What do GM, Ford and Stellantis have in common? Okay, yes, you are correct they all manufacture vehicles. But, recently, there’s another major industry development that they share and, no, it has nothing to do with vehicles. All three of these OEMs have taken the plunge and agreed to hybrid, work from home environments post-pandemic. For those of you keeping score, this is truly a watershed moment for industry titans who are not always perceived by the labor force as “progressive.”
The shift to remote work seen across many industries is due, at least in part, to a growing number of individuals opting for remote work after the pandemic — which showed that many positions can function and thrive in a remote setting. So, job seekers are opting for flexibility, and searching for roles that highlight their remote options. And according to Hireology’s 2021 Applicant Survey, where we asked nearly 5,000 recent applicants about their job search, 83% of respondents in the automotive industry said they would consider working remotely if given the opportunity.
Additionally, the CEO of Best Buy, Corie Barry, outlined four reasons why they’ve had staffing difficulties, and stated the following regarding retail workers: “At many companies staff members were turned into essential front-line workers overnight, as unlike those in other industries they couldn’t work from home.”
Barry also touched on other prominent reasons it’s difficult to attract and retain retail workers as of late, including child care responsibilities, ongoing health concerns, and more competition from larger companies that have a greater ability to increase wages and benefits.
We saw in the May 2021 BLS Report that the unemployment rate is continuing to tick down, however employers nationwide are struggling to find talent. Dealers and other retail businesses have especially felt the talent scarcity pinch. Combine that with the record level of employee turnover set to occur this year and you could have a full blown human capital dilemma on your hands.
As this summer brings record high temperatures across the country, the war on talent continues to heat up too. The actions dealers take now to attract and retain talent could very well determine whether they are prepared for success in 2022 and beyond.
Here are a few ways you can modify your operations in response to talent demands.
OEMs like Ford and GM are making the switch to remote work and seeing success, but they’re doing more than just not requiring in-person attendance. They’re creating cultures of trust and accountability, allowing for flexibility, and showing that their companies value a good work-life balance. Now is the time for retail auto dealers to follow suit and offer — to the extent possible — the same type of work environment flexibility. That, in turn, will help dealers cultivate the same workplace respect that these OEMS and other large companies will achieve and will drastically alter their applicant pool and retention rates.
It will, of course, take strategy and investment in technology to make operations run smoothly in a hybrid work model, but it will pay off in the long run. And, I bet many dealers across the country already proved during the pandemic they can operate successfully with some staff not in the store, such as BDC and internet sales representatives. To get a good grasp of what it takes to build a successful remote workforce, check out this post.
Up Your Ante
I know I know, another poker term, but it fits.
It can’t be said enough — if you want to attract applicants in an uber-competitive market, you have to remain competitive. The key here is to meet today’s jobseekers where they are. To achieve that, dealers can offer: increased or less variable compensation, work from home opportunities, comprehensive benefits packages, or a combination of the three. You have to set your dealership apart and that takes stepping up in some respects. Otherwise, your talent and applicants will continue to look elsewhere, and they’ll find it, as it’s becoming table stakes (alright, that’s the last poker reference). For as much energy and focus dealers put on meeting their “customers where they’re at,” it’s time to double down and do the same for our prospective employees.
Change Your Tune
The pandemic surprisingly had a positive effect on the retail automotive industry, producing record profits for dealerships nationwide. Now’s the time to capitalize on this messaging by focusing on the stability and resiliency of the market, and show employees and applicants that the industry is full of promise and growth.
Keep in mind that in order to make this message stick, you need to actively work to change the narrative that’s surrounded retail automotive for many years — that is, a place that employs pushy, used-car-salesperson types. But, in order to do that, you have to ensure your employer brand image is in line with what you’re advertising.
Believe it or not, retention starts with your hiring process. Candidates searching for jobs aren’t into the “hot-and-cold” treatment. In fact, our research shows that 63% of applicants in the automotive industry found their most recent job in under a month, so you need to prioritize engagement and speed to secure talent. Top talent in your market could be gone before the inventory shortage ends, so, act now before you see that “dream applicant” on your competitor’s staff page.
And simply posting an ad, won’t cut it. We have to engage jobseekers like we engage sales leads throughout the buying journey. What’s your plan to engage candidates throughout the interview process? How do you deliver a world-class hiring experience? Do you have a structured onboarding program in place that will set your new hires up for success? These are big questions that have a huge impact on retention, and they’re all pain points that Hireology can solve for. Click below and let’s talk about what we can do to help you hire and retain top talent.