The world around us is changing, and customers, as well as employees, are expecting companies to reflect these demographic shifts. In the last article in this two-part series, we addressed “the why” of how to embrace inclusion in automotive retail.
Below we’ll touch on the how and look at auto retailers that expertly keep diversity and inclusion in mind and better serve their customers because of it.
Attracting and Retaining Top Talent Through Inclusivity
As stated in part one, millennial and Generation Z workers are likelier to work for and stay with a company that prioritizes diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Prioritizing these initiatives can help you identify and retain high-performing employees loyal to your dealership. Let’s take a look at some actionable steps you can take to prioritize diversity and inclusion and help your best players stick around.
Install Sound Recruitment and Hiring Practices
Recruiting LGBTQ+ individuals have to be seen as a priority for this group. Here are some best practices to help identify and recruit LGBTQ+ professionals at your dealership:
- Connect with community groups – Your city and even local universities may have community groups for LGBTQ+ individuals. See if they can help you connect with LGBTQ+ professionals.
- Donate to LGBTQ+ causes – Those affinity groups can also connect you with charities and nonprofits helping with causes that impact LGBTQ+ individuals. Promoting your work in this area can attract candidates from this group.
- Promote LGBTQ+-friendly policies – Make known any favorable LGBTQ+ policies, particularly the inclusion of ERGs or anti-discrimination policies.
Prioritize Career Development and Advancement
According to a 2018 LinkedIn report, 94% of employees surveyed said they would stay longer at a company that invested in their careers. Programs like these can help LGBTQ+ individuals advance and be more likely to stick around:
- Mentoring programs – It can be challenging to feel like the only person from a minority group at a company. Mentorship allows employees to network with those in and outside their minority communities and connect with those who can guide them in their careers.
- Leadership development initiatives – Showing LGBTQ+ populations that you care enough about them to build their leadership skills speaks volumes. It also lets them know they are in consideration for promotions and opportunities to advance their career.
- Inclusive promotion policies – Having diverse hiring committees, creating a diverse leadership pipeline, and being aware of unconscious bias can improve LGBTQ+ promotion policies.
Celebrating Diversity: Success Stories and Best Practices
Here are a couple of auto retailers who have put LGBTQ+ promotion and policies front and center, along with some takeaways:
Walser Automotive’s Drive With Pride – Walser Automotive Group, with dealerships in Minnesota and Kansas, established the LGBTQ+ ERG Drive With Pride. This move is meant to support LGBTQ+ populations and allies. Their efforts extend to both employees and customers.
Good Judy’s Garage – Located in Denver and run by CC Haug, this garage has become a welcoming place for women and those in the LGBTQ+ community. Haug found a niche in offering automotive and service education to those who may feel uncomfortable asking questions in a traditional service or repair shop.
Both are examples of automotive companies that made it a point to see what LGBTQ+ populations needed and how to offer services that make those individuals feel safe and included.
The Future of Automotive Retail: A Journey Towards Inclusive Excellence
When companies authentically reach out to underrepresented populations, they’re opening a door for them to become a part of their customer community. Committing to prioritizing diversity and inclusion is not a one-time deal. Efforts to do this must be reassessed, renewed, and updated for our dynamic and ever-changing times.
The emphasis here has to be on continuous improvement. Here are some easy ways to keep moving forward:
- Keep an ear to the ground – Stay in touch with those community groups. They can help you stay current on ways to continue to serve and meet community needs.
- Establish and track metrics – Create metrics to track your diversity and inclusion initiatives. That way, you can change or eliminate anything that doesn’t work.
- Be open to change – Society will constantly be in flux regarding addressing specific diversity issues. So, ensure you and all stakeholders are open to being nimble and adapting to new expectations.
Morality and Creating a Competitive Advantage Go Hand-in-Hand
We’re approaching a time when we see our up-and-coming generation being the most diverse of all time. Customers are looking for brands that represent them and reflect their interests. Investing in diversity inclusion isn’t only a “good thing to do” but a necessary business action to remain relevant.
This should include addressing underrepresented individuals from racial, ethnic, disability, and gender groups, but it’s also vital to address the needs of growing minority groups like the LGBTQ+ community. Doing so taps into their buying power and invites them to feel safe and included when interacting with your dealership.
Ultimately engaging in diversity and inclusion allows you to move toward success and increase your competitive advantage.