We know that bad hires greatly impact the culture of your company, but the customer experience is also at risk with every hiring mistake. With an increased reliance on technology across the retail automotive industry, some things, like the human experience, can get lost in translation. Hiring talent based on their qualifications or understanding of tech platforms as opposed to vetting candidates for soft skills first can create a transactional relationship among customers rather than an inviting one.
If much of the purchasing process can be handled online, what makes your dealership attractive to customers? Your people are the differentiator, and attracting employees that welcome and engage with customers will make your dealership the preferred option.
Here are some ways to attract and hire talent that will add value to the human experience at your dealership.
Evaluate your culture
To attract great employees, you have to have a great place to work. Think about how your employees engage with each other. Do your employees treat each other with respect and inclusion? Is there a sense of family at your dealership? Do people look forward to coming to work? These are the makings of a great company culture, and without this foundation, you’ll have a much harder time recruiting employees to your business.
If you do struggle with any of these areas, changes should be made. After all, your employer brand affects your customer perception even if they’re not directly involved, so your company culture is critical on all fronts.
Start by talking with your leadership team to address where adjustments need to be made, and how to go about it. When everyone’s come to an understanding, hold an all-company meeting to align your employees on the expectations of your dealership. Continue to evaluate progress and adjust your strategy as needed.
Shadow your employees
When an employee goes through training at your dealership, their hiring manager or trainer likely listens to their first several conversations with customers in order to ensure they are presenting your brand correctly and treating the customer well. This shouldn’t stop after their first month if you’re hoping to improve the human experience.
At Hireology, our SVP of revenue sporadically listens in on customer calls with sales representatives to offer guidance and improve customer satisfaction. It’s a helpful tool that when done right and respectfully, can be used to propel your business forward, close more sales, and improve the human experience.
Hire for soft skills
We often talk about the importance of hiring for soft skills rather than a long list of experience because it truly makes the difference, especially when attempting to recruit talent in today’s labor market. With such an imbalance between automotive labor supply and demand, you should encourage applicants who aren’t seasoned automotive professionals to join your dealership. This doesn’t mean you should hire just anyone — look for individuals who are eager to learn, demonstrate drive, and are passionate about improving the customer experience.
Observe individuals in interviews and evaluate them on their people skills. Listen to how they talk about past careers, and what they’re looking for in their next role. The interview can be very telling if you ask the right questions; you’ll be able to see if someone will be a great employee to work with and for your customers to engage with.
Invest in diversity
Hiring diverse staff is not optional, especially when trying to create a welcoming environment for all customers. There are loads of business benefits to hiring a diverse staff as well — including a more efficient and innovative team — so take a look at how you’re recruiting diverse candidates.
Do your job descriptions use neutral language? Is your facility accessible to those with disabilities? Do you require internships or a college degree in roles where it’s not absolutely necessary? Are you actively engaging with diverse candidates and ensuring everyone is given equal consideration for your open roles? Addressing these considerations can put you on a better path to hiring more inclusively.
Train your new hires and your veterans
Training shouldn’t end after a month or two. To build a business of progress, you have to consistently give your employees the tools to improve, and training is an essential piece of the puzzle. We don’t recommend packets or courses that offer no new value, but interactive and well thought out training programs can equip your staff with the right knowledge to provide a better experience.
In line with training is mentorship opportunities and extended learning programs. Offering these types of skill development can keep your staff growing, which helps retention, too. Setting your employees up with a career path or discussing and looking into growth opportunities will keep your staff happy, motivated, and around longer.
Purchase smart software
While technological advancements in the automotive industry are designed to make your staff’s lives easier, they truly can alter the human experience that your customers expect from your dealership. Choose wisely when it comes to which processes you automate, and make sure you’re solving, not creating, customer and employee pain points.
According to the Deloitte Global Automotive Consumer Study, the top issue that customers have with dealerships is the amount of paperwork required. This is a great process to automate and condense with the proper technology, while replacing the helpfulness of a human with a purchasing kiosk may risk losing the human touch.
Another example of a great process to automate is your recruitment process. Manually combing through application after application benefits no one, so give your HR team time back to focus on your employees. With an automated hiring process, you can even hire employees up to eight days faster and save thousands on advertising your job postings.
Talk with your team, identify your most manual processes, and survey your customers to find out where investing in software makes sense before purchasing the newest technology.
Prioritizing the human experience at your dealership will give you a leg up to your competition, so hire individuals that demonstrate excellent people skills, a willingness to develop, and a hunger to drive forward, and you’ll have a dealership worth raving about.
Want to see how Hireology can transform your dealership’s recruitment and hiring strategy? Request a demo here.