Sales Manager Erikka Wells discusses the need for more diversity efforts in the auto industry

Until you hire managers that are women of color, how can you bring other women in, Erikka Wells asks?

A daycare employee turned sales manager…not a story you hear every day, but that is the reality for Erikka Tiffani Wells. After working her through the automotive industry which began with a bad alternator, Erikka Tiffani Wells now stands as Sales Manager of the Volkswagen of Marion, Co-Founder and Vice President of WOCAN, the Women of Color Automotive Network, a motivational speaker, and recently named to Automotive News’ 40 under 40 list

Erikka Tiffani joins us today to lend us her perspective on recruitment today through the continued pandemic and we’ll also get into the need for continued diversity efforts in our industry.

The power of social media is a big deal. Wells said Ashlee Church slid into her DMs (direct message) and asked Wells to consider a position in Illinois. At first, Wells said no. But with Church’s persistence and understanding of Wells’s needs, allowed her to move and create success the automotive industry desperately need.

Related: How much value does social media marketing bring to car dealerships?

WOCAN just hit its one-year anniversary back in August. Wells says to showcase and highlight other women within the automotive industry is an honor. Representation matters. She says, these women’s stories deserve to be told. Wells also says, in order to fix the diversity problem, leaders should lean on diversity and inclusion groups.

diversity People hire people who they’re comfortable with says Wells. She says until you hire managers that are women of color, how can you bring other women in? There’s a lot of talent, that may not look like you. Wells believes if you’re not open to that and you’re not looking beyond your small circle of influence, then you’re missing out.

Wells says she’s looking forward to the future. She says it’s been a gut check for everyone, but their best and brightest days are still ahead. With the ongoing chip crisis and low inventory, Wells says they have gotten creative. They’ve changed their pay plan and taught their salespeople different skillsets. She says we have a unique opportunity during this pandemic to be empathetic of what’s really going on. She also says to gain a better understanding of your employees and create a change that you’re going to be able to continue all the way through.

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