F&I staff

The pandemic has ushered in a shift in workers looking for better pay, conditions, and work-from-home opportunities. Some have left traditional jobs to strike out on their own and start a business, which has been labeled the Great Resignation. 

Still, others have looked to early retirement. And that’s the ‘Gray Tsunami.’

A survey in late 2021 by Bankrate saw 55% of Americans planning to look for a new job in 2022 and of those, 44% were currently making $80K or more at their current job. That says even high earners are looking for a change, too. 

The automotive industry has not been immune to this shift as COVID shuttered showrooms throughout a portion of 2020 and many had to furlough staff. Many left the business and those that stayed had to adjust to the ‘new normal’ quickly.

Many dealerships have F&I staff that fit in the ‘Boomer’ or ‘Gen X’ demographic and have many years in the business. For whatever reason, Millennials and Gen Z are slow to consider a career in F&I even though the pay is higher than most salespeople. 

If these older F&I staff leave, dealerships will be left scrambling to replace them with younger professionals and the challenge will become how to tap into what these workers want from a job now.

What can dealerships do now to make the F&I position attractive to the younger generation of workers in preparation for losing older staff? 

Related: How to help struggling F&I managers embrace change

Comp. Plans that Make Sense for F&I Today

timeAs F&I managers usually have the highest earning potential in the dealership, keep in mind that Millennials came of age during the Great Recession and their view of compensation is tied to more than just high-stress hustle. They want to know they have steady income especially now with inflation at 40-year levels. 

Offering a salary/commission structure that takes the financial worry away yet still rewards high PVR and CSI scores with strong commissions and bonuses will be a strong recruitment tool. Commission only and draws are outdated compensation models that won’t appeal to younger professionals.

Ongoing Learning and Team Atmosphere

Today’s younger professionals are looking for growth and a team-oriented environment. Make team meetings and mentoring a priority and take the steps to foster an F&I staff that truly works together for the department’s overall success. Make sure department incentives are tied to overall monthly performance as this will foster an environment where staff will help each other be better.

Offer training opportunities whether it’s in-house or through your F&I provider’s training school to show new F&I staff that your store wants them to be at the top of their game. A defined training program is critical for new staff who have never been in the car business or for salespeople who are stepping up in their career to F&I. 

Inclusion, Diversity, and Sense of Community Purpose

Younger generations have adopted a more socially conscious view of the world and they look for these factors when choosing a new opportunity. Offer an environment where all are welcome to join and make training around these topics available and a priority.

Community giving and support is important, too. Dealerships will appeal to these generations with high-profile community outreach such as food drives, 5k runs for local charities, or mentoring underserved youth in the community are the kinds of good works that Millennials and Gen Z hold as valuable. 

Work-Life Balance in F&I

No, work-from-home is not a ‘thing’ for an F&I manager. You need to be in the store.  But what dealerships must realize is that today’s worker is looking for a work-life balance that doesn’t create burnout within the first few weeks of a job. 

Younger professionals will be looking to have a reasonable schedule during the week, not 6 days on, bell-to-bell. Two days off each week (if your store is closed Sundays then offer a day of their choice during the week) and no round-the-clock. Defined shifts help them feel like they have time in the morning to handle an appointment or time in the evening to be with their family. 

F&I can be a great career for many that want high-income potential and growth opportunities but if the environment is still operating like it’s the 90’s, talented job seekers from younger generations will look elsewhere.

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