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Category Archive: Hiring Strategies

Adam Robinson

Are Your People Driving Profit? Understanding Critical HR Benchmarks

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While turnover rates continue to be higher than average in the auto industry, a dealership’s ability to understand the components of its hiring process will unlock critical insights that help to increase profit and identify roadblocks that deter quality hires.

For example, the longer an open position goes unfulfilled, particularly in a sales role, the more productivity is disrupted. The average dealership takes seven days to review a new job application. By the time a dealership gets around to contacting a potential candidate, they are usually already in talks with another employer. Our research has shown that the fastest company response tends to win the candidate—70 percent of new hire applications were reviewed in the first 12 hours after submission, and 82 percent of all hires were considered within 24 hours. If the average dealership is waiting a week to review candidates, how many of them are still quality leads?

Not only does an efficient hiring process help fill vacant roles by 37 percent (or 16 days) faster than the national average, it can also help a dealership secure top talent in the industry before its competition.

As you analyze your dealership’s current approach, consider the following components of an efficient and effective process:

Define the role

Rather than remain focused on what your dealership needs, find out where ideal candidates are already working and the work culture and environment to which they are accustomed. For example, are there opportunities to grow and learn in your open role, or do you need someone seasoned who requires less training? Once you determine the position, you can better identify if your opportunity is robust enough to attract the right fit.

Source candidates

A dedicated company career site (or landing page on your dealership website) is the best way to attract candidates by providing them with enticing, relevant information on your business, available positions, and what makes your organization a great place to work. These goals are best accomplished by applying the same mentality of consumer advertising to your employment advertising. What’s more, dealerships only review about 72 percent of total applicants, but all applications should be examined, prioritized, and responded to.

Select a quality applicant

While this is often the piece of the process that tends to break down the most in the auto industry, it is important to carefully select the right candidate. Be sure to give multiple people in your company an opportunity to weigh in on the decision, which also provides the candidate with multiple perspectives of what the job will entail. A candidate’s competencies should be identified, and the team should determine which ones can be transferred over, and what will require additional training.

Verify backgrounds

While typically an overlooked step in the process, verification helps mitigate your risk. Be sure to confirm a candidate can do what they say they are capable of, and whether or not they have done so previously, by speaking with references. Background checks should also be performed to see if the candidate makes good choices and is a good member of society. As the person who will be interacting with your customers, be sure their values align with yours.

Onboard efficiently

Typically, the first day of a new job is filled with paperwork and logistics. Utilize technology to take care of as much paperwork as possible ahead of time, showing your new employee you have already made an investment in them. This approach will, in turn, raise their enthusiasm and investment in your dealership and their new position.

Applications should be reviewed immediately, candidates should be contacted in a timely fashion, and the overall hiring time should remain relatively short.

Once your process has been developed, it is important to measure its success against industry benchmarks to ensure your team and hiring managers see it through. An efficient process in a vacuum doesn’t do your dealership any good, so keeping your team accountable is crucial.

If a hiring manager is taking too long to reach out to candidates to facilitate the recruitment process, that delay has the potential to impact not only a candidate’s interest in the position but their opinion of the company overall. This delay can also result in a loss of potential business from the candidates as customers down the road, or loss of new consumer leads when they share their experience with their family and friends.

Your managers should include the hiring process in their regular discussions on how to improve sales and strategies, keeping their finger on the pulse of who may be at risk for leaving, how to best prepare for those situations, and how to continue actually shaping the team.

A successful hiring process will not only benefit your company but also your customer. While dealerships have little control over the make and models of the cars they sell, and many dealerships are offering the same products, the customer experience is one of the few factors you CAN influence, making the hiring process just as critical to the success of your company as the client experience. Maintaining an efficient recruitment process will ensure your employees continue driving your profit.

Thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing their guidance on attracting and managing millennial employees. Learn more about Hireology and join NCM’s experts for more actionable advice on hiring the best people for your team in our Hiring Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plans classes.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/06/are-your-people-driving-profit-understanding-critical-hr-benchmarks/

Adam Robinson

Will Graduating Millennials Want to Work for Your Dealership?

