With respect to sales positions and service advisors, employee turnover has the greatest impact on a dealership’s performance. According to the 2015 NADA Dealership Workforce Study, the turnover rate for salespeople in dealerships is extraordinarily high—about 72%.
What’s even more staggering is the turnover that occurs in the first three months: The same study reported 28% percent of all terminations—including 41% for sales consultants—happen within the first 90 days.
The key to reducing employee turnover is setting the right foundation from the start. High turnover is expensive. You can’t expect new hires to make a real impact if you’re not making an impact on them.
Once you strengthen your dealership’s onboarding process, you’ll be more likely to have a team of highly motivated, loyal employees who are ready to succeed.
Facilitating a smooth onboarding process requires a clear strategy for getting new hires acclimated to their new surroundings.
Here are eight keys to helping your employees start off on the right foot.
1. Go over the fine print
Even though this part isn’t very exciting, ensuring new members of your dealership understand legal requirements and company policies will go a long way toward making them feel comfortable and confident.
Whether you use a printed policy handbook or an intranet with links to important documents, this approach will help alleviate any confusion and avoid future missteps.
2. Leave no room for doubt
In addition to understanding your dealership’s concrete policies, it’s equally important to clarify a new hire’s job role and expectations.
The first few days in a new workplace can be a blur for many people, so it’s a good idea to define their specific position clearly and within context.
3. Immerse new hires in your culture
If you’ve made the effort to convey a strong sense of your store’s culture through your career page and other recruiting platforms, make sure you demonstrate that culture once you bring a new employee on board.
4. Build strong connections at all levels
Dealerships have an average payroll of nearly 70 employees, so it’s easy for new hires to lose track of who their key points of contact will be once they get settled into their role.
Make sure you develop processes that help new employees foster interpersonal relationships with their superiors and understand what role their coworkers play in your dealership. This effort not only helps keep lines of communication open, but also creates a strong sense of community.
5. Encourage open communication
Throughout the first 90 days, it’s critical that new hires are given every opportunity to ask questions and get clear answers with respect to their role, organizational structures, and best practices.
6. Offer opportunities for future growth
Even at the beginning of employees’ tenure at your dealership, they want to know there is room to grow. Remember, the more systemized your processes for promotions are, the better the response you’ll get from your staff.
7. Provide easy access to resources
New hires are in a highly unsubstantiated position during the first three months of employment. They’re being closely observed and scrutinized to ensure they’ll provide a long-term benefit to your dealership.
Help your new employees along by providing access to resources that will help them perform at a higher level. You may have an internal library of articles, videos, and guides created by your own subject matter experts to share with them, or to make yourself accessible to them when needed.
8. Build excitement around your brand
Ideally, you want each of your employees to come in every morning with energy and enthusiasm. It’s even more important, however, to instill a sense of excitement and vitality around your brand with new hires during their onboarding process. Encourage them to participate in a dynamic environment and facilitate a culture of brand pride.
While you develop a thorough, impactful onboarding process for your dealership, remember to consistently take account of the experiences of your first few new hires. You want to be able to identify what is working and what isn’t helping to achieve your objective of lowering turnover rates.
With this knowledge, you can develop an onboarding process that can be duplicated, which helps you build a stronger dealership. Your dealership’s onboarding program is not only essential to its success, but can go a long way toward growing your culture and increasing your bottom line.
Adam Robinson is the cofounder and CEO of Hireology—the leading provider of employee selection management technology—which works with more than 400 automotive dealerships to streamline and improve their hiring process, resulting in smarter hiring and a stronger company. Follow him on Twitter @adrobins. For information about creating a better onboarding program, visit www.hireology.com/onboarding.
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