Employee turnover continues to be a challenge for dealerships. Cox Automotive recently published an interesting study on dealership staffing. One-third of dealership employees do not feel engaged or excited about their jobs, and 20% are likely to look for another job in the next six months.
According to the study, the top driver of employee engagement is “The environment supports my ability to be successful.”
The authors of the study then offer five strategies to attract, retain and engage employees:
- Embrace a flexible culture
- Review pay plans and benefits structure
- Ensure your employees feel valued; offer mentoring and career opportunities
- Offer the latest tools and technology
- Prioritize workplace diversity for both employees and customers
Since technology is Helion’s expertise, We want to focus on #4. According to the Cox Automotive study, 61% of dealership employees don’t believe they’re using the latest technology in the store, and 39% of managers agree that implementing new technology is a challenge for them. In another study, Salesforce found that 71% of employees want the same level of technology at work—simple, intuitive, and easy—as they have in their personal lives.
The reality is, the technology experience in peoples’ personal lives far surpasses the technology experience at work. If a person owns a smartphone and a tablet, they don’t need a computer at home. Yet when they come to work, they sit down to an old PC, use outdated software and experience frustration due to slow connectivity and performance.
We have seen this first hand in many dealerships, and especially among younger generations. Millennials and Gen Z’ers, in particular, are very technology savvy and expect workplaces to support their professional needs, habits and preferred methods of communication. If your dealership isn’t able to support these expectations, you may experience greater turnover and more difficulty when recruiting the most talented members of this generation.
The ironic part about the Cox Automotive study is that frequently the problem isn’t that dealers don’t have the latest tools and technology. Most dealerships are using state-of-the-art DMS and CRM systems and increasingly, manufacturers are mandating the use of new technologies in the service department.
Yet typically, employees utilize only a small percentage of these tools’ features. Sometimes the “launch” of new technology is a failure. Lack of training is one reason, but a bigger problem that we continuously see is that it’s impossible for these tools to work effectively due to the dismal state of the store’s IT infrastructure.
Think about all the technology in your dealership. In addition to your cloud-based DMS, CRM and dozens of other third-party applications, you have PC-based software applications such as Microsoft Office and Email (which should also be cloud-based).
In the average dealership, there are hundreds of connected devices running over the store’s wireless system at all times. From smartphones and tablets to diagnostic tools to smart appliances, the demand on your wireless system is huge and growing greater every day.
The latest, coolest, greatest tools and technologies will never work properly if they’re running on a backbone of outdated switches, inadequate wireless access points, slow Internet connectivity, and old PCs.
Attracting and retaining talent is difficult. Investing in your IT infrastructure is a direct investment in employee productivity and engagement.
Auto dealerships with state-of-the-art technology should be seriously bragging about it to their job candidates. Not only does it add a ‘cool factor’ to your incentives package, but investing in IT demonstrates that you care about your employees and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to help them become successful.