Diverse International Students Celebrating Graduation Concept

In just a few short weeks, countless new college graduates will be entering the workforce, actively seeking job opportunities in a variety of industries and positions. In fact, during the 2016-17 school year, colleges and universities are projected to award nearly 4 million degrees.

This surge in the candidate pool will be made up largely of millennials, who come with their own set of expectations and needs from an employer. This means they will be vetting potential companies just as much as they are being vetted. Will your dealership look attractive to them?

Unlike their predecessors, millennials are interested in working with companies they feel a connection to, that will give them a sense of purpose. They also want to know there will be room for advancement within the company throughout their career and place value on flexibility and a steady income.

Here are some key elements your dealership can focus on to help ensure it stands out to top-tier prospective employees:

Employer Branding

Now a requirement for grabbing the attention of today’s top talent, employer branding reflects a company’s reputation as an employer and how great a place it is to work. Because millennials are looking past the paycheck for enterprises they feel align with their values, it is important your dealership has a good reputation with both your customers and employees.

You can give potential employees an understanding of your company’s message through your website’s career page, which should contain details of your business beyond the typical description. Let prospective candidates know how your dealership is involved in the community, what initiatives are on the horizon, and highlight special perks of the job. Take it a step further and be active on your social media platforms, spreading your dealership’s message to your audience and encouraging them to do the same. Fostering a healthy work environment will also make your employees more likely to share the positives of working for you on their own, lending further credibility to prospective candidates.

Pay Plans

Millennials today are not fans of the traditional commission-based payment models dealerships have employed for decades, instead wanting a consistent, guaranteed income. The pay plan must be worth their while financially to appeal to millennials. Rather than an “all or nothing” approach to sales, dealerships are encouraged to consider offering a starting salary with bonuses along the way. Employees will be able to enjoy peace of mind, which results in an increased chance of your dealership retaining them for a longer period. What’s more, the customer experience improves because the salesperson focuses less on making the sale and more on genuinely meeting client needs.

Dealerships that have recognized the changing landscape, and reacted accordingly, have seen positive results for both their employees and customers. The elimination of the pressure to make a sale has allowed for a more relaxed approach to interacting with the client. Sensing the shift in salesmanship, customer loyalty and trust in the dealership tends to improve as a result.

Career Fairs

We highly recommend that dealerships attend, and even host, career fairs to become top of mind for upcoming graduates. By making students aware of their options before graduation, potential candidates can begin looking at your dealership and taking the necessary steps to be ready for employment consideration as soon as they earn their degree. Through hosting and attending these fairs, your management team will have the valuable opportunity to meet potential candidates in person right away, allowing for informational interviews that can save time and money on a formal vetting process when these candidates are ready to apply.

Career fairs save you time because rather than waiting until after graduation to begin the tedious job search, spending countless hours on cover letters and filling out applications, the right candidates can go directly to your dealership first, providing you with a larger pool for consideration in a shorter amount of time.

Internship Programs

Implementing internship programs at your dealership has a number of benefits, including the ability to test drive the talent, increased productivity, and an increased employee retention rate. Not only will your dealership be front and center for a new graduate, but you will also have the time to train and mold a potential employee long before he or she is ready for full-time employment, giving both the employee and your dealership a head start. This approach saves money and time in bringing a new hire up to speed and helps ingrain a prospective employee into your team and culture ahead of time, allowing them to hit the ground running once officially employed.

Internship programs can be tailored to your company requirements, ensuring you train students for positions your dealership may need most, using the strategies and tactics that translate into results for your demographic and marketplace.

By placing emphasis on what millennials are looking for from potential employers, your dealership can become a prime target for the fresh wave of college graduates polishing their resumes this summer, giving you the opportunity to not only attract the right talent for your team but also to retain them for years to come.

Thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing their guidance on attracting and managing millennial employees. Learn more about Hireology and join NCM’s experts for more actionable advice on hiring the best people for your team in our Hiring Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plans classes.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/05/will-graduating-millennials-want-to-work-for-your-dealership/

NCM Associates

#AskNCM: Three Simple Solutions to Employee Retention

Employee retention is an ongoing challenge, particularly in the automotive industry, and we receive lots of questions about this hot topic. Given that 80% of dealership employees churn within 18 months, retention is clearly something we need to address.

