What’s ahead for Dealers for the rest of 2020

The final installment of the Automotive News Retail Forum: Dealer Discussions virtual series wrapped up this week, showcasing how dealers and industry partners have weathered the staffing and inventory challenges this summer. Hireology CEO Adam Robinson was among the panelists who shared tactics on what dealers can do today to help their dealerships adapt to the changing landscape created by COVID-19. 
 
Hireology has previously shared tactics and best practices to adapt to today’s hiring challenges resulting from the economic downturn, and how dealers can rely more heavily on digital tools to keep their teams connected. The panel format from Automotive News Retail Forum was a great way to showcase some of these learnings, and hear directly from dealership leaders on how their rooftops were being impacted directly this summer. 
 
During the discussion, Robinson shared data from Hireology that showed a slow recovery for retail automotive dealerships across the country but cautioned on the challenges ahead, especially on staffing. “By working with 1 in 4 franchised new car dealerships across the country, we have an interesting pulse on the state of the market today,” said Robinson. Over the past few years, dealers have continuously staffed up and increased their costs per employee. “We were predicting there’s got to be some great sorting mechanism out there that’s going to catalyze the decision to operate a leaner work force,” Robinson said. “And boy, COVID sure was the perfect catalyst for that.”
 
Adam believes this year’s pandemic will permanently change the way dealers must think about staffing models, getting people into the right seats to serve the dealership and customers and the technologies used to run the business. 
 
Today, about 30% of the jobs lost during the March/April downturn have been recovered. Still, Robinson predicts that 5% – 10% of the jobs lost may never return, as dealerships have leaned into digital sales tools and customers continue to limit exposure to retail stores. How will this impact future staffing as dealerships cautiously open positions to service increased customer demand for new and used vehicles? 
 

Attract a New Kind of Talent

Unlike the 2008 recession, retail automotive dealerships are seeing demand after just a few short months of decreased activity. Consumers and employees are taking necessary steps to keep the purchasing process safe, by relying on more digital tools to close the sale. This may mean better use of technology to answer consumer questions and streamline the sales process. With the COVID-19 downturn impacting other segments of the economy more heavily, like hospitality, transportation and entertainment, this could be a great opportunity to attract fresh talent with a customer-service mindset who is savvy enough with technology to help drive additional car sales and increase CSAT.
 

Rethink Your Recruitment Plan

With the recent BLS jobs report showing a slow recovery ahead, millions of job seekers are exploring new channels to find work. While many automotive hiring managers rely on tactics like traditional job boards to source applicants, recent networks like Facebook and Google are helping applicants connect with employers without forcing them into a specific job board. This new approach helps applicants see opportunities in the social feeds and search activity they’re conducting today, potentially even before they formally start the job search process. Get ahead of this trend by building out your social profiles and make sure you share your roles digitally, both on your career site as well as social media. Hireology recently integrated with Jobs on Facebook to make this simple.
 

Automate the Hiring Process

The recent influx of new job applicants might excite hiring managers who have spent the past few years struggling to attract new dealership talent. However, dealership hiring staff might become overwhelmed by hundreds of new applicants – especially if the support team has been impacted by working remotely or being furloughed. Look for platforms that help automate the work of connecting with top applicants that also centralizes all hiring activity into one unified platform. Make sure it connects with other critical systems like payroll, DMS, and others to help you safe time, hire the right people and set them up for success. 
To learn more and to watch the latest installment of the Retail Forum Dealer Discussions virtual series, head over to the event recap post on Automotive News. Want to learn more about Hireology? Connect with us to schedule a demo.