will result in higher profits over-all, give you a strategic market advantage and increase your over-all employee retention. Working towards “gender-parity” will also result in attracting, selling and retaining more women customers.
How to Attract Hire and Retain Women Employees
- Create a Female-Friendly Culture – Previous poor treatment and lack of respect for female job candidates – or women customers, for that matter – leaves a negative, lasting impression on how women perceive our industry. It’s hard to believe that at some dealerships, women are still greeted with a detestable statement like: “Is your husband with you today?” Commit to providing a consistent Female-Friendly culture and experience.
- Provide Training and Ongoing Training – There is an increase in the number of women interested in pursuing automotive careers. Work with your local automotive trade schools and high school career fairs and apprenticeship programs, provide scholarships for women and offer to include ongoing training and education with financial support for tuition factored into your compensation plans. This will give you a competitive advantage in hiring and retaining women and in fact all new employees.
- Create a Career Path – Re-examine the positions in your company that can effectively interest and challenge women and encourage not only their entry into the industry, as well as their interest in making it a career.
- Offer Flex Schedules – Consider not just the primary financial needs of full- and part-time women, consider their family and personal needs as well. Millennial men and women with children both want more the same things – flexible time to participate at their childrens’ school events and after school activities.
- Mentorship – Make a commitment as an owner to formally mentor women employees. Invest in their careers by sending them to conferences like the Women in Automotive Conference. The Women in Automotive provides mentoring as well as the opportunity to learn and network with other women building a career in our industry.
- Make Her Part of the Team – Shake off the old “but we’ve always done it this way” mantra and try new methods. Explore new realistic ways to meet female employees needs. Challenge and eliminate those ideas and procedures that have been used forever – and have failed.
- Listen – Her female perspective is essential to your business. Ask for her opinion and listen when conducting job interviews and if hired keep an open mind. You may be surprised at the great insights on marketing, selling, serving and communicating better with women customers she can provide to you and your team.
- Support women in your local market – A strong message to your local market of available women for hire is to support women’s groups like GSUSA, NAWBO – the National Association of Women Business Owners, and other local charities that support women’s issues or health concerns. Networking with and supporting women in your local market creates an important hiring pool.
- Include This in Help Wanted Ads – When placing advertising for new hires you need to fish where the fish are. Carefully craft job descriptions to include mentions of previous job experience wanted at businesses women generally have had work experience in your local market. This sends a strong signal to women job seekers, “women welcome here”. Run these want ads where women will see them not in the “Automotive Only Section”.
- Highlight Her Role – Feature your women employees, her photo, profile, roles and responsibilities on your social network page. Again you will be telling a great story to potential women customers and employees you value women. Women spend three times more per day than men do on social networks. Facebook ads that tell this story aimed specifically at women, can be a very good way to advertise and promote ads to women job seekers.
Make a commitment to attract hire and retain more women and make “gender-parity” a strategic goal.
“Efforts to achieve equality benefit us all. Diversity leads to stronger business results, as numerous studies have shown. When the most talented people can rise to the top, regardless of what they look like and where they’re from, we all end up winning”.