NCM expert Robin Cunningham explains the three elements to improve employee retention in this new #AskNCM video. And, while pay plans play a role in keeping good people, it’s not quite as important as you may think.

Have another question for Robin or the other #AskNCM experts? Leave a comment below!

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/05/askncm-three-simple-solutions-to-employee-retention/

Adam Robinson

Employee Turnover is Killing Your Dealership

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The auto industry has dealt with a number of changes in recent years, largely in response to new spending habits and expectations of millennials both as consumers and employees. While dealerships have made great strides in connecting with this new generation of consumers, many businesses are still in need of significant improvement to retain their employees. In fact, the employee turnover rate within the industry is currently at an average of 67 percent according to the NADA Dealership Workforce Study, correlating to an industry loss of billions of dollars annually with the average dealership suffering an average of half a million dollars lost each year.

An issue half a decade in the making

This decline in employee retention has been steady since 2011, with the average sales position lasting a little over two years, according to the NADA, compared to nearly four years ago when the study began. Furthermore, data showed that while only 45 percent of dealerships had an average retention rate of three or more years; that number fell to about 33 percent when looking exclusively at those in sales positions. The private sector, by comparison, reported an average of 67 percent retention for the same amount of time.

Not surprisingly, the best-in-class dealerships with the highest revenue and profitability also suffer the lowest turnover rates. What’s more, dealerships across the board seem to be notably lacking at hiring and retaining women, with less than 20 percent of the workforce made up of women in 2015.

Another factor accounting for the loss in dealership employee retention is the changing landscape for consumers. Instead of going into a dealership and meeting with a salesperson when looking for a new car, customers are now spending up to 11 hours researching online and less than four hours inside a dealership speaking with a representative. With significantly fewer trips to a dealership, the salesperson has less of an opportunity to interact with, and push product on, customers. This new lack of negotiation skills, however, provides dealerships with the opportunity to hire a more diverse, and perhaps qualified, pool of candidates.

Retention issues impact sales

The employee retention rates not only cost dealerships a monetary loss in the form of search and training expenses but ultimately result in lost vehicle sales due to inexperienced sales staff and a lack of continuity with customers.

According to AlignMark Corporation, there are four main categories to help employers quantify the expense associated with employee turnover:

  • Separation – unemployment compensation, exit interview costs, etc.
  • Replacement – advertising, pre-employment testing, time, and materials
  • Training – time and effort required to bring new hires up to speed
  • Productivity – lapse in morale and production, as well as low-quality output

How to find the right employees

By 2020, millennials are expected to make up 40 percent of all new-vehicle buyers. Millennials also now form the majority of the workforce and currently account for 60 percent of new dealership hires, making it critical to maintain a focus on retaining this demographic to keep dealership floors stocked with quality salespeople. Millennials, however, dislike the conventional dealership commission-based compensation and instead prefer salaried positions with more steady income and advancement opportunities. This makes it difficult for many dealerships to retain their new hires, requiring those in hiring positions to reevaluate the interview process and hiring strategies altogether.

According to ESI Trends, common mistakes dealerships should avoid during the hiring process include:

  • Hiring quickly out of desperation
  • Hiring someone after just one interview with one person at the dealership
  • Overselling the position’s earning potential
  • Not trying to impress the recruit

Some additional best practices dealerships should consider to boost retention include:

  • Keeping job descriptions updated with the most relevant, accurate information
  • Implementing a business development center to funnel sales leads to salespeople
  • Offering creative compensation in addition to stable base wages
  • Providing a career growth and professional development plan

By switching to more base-waged positions with bonuses, dealerships make room for employees to meet customer needs versus negotiating the best price for the dealership. Dealerships that take things a step further and create a career path for their employees will significantly increase employee retention rates, especially for today’s millennial who places priority on career advancement.

