employee retention

With challenges like COVID and lack of inventory, dealerships have had a tough year or two. And recently, the challenge of attracting and keeping employees is becoming an even more significant issue. 

The Cox Automotive 2021 Dealership Staffing Study found that 72% of franchised dealers agree that hiring and keeping the right employees is a significant challenge. So how can you improve employee retention at your dealership? Let’s look at five tips for retaining and promoting your team while adapting to their unique needs.

Benefits of Promoting Employees 

Employees will find reasons to stay when they know there’s a path to promotion. For example, suppose you don’t provide employees with a clear career plan and possibility for advancement. In that case, they’ll find a new job sooner rather than later – perhaps with one of your competitors. 

So here’s a real-life example of how that works. An experienced technician was feeling the effects of the daily grind. But unfortunately, his body couldn’t continue handling the punishment. So, he started looking around for another position, of course. 

Because he had worked on training, over the years, toward the possibility of being a service advisor, he ended up using that and his tech knowledge to run a department.

Related: Using better marketing to attract better talent

Having an awareness of the talent and initiative of people like this is essential. If his advisor had only looked at the external work without asking about his goals and abilities, he would have lost the advancement and talent.

Look beyond surface factors when considering which of your team members should advance and find out what they enjoy doing. For instance, ask yourself questions such as:

  • Even if this employee is a top performer in their current role, do they have the hard and soft skills to succeed in a management position?
  • If this employee is a top producer, do they teach their methods to others?
  • Has the employee demonstrated a personal commitment to continuous learning and development?

Never be afraid to promote your top producer for fear that your numbers will dip. If they can effectively train others to produce at close to their level, then promoting them could become a “force multiplier” for your company.

Benefits of Adapting to Millennial & Gen-Z Needs

A recent Deloitte survey found that 46% of Millennials and 40% of Gen Z-ers view flexibility as a critical employee characteristic for successful businesses. Almost 30% of each generation view creativity as another crucial component for sustainable success. “That’s the way we’ve always done it” won’t win the support of your Gen-Z and Millennial employees.

Instead of staying with the status quo, they’re sure that there’s a better way to do anything – including how to have a good working environment. They know there’s a better way to do it. And they’re confident enough they need the training to go with it. 

So, you may need to allow team members some (reasonable) latitude regarding the methods and processes they can use on the job. In addition, it would be best to consider helping your employees achieve their desired work/life balance through flexible scheduling and revised compensation that doesn’t rely on bonuses.

With an employee, soliciting feedback after training sessions is essential. With Gen-Z, it’s critical. They’ll often have excellent ideas and suggestions on improving the process and welcome the same from you when asked. Studies suggest they want the freedom to move out of their lane when needed. And maybe play in multiple lanes. Lean into that tendency, and channel it into a culture of collaboration instead of rigid hierarchy.

Their different ideals. wants, and needs can help positively change your dealership and how the customers see you.

Benefits of Employee Recognition

Rewards and recognition always have a positive impact on your team members. However, automotive service and sales can be challenging, and even your best employees could suffer occasional bouts of discouragement or burnout. Combat this trend by integrating the celebration of both collective and individual wins into your regular workflow.

Did you enjoy this article from Corey Smith? Read other articles on CBT News here. Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by submitting a letter to the editor here, or connect with us at newsroom@cbtnews.com.

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Corey Smith began working in car dealerships in 1998. Since that time, he has worked as a service advisor, executive sales director and corporate service trainer, among other roles across the F&I industry. He is an expert in process development and improvement as well as training and business development strategies, with a proven success rate sustaining increases in revenue, service drive traffic and reduction in expenses, all while maintaining the highest level of employee and customer retention. Corey has nearly 20 years of Fixed Operations experience in the automotive industry and is a sought-after expert in service drive training, process improvement and business development. He also has a background in broadcasting and since assuming a new role with National Auto Care as National Fixed Operations Training Manager, is the host of Fixed Ops 5, a podcast, video and blog series focused on the customer experience in the Service Drive and Fixed Operations. A Maine native, Corey earned his broadcasting degree from the New England School of Broadcasting in 1996. He is a loving husband and father of two sons and a daughter.