An increasingly youthful workforce is compelling more dealers to consider life beyond commission.  - Photo by Cecilie_Arcurs via Getty Images

An increasingly youthful workforce is compelling more dealers to consider life beyond commission.

Photo by Cecilie_Arcurs via Getty Images

We all know the story: You hire and groom a person to be successful at sales, then F&I, and one day that person quits. For some, it may seem like this cycle of turnover is the norm. After all, we work in the retail automotive industry, which is known for high turnover rates. But does it have to be?

It’s Not a Job, It’s a Career.

According to the 2019 Cox Automotive Dealership Staffing Study, dealerships experienced an average of 46% turnover in 2018. Why? A new survey conducted by The Harris Poll, found that 50% of U.S. employees feel like they’re just putting in time on the job — not building a career. Specifics cited by the study include:

  • Only 32% of employees say they’re satisfied with opportunities for career advancement.
  • 58% say they don’t think their company offers the kind of learning opportunities they need to advance their career.
  • 73% say they wish their companies would offer “educational opportunities or workshops outside of work hours.”

Analysts also found that 33% of dealership employees are not engaged or excited about their jobs. Considering the nature of retail automotive, these statistics should prompt dealership management to take another look at their hiring and retention metrics.

Are managers hiring for today, or for the long term? What processes around communication, training, and work-life balance are being put into place to incentivize employees to stay and recruit the next generation?

Read: NADA: Franchised Dealership Payrolls Up Nearly 2%

The Next Generation Needs Work.

Here’s the good news: The Cox study revealed that 36% of young Millennials/Gen Y and 32% of Gen Z would consider working for a dealership. Before you discount these generations, think about this: Gen Y (those born between 1977–’95) is now the largest consumer demographic. And Gen Z (1996–2006) will make up 20% of the total U.S. workforce by 2020.

Let’s take a look at the future of your dealership, Gen Z. Having grown up during the great recession, job security is their primary motivation. However, this generation is also highly motivated by purposeful work.

According to a recent study by Staffbase, 84% of Gen Z workers say that they would like to do purposeful work for a company they believe in. Translation: Gen Z recruits are motivated by a steady paycheck that they can depend on, and they will choose to work for a company that is active in the community over one that is not.

This generation does not have a harsh delineation between work and home.

Ranging in age from 13 to 23, this demographic is fully immersed in technology and use their mobile device for everything. While Gen Y and Gen X required work/life balance and more flexible work schedules, Gen Z is more than willing to put in the extra time, with one caveat. That extra time isn’t necessarily at the dealership.

According to Forbes, partly because of their dependency on technology, this generation does not have a harsh delineation between work and home. This means they are more willing to work from home after traditional hours end, but also expect to be able to monitor — for example, social media — at work.

Translation: This generation makes the perfect recruit for your BDC or virtual F&I manager team as your dealership evolves to compete with digital retailers.

That’s the key, isn’t it? The makeup of your employees isn’t the only thing that’s changing. Everything is changing. Every dealership is struggling to evolve to a digital retail environment. By paying attention to the strengths that each demographic brings to the table, including the new recruits, you have a better opportunity to navigate those changes more effectively.

What are you waiting for? Evaluate your recruiting pipeline and employee base; determine what you will change to make your dealership more enticing to future employees and lucrative in the long run.

Amber Hash is a recruiting manager for EFG Companies.

Read: Expert: Don’t Ask Veterans These 3 Questions

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