The auto industry has recognized there is a problem in its employee retention and has taken steps to improve retention rates. However, there is still a long way to go in creating the industry culture and offerings to not only attract today’s top talent but to keep them there for the long haul. Until then, employee retention will continue to wage a significant toll on your dealership and the industry as a whole.

Thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing their guidance on attracting and managing millennial employees. Learn more about Hireology and join NCM’s experts for more actionable advice on hiring the best people for your team in our Hiring Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plans classes.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/04/employee-turnover-is-killing-your-dealership/

Brandiss Drummer

Employee Retention: Why Just Having a Pay Plan Won’t Work

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The automotive industry faces some unique challenges managing people, as evidenced by an average dealership turnover of 40.5%, with some positions, such as sales consultants, reaching up to 67%. Also, over 42% of dealership personnel are classified as millennials, whose turnover rate exceeds the average at 52%. In black and white terms, the average dealership will spend half a million dollars a year in turnover costs.

Retention problems are personal

I’ve heard of many approaches to combat retention issues in automotive. Some dealers recommend defining a career path and creating stability through a pay plan. Others point to providing a work-life balance or empowering people to make their own decisions. While all of these points are valid, I prefer to concentrate on a singular approach: relationship.

There are two reasons why I think all roads lead to relationship building: 1) perks are easy to find, and 2) one-size-fits-all solutions don’t work.

Perks are replaceable

First, let’s look at perks. If we’re honest, even the best benefits package is easily replaced. And there are a lot of businesses out there offering flexible schedules, bonuses, and other benefits. That’s the problem with focusing on material things: Your great employee could jump to the next job as soon as there is a better offer!

Everyone is different

Secondly, focusing on specific items like pay plans or flexible schedules leads to a “one size fits all” solution. But each employee has different ideas of what is important to them. For example, it may be vital to Betty that she works in a job where she gets weekly feedback on her performance. However, for Mark, that may make him feel micro-managed. Mark may prefer to have more autonomy, which makes him feel trusted and important.

Relationship building with each of our employees ensures that we are giving them what they need as individuals. Perks can be replaced, but it’s hard to replace a person you genuinely believe cares about you.

Think about it like a marriage. There is always someone out there who may have just a little bit more in this one area than your spouse, but they can never replace the feeling of someone who knows and loves you, the relationship that you have built with your partner over the years. This is the reason why factors such as “I have a best friend at work” and “my supervisor seems to care about me at work” show up on the Gallup study on positive business outcomes, “First, Break all the Rules.”

Building better relationships

So what can you do today to start building or cementing your relationships with your people?

  1. Recurring, one-on-one meetings. Take this time to get to know your employee. Let them lead the first part of the meeting, and be sure to ask questions about things going on at work, as well as significant events in their personal life. The point is to make them feel comfortable around you so that they will open up and you can get to know them. The key is consistency. Set up recurring meetings in your Outlook calendar and try your best not to cancel or move them. By keeping to the schedule, you will demonstrate their importance to you.
  2. Keep track of personal information for each of your employees. This was a great tip I got from one of my mentors. He kept a memo on his phone of important dates for each employee, such as their birthday, work anniversary, and wedding anniversary. He also stored information he learned in his casual conversations with them, such as favorite food, hobbies, children, interests, etc. This information became very helpful to give personalized gifts, or to help personalize the conversation in their one-on-one meeting.
  3. Be relatable. Relationships are two-sided, and your employees want to know you are human, too. Share things you have going on in your life with your employees, when appropriate. And remember, the old-school way of being the “stoic” manager doesn’t work anymore. It is OK to share concerns or stressors that you have, as long as you do so in a way that still conveys stability and competence.

For the skeptics, I am not entirely idealistic. I know that retention starts with hiring the right person in the first place. I also realize that you can’t win them all and that some factors go beyond a relationship. However, I genuinely believe that when you build a healthy relationship with your employees, the other more tangible factors, such as flexible schedules and professional development, will become more effective. As Simon Sinek says, build a great relationship with your people, and they will believe what you believe. They’ll work for you with their blood, sweat, and tears.

