Diversity in the workplace can be a contentious word. Many interpret the directive to mean that a variety of external likenesses need to be present in their dealerships, without understanding how this adds value outside of being a nod towards political correctness. This conclusion leads to many dealerships missing out. They either hire with an eye toward filling a perceived roster of “diversity” or reject the idea altogether.
Instead, they should think of diversity as a way to boost their access to customers. Instead of only one door, they now have many. Diverse leadership allows dealerships to maximize their reach by obtaining staff that understands different demographics in ways a homogenous group would not be able to. Dealerships shouldn’t think of diversity as purely a physical representation, rather a representation of diverse skillsets that may come in a variety of packagings.
For instance, it is worth a dealership’s while to hire leaders who represent different age categories. The older the employee is, the more life experience he or she has to share both about the business and about customers in their bracket. Similarly, a younger team member can bring with them valuable insight into current trends, as well as 21st-century skills. If a dealership is located in an area populated by specific minority groups, having leaders in the team from those groups can help them gain a better clarity regarding how to interact with those groups in a positive, productive way. Including both genders further opens a dealership’s opportunities, as both men and women can connect to customers in different manners that lead to maximum sales.
In addition to the above examples in which diversity is connected to a superficial trait, such as age, race or gender, it’s also important to look for hires who are diverse in the way they think or act. Consider leaders who have different leadership styles or ways of thinking.
In all cases, it is essential to keep in mind that the goal of diversity is not that the member of a specific group should be solely in charge of interacting with others from the same group when it comes to leadership, marketing, or sales. The ideal is for the diverse leadership to work together to strengthen the whole team. Leaders should teach the rest of the employees how to best approach different problems or customers so that every single member of the dealership becomes a better employee as a result. This, in turn, leads to greater creativity overall, as teams have a plethora of backgrounds, skills, and mindsets to draw upon when developing sales tactics or campaigns.
This can be achieved in a few ways. Leaders can be assigned team members to mentor on rotation so that each dealership employee gets a chance to learn directly from a leader. Another method is to have periodic in-services where leaders share valuable insights connected to their particular brand of diversity. Alternatively, dealerships can have their diverse leaders come up with unique ways of sharing their wealth. Because, if done correctly, diversity in leadership reaps great rewards.