When it comes to building a successful career, the automotive industry offers a plethora of opportunities for growth and advancement — which is great news for dealerships struggling to attract and retain talent.
In our 2023 State of Automotive Hiring Report, we found that opportunity for career growth was the most important factor when job seekers were looking for a new role, only behind salary. Automotive dealerships are dynamic workplaces that require a diverse set of skills and expertise, making them ideal environments for employees who want to grow and develop professionally in the industry.
In this blog post, we will explore some valuable insights and practical steps to help you build a rewarding career path for your workers to continue growing their automotive careers.
- Define goals
Before creating career paths at your dealership, it’s crucial to define some common goals and aspirations that your workers might have in the future. You can create these by speaking directly with your staff; not only will you be able to create more realistic career paths for them, but they’ll surely appreciate the opportunity to have a direct influence on their future. Pinpoint different areas in sales, management, or service that employees could use as milestones in their career growth. Outline how different strengths and weaknesses could play into developing a customized automotive career and encourage your employees to align their ideal career paths with their passion, which will help drive their motivation and overall satisfaction.
- Map out automotive career paths for all types of roles
Ultimately, your workers should be able to pick from a variety of career paths so that they can follow where their passions lie. As you know, there are many different types of careers available at any given dealership; the key here is to clearly paint a picture for your staff of the roles available to them. You’ll need to lay out the roles in your vehicle sales, technical service, body shop, parts, and clerical departments, along with how the different positions are connected. There should be a literal progression from one role to the next; these automotive career maps should also have definitions for each of the individual roles and what’s required to get to the next position so employees can visually see where they’re at, what they have to learn, and what experience they need to get to the next level in their career.
- Provide opportunities for learning and development
In an ever-evolving industry like automotive, staying ahead of the curve is essential. To help your employees build a successful automotive career, make it a priority to offer opportunities for learning and development year-round. Part of your responsibility as a dealership is to keep up with the latest industry trends, so distribute information that you learn from workshops and relevant training programs when you can. Better yet, help your employees connect with these opportunities themselves! If you know of certifications, training programs, or other industry events that will enhance your workers’ skill-sets, set aside money from your annual budget to pay for your workers’ registration, travel costs, and lodging if necessary. Make these opportunities as accessible as possible for your staff so they know that you’re committed to their professional development.
- Create a mentorship program
One of the most valuable resources in any career journey is the wisdom and expertise of more experienced professionals. Provide workers with the opportunity to connect with mentors within your dealership who can provide guidance and support. This allows workers to learn from their more experienced colleagues, allowing them to hone both their skills needed in their current roles and help those who are interested in moving departments. Now, to make sure this tactic is effective, your Human Resources department needs to facilitate the pairing process rather than trusting that workers will be able to establish these relationships by themselves. You should also build out the structure of the program so there are clear expectations for both parties on what will happen in this mentoring relationship.
- Set milestones and evaluate progress
Building a career path requires setting milestones and regularly evaluating their progress. Define short-term and long-term goals and create a timeline for employees to track their achievements. Regularly assess their performance, give them the chance to reflect on lessons learned, and adjust their career plans accordingly. Stay flexible and adaptable to changes within the industry, and advise workers to be willing to pivot their goals if necessary.
Building a successful automotive career path requires a combination of strategic planning, continuous learning, and relationship-building. By helping your employees define their goals, seek opportunities for growth, and embrace continuous improvement, you can help them navigate the ever-evolving industry landscape with confidence.
The automotive industry is brimming with potential, and by following these steps, you’ll be one step closer to meeting your staffing needs. To learn more about what the modern automotive employee wants, download our 2023 State of Automotive Hiring Report today!