For more information on retention and great leadership, attend our Leadership Program in June.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/03/employee-retention-why-just-having-a-pay-plan-wont-work/

Adam Robinson

Should Your Dealership Host a Career Fair?

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Dealerships need bright and eager employees to fill their fixed operations and sales departments. Hosting a career fair at your dealership is a great way to find the right candidates and an opportunity to let them know about the benefits of working for you. While you may think career fairs are an anachronism, these events can deliver fantastic results—for example, AutoNation successfully held over 15 annual job fairs in cities across the country in 2016.

AutoNation was not alone in this endeavor. Hoehn Motors, an Audi dealership in Temecula, Calif., along with Charlie Clark Nissan in El Paso, Texas, conducted career fairs of their own in the last couple months. Each of these dealerships reported results that met or exceeded their expectations.

Dealerships must focus on ways to better attract millennials. The current pool of potential employees is largely made up of this incoming generation, who range in age from 18 to 34 years old. Fewer members of Generation X, who are between the ages of 35 and 54 years old, are seeking jobs at dealerships, and those in the Baby Boomer generation are beginning to retire.

In 2015, the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that employers attended an average of 31 career fairs. The youngest millennials are still currently college students, and they frequently show up to career fairs held at their campuses just to see what options are out there.

A career fair has two benefits: First, it allows your dealership to meet several potential job candidates in a short amount of time. Second, it gives candidates an inside look at how your dealership operates and the overall culture of the workplace. Sales managers, service managers, and other high-ranking employees can speak candidly with attendees about all aspects of their respective jobs, make a lasting impression, and collect resumes. The purpose is to inform job seekers about the careers and the positions available at your dealership and how they can fit into the broader picture.

Career Fairs Still Matter

Job seekers attend career fairs because they’re useful for plotting a career path. It’s possible your fair attendees are just there to find out about dealership culture and if it aligns with their current ideals and lifestyle goals; this is your chance to engage potential candidates and let them know about the day-to-day operations and responsibilities they would have to take on.

Career fairs are also networking magnets. People show up not only to meet with potential employers but also to network with each other. This networking creates a dynamic atmosphere where candidates and employees are mixing and building rapport. Relationships can pay dividends when an applicant is deciding whether or not to apply somewhere.

How to Prepare for Hosting a Career Fair

Much of the advice for job seekers attending career fairs applies to the hosts as well.

  • Be ready to introduce yourself: Have a concise statement ready about your dealership and the opportunities available. It’s likely that the job seeker is looking for work at other companies, including dealerships, so make sure you put your best foot forward.
  • Always maintain your enthusiasm: Make that job seeker feel like you want them there. Be warm, conversational, and engaging so that he or she feels comfortable.
  • Follow-up with the people you meet: After the conversation has ended, jot down a quick note about that person on their resume or business card so that you can recall them from the many faces you met at the career fair. If you’re interested in bringing that person in for an interview, they will feel a personal connection in your follow-up email or phone call.

Plan Your Career Fair

Your career fair will require some planning that will include a budget for venue space, marketing, printed materials, food, and more. You will also need to determine who from the dealership will attend the fair and whether job seeker registration is required.

Should your dealership host a career fair?  Yes—but you need to plan properly if you’re going to achieve success. If you want to try a career fair on for size, attend one at a local college or chamber of commerce where other companies also have booths set up. Study how the process works and see if you are interested in holding one of your own. Once you create an atmosphere for job seekers to come to you, then you can sit back and watch the applicants stack up.

Thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing their guidance on attracting and managing millennial employees. Learn more about Hireology and join NCM’s experts for more actionable advice on hiring the best people for your team in our Hiring Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plans classes.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/03/should-your-dealership-host-a-career-fair/

Adam Robinson

Recruiting Strategies to Attract Millennials

Business people waiting for job interview

By the year 2020, the U.S. workforce will be comprised almost entirely of millennials. What’s more, Generation Y is projected to account for 30 percent of new vehicle sales in 2016, and that number could double next year.

