Best PracticesFeb 14th, 2024

People Matter: How to Retain Dealership Talent

People Matter How to Retain Dealership Talent

In the fast-paced world of automotive retail, where transactions and numbers are the heartbeat, it’s easy to lose sight of the most valuable element – people. People are an essential asset within an organization, but their value goes beyond being an asset. They are the most significant investments that can make or break a company’s success.

People are invaluable and irreplaceable. Despite the rise of AI technology and automated services, companies have been unsuccessful in replacing the human touch. Especially when it comes to vehicle sales, service kiosks, and recruiting staff. We have seen that technology can't replace the human touch in vehicle sales and service. If you think it can, you have never experienced the energy and adrenaline one may have when walking into a dealership.

Talent retention is more than a strategy; it's a recognition of employees' intrinsic value to the dealership. It's about acknowledging that retaining skilled, experienced individuals is an investment that will pay off in the form of dependable quality, customer satisfaction, and a positive workplace culture. That positive work environment fosters a sense of belonging, loyalty, and commitment.

How to build an UNrecruitable team

“I have been in the automotive recruiting industry for almost 10 years now and I challenge leaders to put me out of business by building an UNrecruitable team. This mentality should be at the heart of every business.” (Steve)

Career Development

Employees seek not just a job but a career path with opportunities for growth. Implementing clear career development plans, offering training programs, and providing advancement opportunities within the organization demonstrate a commitment to nurturing and retaining talent. When employees see a future within the dealership, they are more likely to invest in its success.

1. Talent Audit
This approach allows you to identify existing talent and skills gaps in your dealership. By understanding the current status of talent, you will be able to plan for your training needs as well as determine the right skillsets required for future recruitment efforts.

2. Skills Development
Creating a skills development strategy is not only a tactical investment to drive performance but also communicates to the employees that their growth is a strategic imperative. Skills development strategies should directly link to the overall goals of the dealership and can be measured and the training spend justified, accordingly.

3. Succession Planning
As the war for talent continues to intensify, dealerships who can retain top talent not only save on recruitment costs but also benefit from operational efficiencies achieved through smooth transitions within the organizational structure. Through identifying critical positions within the dealership and coupled with a clear skills development strategy, action plans to fulfill succession goals becomes a lot easier.

"The solution to your challenges is under your own roof at your company, with employee retention and growth from within." (Steve)

Compensation and Rewards

While passion for the automotive industry is a driving force, competitive compensation and comprehensive benefits play a crucial role in talent retention. Dealerships must align their compensation structures with industry standards, ensuring that employees feel adequately rewarded for their contributions. This approach not only attracts top talent but encourages them to remain committed to the dealership.

This can be achieved through:

  • Reviewing what is measured as well as when and how it is measured.
  • Understanding what matters to your employees is key when building a competitive compensation plan.
  • Implementing a philosophy of recognition widens the approach of compensation to include non-financial rewards.

As we navigate the road ahead, let's recognize that retaining top talent isn't just about keeping individuals on staff; it's about cultivating an environment where every team member is inspired to contribute their best to drive the dealership towards sustained excellence.

    Steven Adragna is a seasoned professional deeply rooted in the automotive industry, having been nurtured within the dynamics of the car business since his early days. His journey in the automotive world presented a unique challenge when, at the age of 29, he assumed the role of General Manager. Balancing the demands of this leadership position while striving to staff his dealerships became a pivotal point in his career.

    Recognizing the struggle within the industry, Steven emphasizes the importance of harnessing internal employee talent. He advocates for the automotive industry by actively marketing automotive to existing and future talent, enhancing our industry’s capacity and success through forward-thinking talent acquisition and retention strategies. 

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