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Why car dealers must invest in employee development sooner rather than later

When a dealership creates a solid employee development program, the customer experience, employee experience, sales, and reputation will likely improve.

Car dealers are looking for employees as their retention rates continue to dwindle and turnover increases. For example, in 2021, the automotive industry saw a turnover rate of 46%, which is almost half of all employees in the industry as a whole.

Employees want more than just a job to pick up their checks. They are looking for companies and car dealerships that focus on training and development. Employee development is often overlooked by car dealers, but this only hurts business. Developing an employee’s skills and advantages can increase retention rates and make the hiring process a lot smoother.

There is a considerable difference between employee development and employee training. When you train your employee, there is usually a position they are striving to reach. However, when car dealership managers develop their employees, they are growing their skills in general, which can help them succeed at the job and in their future endeavors.

With so many benefits, choosing only a few to discuss is hard. When a company focuses on creating and developing a solid employee development program, the customer experience, employee experience, sales, and reputation will likely improve.

1. Customer experience

Your customer experience will likely increase if you establish a strong and nurturing employee development program. For an employee development program to work, though, the program should be personalized for each employee to work with the manager one-on-one.

A customer’s experience is largely based on how employees treat them in a work environment. Car sales at a dealership are based entirely on in-person and digital customer interactions. If you can prioritize developing your employees’ customer service skills, your customers will have better experiences which can increase sales and long-standing customers.

2. Employee experience

There is a strong relationship between employee experience and customer experience. When employees enjoy where they work and have the relevant skills to grow, this is obvious to customers. 

Giving your employees opportunities to develop and grow as salespeople and humans can increase their experiences and overall happiness at your car dealership. The better experiences your employees have, the likelier they are to stay and strive to do a great job.

3. Sales

You can’t have great sales if your employees do not know what they are doing. It is not enough to train them for on-the-job tasks; but you should develop your employee’s skills. Once your employee’s skills are developed, car sales are likely to increase as they are ready for any question and circumstance. 

4. Reputation

Consumers like to know that companies are taking care of their employees by providing development courses and opportunities. Your dealership’s reputation can increase with this public knowledge. Knowing that the employees at a car dealership are constantly learning and developing new industry trades gives your dealership credibility.

Where can you find resources for employee development?

When creating a development plan for your employees, you are not alone. There are hundreds of free and easy-to-use online sources that you can present to your employees for their development. To increase interest in the resources and learning, it is a good idea also to provide incentives or make it into a friendly competition with rewards.

Image by National Automobile Dealers Association

Dealer 20 Groups are a tremendous in-person resource for car dealer employees looking to develop their skills. A dealer 20 group consists of around 10-20 local or regional dealerships that work together to learn, collaborate and develop industry best practices. There are frequent meetings where mingling is heavily encouraged.

Did you know that you can also find online webinars? Some of the webinars are free, and most are industry specific. If your employees want to learn something specific, try looking at the NADA website under their education catalog. The webinars are broken down into categories for easy access.

Last but not least, car dealership managers can also focus on providing courses and boot camps for their employees. Bootcamps and classes are not always free, but they are necessary investments and help differentiate your car dealership from your competition.

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