Millennials are much more apt to make a purchase from—or develop brand loyalty to—a company with whom they identify and are even more trusting of purchases from employees who are like them. As a result, companies must now clearly communicate their viewpoints and company culture to potential millennial customers, and perhaps most importantly, employ individuals who connect with that target audience.

Unlike previous generations, millennials care more about fulfillment from their careers and evaluate potential jobs on a number of factors that can cater to this need. To retain these workers, organizations must tailor internal positions and programs to meet the needs of this growing workforce demographic. Also, recruitment strategies must be updated accordingly, to attract the best candidates effectively.

Companies must first identify what millennials want. Here are key traits of what they look for in potential jobs, and how that plays a role in the recruitment process.

What Does Millennial Recruitment Mean for Dealerships?

The dealership model has been in play for decades with little to no change. But these days, millennials want to work for a company that is not only profitable but making a difference in society and providing them with perks that will fit into their personal lives. Millennial needs from employers include:

Income Reliability

Due to the challenges of making large student loan payments and covering basic living expenses, millennials as a demographic are not interested in a commission-based position where pay is unreliable. Rather, they are interested in a base pay plan that gives them the confidence of a guaranteed stream of income. In the auto industry, providing base salary positions in lieu of commission will not only attract better talent but can provide a better customer experience, as well.

Work Flexibility

Fewer millennials today believe in the 9-to-5 workday but prefer instead the flexibility to integrate their personal and professional lives. In an interview with Forbes, Chief Strategy Officer for the Intelligence Group Jamie Gutfreund stated that 88 percent of millennials consider how a potential job will cater to their work-life balance. While it may seem more challenging to provide scheduling flexibility in your dealership, there are a number of options that can work for your organization. Examples include running two shifts—9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.—and perks such as giving every other weekend off.  Some innovative dealerships have even moved to a “four days on, three days off” format where sales associates work four ten-hour workdays.

Clear Job Titles and Descriptions

Job descriptions and position titles must be updated for the millennial audience, highlighting the aspects that will fulfill their wants and needs. Outside of salaries and benefits, millennials are looking for a job with a higher purpose—one that makes them feel fulfilled. As a result, they are interested in companies focused on helping solve problems in society.

In addition, because millennials are still relatively early on in their careers, they want job titles and responsibilities to outline the scope of the work clearly. They are interested in learning as much as they can to advance in their careers and want to know if a company is willing to invest in them through ongoing training and development programs.

Lastly, when placing job openings online, be sure to use concise keywords and descriptors that your target audience will most likely type into search engines when looking for open positions to help better connect you with ideal candidates.

Consistent Communication

In addition to clear communication of job responsibilities, millennials are interested in real-time feedback on the job. Because they appreciate knowing where they stand, along with the opportunity to consistently learn, maintain engagement with them by providing periodic, consistent check-ins as opposed to an annual review.

A Bigger Picture

As mentioned, millennials consider a number of factors from a potential position so as to feel fulfilled, maintain a work-life balance, continue career advancement and align with a company’s values. In exchange for their productivity and devotion, millennials are looking at what a company can offer them not just in monetary compensation, but how a job will fit into their overall life and society.

Once you’ve successfully recruited top talent, it becomes imperative that your dealership retains that employee. This is a particular challenge with the Gen Y employee. In fact, according to a recent 2016 Gallup report, 21 percent of millennials have changed jobs within the past year—more than three times the number of other generations. This turnover is estimated to cost the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually.

One of the biggest complaints millennials have is a lack of opportunities to move their career paths forward. One explanation for this is a company’s preference to hire externally rather than promote from within. Hiring from within is more cost efficient and provides your millennial employees the chance to further engage with, and invest in, your company.

Tailoring recruitment strategies to attract top talent to your workforce, and providing them with ongoing opportunities for advancement and support, will help ensure your millennial employees will connect with your company and provide loyalty and dedication for years to come.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/12/recruiting-strategies-to-attract-millennials/

Adam Robinson

How to Hire the Most Important Sales Role in Your Dealership: Service Advisors

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There is no question that a successful dealership has both skilled technicians and knowledgeable salespeople to maintain profit margins. But an oft-overlooked—and equally (or arguably even more) important—component is the service advisor.

