Chances are, you ended the third quarter in fairly positive territory. The majority of OEMs showed positive sales growth. The Federal Reserve cut interest rates a quarter point. Hiring remained strong in the majority of the US and the consumer optimism index is still high. Looks like it’s going to be a good Christmas!
Just like in the movie, Christmas Vacation, you can’t have good news without the bad. The political climate continues to make headlines. Tariffs remain in place, impacting both parts suppliers and OEMs. A battle over fuel efficiency is brewing in many state legislatures. And, the competition for good employees is stronger than ever.
As a dealership owner looking to thrive in the months ahead, what should you do? Focus on what’s in your control and invest in your best assets – your people.
Your people are your best assets. It’s an old adage but it’s true! Even with the move to more digital engagement, people are still critical to the retail automotive process. Keep it simple. Focus on the two tenets of staffing your dealership: hiring and retention.
When it comes to hiring, there was a nugget of good news in the recent Cox Automotive 2019 Dealership Staffing Study. The study found that generations are showing higher levels of interest in working at a dealership, specifically:
- 32% of Generation Z workers
- 36% of younger Millennials
This interest is nearly 10 percentage points higher than interest shown by older Millennials in their late 30s and early 40s (21%) and Gen Xers in their 40s and 50s (19%).
But these new employees will not be satisfied with a dead-end job and no opportunity for cross training or advancement. Make sure you understand that to retain these younger employees, they require feedback, opportunities for growth, and a management structure that fosters innovation. They’re not worker bees. They want to take an active role in their careers and your dealership. Give these new assets the training that supports their energy!
While you’re focused on hiring bright, shiny new employees, don’t forget about the great staff you already have in place. Keep your current team member assets engaged and invested by removing barriers for success.
Do you have a Top Performing salesperson who would like to become an F&I manager? Great! They already know your business. Now they just need the tools to grow and work even harder for you! Send them through both F&I and compliance training so that when they start work in F&I, they’ll sell your consumer protection products the right way, increasing both your margins and dealership compliance, not to mention customer satisfaction!
Do you have a service technician with excellent customer rapport? Fantastic! Give them a path to becoming a service manager and equip them with the right training for success. Will you have to back-fill those jobs? Possibly, but your new hires will see there is room for growth and your newly advanced employees who have experienced your commitment to their success will be more likely to stay.
There are lots of things swirling around in the world that could impact all industries. However, many of them are out of your control. What happens inside the walls of your dealership is in your control. And, investing in the people who share the space with you will help you thrive, not just survive. It’s a tried and true recipe for success.
With more than 40 years of experience helping dealers achieve their profitability goals, EFG Companies knows how to recruit and train your team into Top Performers. Contact us today to get started.