Vertical Vantage: Sue Novak, BMW of North America

At Hireology, our goal is to help businesses hire better people faster — that’s it. No matter what industry you’re in, we want to empower you to quickly build your best team possible.

In order to help you hire better, we’re excited for the second installment of our Vertical Vantage series. This blog series is only possible with the participation of our partners, who we’ll be interviewing for their industry-specific insights on hiring. These featured individuals have ample experience in their respective fields, allowing them to give us a vantage view of the tactics they’ve found successful in hiring.

For our second post, we’re honored to feature Sue Novak, Dealer Engagement & Experience Training Manager at BMW of North America. As a retail automotive professional, she acutely knows how the automotive technician labor shortage is impacting dealers across the nation. Read on to learn savvy ways to make your dealership more attractive to applicants and fill your open roles.

Please give us a quick introduction to yourself and your organization.

Hi, I’m Sue Novak, Dealer Engagement & Experience Training Manager at BMW of North America.

What can employers do to make their jobs more attractive to job seekers?

Humans like to be around people who make them happy. The best way to make a job more attractive to a job seeker is to show the candidate what a day in the life is like at your organization. Are you asking your current employees to be a part of the story you tell?  Consider the following:

  • Does the career page on your website tell a story? 
  • Are there real employees talking about what they do and why they love working there? 
  • Is your career site easy to find? 
  • Are you marketing your “employer brand?” 
  • What makes you unique as an employer and why would someone want to work for you?

At the end of the day, you don’t necessarily want your jobs to be attractive to all potential employees — you want them to be attractive to the employees who will be the right fit for your organization.

In your experience, what are job seekers’ top needs outside of pay?

I talk to our dealer management teams a lot about emotional salary; these are the non-financial gains we obtain from working that motivate us, change our perception of work and lead to personal and professional development. There are basically 10 elements of emotional salary — things that are as important, if not more important than the financial salary. These elements include:

  1. Mastery
  2. Inspiration
  3. Professional growth
  4. Personal growth
  5. Autonomy
  6. Creativity
  7. Direction
  8. Enjoyment
  9. Purpose
  10. Belonging

Job seekers are measuring all options through the lens of “How does this potential job meet my emotional salary needs?”

What are some ways to show rather than tell job seekers that you have a great culture?

First, you need to determine how you are meeting the emotional salary needs of your current employees. Once you define that, if you are able to incorporate those things that your brand represents into your story, you’ll begin to attract candidates who believe what you believe. This means — to quote Simon Sinek — “they will work for you with blood, sweat, and tears.” Testimonials and/or video clips of your employees in their day to day, having fun, giving back to the community are all great ways to show that you have a great culture. Let the candidates hear from your employees why they love working for your organization. After all, a picture speaks a thousand words.

Our research shows that job seekers today want meaningful work. Can you talk more about how to offer meaningful work in industries where the work really isn’t glamorous?

Let’s start with what meaningful work means. I believe it means that people want to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to live a purpose-filled life which means they want to do work that has purpose. They want to understand how the things they do contribute to the bigger picture and how, together with your organization, they are making the community around them a better place. All jobs have the capacity to have a positive impact on the community they are in. Define that and you can begin to demonstrate how the opportunities you have can provide meaningful work for potential candidates.

What advice do you have for getting even more out of your employee referral program? Or expanding the idea of what a referral program is?

It’s no secret that if someone loves where they work, they will take pride and recommend their workplace to others. Think about restaurant reviews — if you love a restaurant and have a great experience, you tell your family and friends about it, encouraging them to try it as well. The same goes for employment. If you have created an environment that is a great place to work, your employees will want to tell their family and friends about it. When you add a structured employee referral program to the mix, you’ll encourage your employees to refer like-minded individuals for open positions at your organization. A structured employee referral program will also support those emotional salary elements we discussed earlier; you are rewarding your employees for “giving back” in the form of a referral. Those hired through employee referrals are also typically fast learners and tend to produce faster results while staying longer. Your employees are more likely to refer people who will be a good reflection on them, so chances are you are getting someone who comes with the values you are looking for in an employee.

“You don’t necessarily want your jobs to be attractive to ALL potential employees, you want your jobs to be attractive to the employees who will be the right ‘fit’ for your organization.”

Other than financial compensation, the modern job seeker isn’t looking for just an acceptable salary — applicants want an emotional salary that fulfills their need for purpose. By following the advice Sue outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to adding the right talent at the right time to your team.

Want to build a great employer brand? Download the Employment Branding Checklist to get started!



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