When people take their cars to a dealership, the service advisor is the first face they see. The service advisor quarterbacks the entire service experience and serves as the critical link between the customer and the work. This dynamic means service advisors have a heavy influence on customer experience, which can either keep them coming back or drive them away.

While a basic understanding of how cars work is essential to helping the customer navigate their needs, communication skills are even more crucial in ensuring the customer has a positive experience and feels confident about the work and service your dealership provides. Critical conversations had between the advisor and customer include such topics as explaining invoices, deciphering warranty coverage, explaining necessary or suggested additional repairs and providing the customer with updates on the progress of the work. All these conversations require someone with good people skills as well as excellent car skills.

Here are the key elements I recommend to identify quality service advisor candidates and how to hire them.

Recognize the Traits of a Solid Service Advisor

As mentioned above, a service advisor is the first face your customer sees and the person with whom they communicate the most, if not exclusively, throughout their service experience. A good service advisor should possess the following traits:

Mechanical Knowledge and Ability to Articulate – Because the service advisor is the one to communicate with the customer from start to finish, it is important they understand the industry enough to be able to answer questions, suggest options and explain the process to a customer who may otherwise be unfamiliar with the work needed or performed. Additionally, the service advisor should be able to relay the information without overusing technical jargon, making it simple for every customer to follow and understand.
People Skills – The service advisor should have the ability to read and adapt to different customers’ communication preferences: some like a plethora of details while others prefer to be in and out. The service advisor must also possess good listening skills to clearly understand what the customer needs or wants and be able to relay that information correctly to the technicians doing the work.
Integrity – In addition to communicating information between customers and technicians, service advisors have a responsibility to provide the client with accurate information that is in their best interest, instead of using every interaction as an opportunity to upsell extra work. A service advisor with honesty and integrity will quickly earn the confidence of your customers, ensuring they look to your dealership as a trusted place of business, returning for additional needs and sending friends and family your way. Also, a good service advisor will provide updates or call customers back in a timely fashion, keeping them looped in every step of the way

Things to Consider When Hiring a Solid Service Advisor

Now that you know what to look for in a service advisor, there some factors to keep in mind when considering hiring one. For starters, consider how your dealership and employment brand will appeal to women candidates. Half of your customers are women, so having at least one female service advisor on staff will help you better connect with that demographic. Consider advertising the job with a title other than “service advisor,” so as to appeal to a larger number of applicants. Alternate titles can include customer service representative, service secretary or customer service associate. While technical knowledge is beneficial, you might consider advertising the position with “no experience required” to welcome applicants who have all the other necessary skills without potential bad habits that will require much more aggressive retraining to break. Lastly, consider the number of service advisors your dealership needs to meet demand to give your customers the full attention and service required.

Benefits of a Solid Service Advisor

Hiring the right individual for a service advisor position will yield lasting benefits, including an increase in repair order count, CSI and owner retention. It will also increase your technicians’ productivity, resulting in a boost of customer loyalty.

A service advisor typically touches a customer five times more than a sales person, making proper candidates for this position a crucial component for your dealership’s success. As new car sales are expected to plateau or decline next year, a stable of high-quality service advisors will keep your customers coming in for repairs and services. Preparing for 2017 means staffing up with skilled service advisors who can create a lasting, positive impact.

Thanks to NCM Associates’ content partner, Hireology, for sharing the guidance on employee referral programs. Learn more about Hireology. And join NCM’s experts for more actionable advice for hiring the best people for your team in our Hiring Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plans classes.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/11/how-to-hire-the-most-important-sales-role-in-your-dealership-service-advisors/

Alisha Stewart

Embracing the #hashtag Generation: How to Retain Talented Millennials in the Workplace

Coffee Girl

Millennials get a bad rap. We’re called loud and opinionated, lazy and entitled … the list goes on. And employers seem wary of hiring us, especially given reports about our low-loyalty, making it hard to find the right job. As a Millennial employee, I have experienced the backlash of these assumptions, but I think a lot of our negative press misses the point: Our opinions may challenge your dealership, but we want to bring our passion for change and innovation to the workplace!

And it’s going to happen. The truth is that we are the future of business, and by 2020 Millennials will make up 50% of the world’s workforce. Here are a few suggestions I have to help your dealership retain your talented Millennial employees and embrace the cutting edge ideas that they bring with them.

Pay us fairly and give us room to grow

Fair pay and growth opportunities are paramount to the retention of Millennials. As a group, we expect to progress in your company —and achieve leadership roles—faster than Gen X or older groups. When we don’t achieve this, we leave. A business’s failure to offer advancement results in costly and constant turnover. While it may seem that easy to take the cheaper route, there are many employers out there that will provide fair compensation and clear career path, and Millennials are eager to find them.

Embrace social media in all aspects of business

We all know that Millennials live their life online. Whether you’re looking to hire or looking to engage, I can’t stress enough the use of online tools that are available to you, and 99% of them are free! Let your employees write for the company newsletter or blog. Use LinkedIn and Indeed to recruit talent. Post employee recognition or business events on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Other ideas include purchasing a custom Snapchat filter for company parties and hosting a weekly vlog on YouTube. The options are truly endless, and they all help your Millennial employee feel engaged with your dealership!

Allow us to use our voice

I’d say that Millennials have a deep desire or, more appropriately, a need to let our voice be heard and share our views. (Why do you think we’re so active on social media?)

A few ways to encourage this are:

Give us opportunities to lead in roles that bring active change to the company, such as seats on committees and inclusion in forums.

Listen to us and be open to ideas! Just because something has been done a certain way for an extended amount of time does not mean that it is the most effective or efficient way to keep doing things. Use our creativity to advance your business.

Allow us to be creative by embracing technology.

Let us be involved. Here at NCM, we have an Ownership Culture Committee that not only plans social events for the company but also participates in charity and giving back. Believe it or not, Millennials do care about things bigger than themselves and allowing them to give back, and get involved will reap huge rewards in employee morale and culture.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/11/embracing-the-hashtag-generation-how-to-retain-talented-millennials-in-the-workplace/

Chris Kahrs

Building Your Bench Strength

Weight lifting

Addressing personnel changes and challenges can occasion lengthy conversations. I’d say that the most often asked question is, “Where do I find my next manager?” As dealerships continue to experience rapid turnover and acquisitions—and promote good employees into management—many organizations struggle to find replacements for vacancies.

Prepare for the unavoidable

It’s generally when they’ve lost an employee that dealers realize they have no one in their organization to assume that particular role. Dealers are forced to search outside their organizations for a candidate who shares their business’s values, culture, work ethic and vision. This hunt can be exhaustive, and the process is disruptive to the daily operations of the organization.

Why your team is critical

To use a sports analogy, each team has its starters suited up and ready to go for each game. When one of those starters gets hurt, a “bench player” is the next man up to assume that role. That bench player has been preparing for a scenario like this and is ready to perform. Yet in a lot of automotive organizations, there isn’t a bench player who has been coached to assume the role of the starter should there be the need.

How to create a strong bench

Weak bench strength is a problem for a number of reasons. First, it means you must spend time and money to find an outside replacement. And, more importantly, that unnoticed bench player is likely to leave. I honestly believe that one the greatest threats to your dealership is for an overlooked bench player—one who is not being groomed for advancement—to leave. And they will. Sensing the lack of opportunity, individuals like this will typically depart for greener pastures should they have the opportunity, thus leaving your organization searching for yet another replacement.

Here are my suggestions to improve your bench strength:

  • Train and educate from the top down to develop future organizational leaders
  • Cross train for diversity
  • Create peer-leader relationships
  • Create a career path with clear and defined advancement opportunities
  • Train, coach, motivate and encourage personal development

Filing managerial vacancies can be challenging for many organizations; however, you may already have an individual eager and ready to perform if given the opportunity. By building your bench, you can create future leaders from within your organization. Work on developing one to strengthen your overall talent pool.

Learn more about Chris Kahrs and how he and his NCM colleagues can help your dealership through 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/11/building-your-bench-strength/

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