Dealers Aren’t Alone In Facing Hiring, Retention Pressures

January 18, 2017

I was struck by several parallels in a Chicago Tribune story this week that highlighted how hiring and retention is a big concern for the nation’s top retailers.

The article highlights sentiments from top executives attending the National Retail Federation’s annual convention are grappling with the convergence of sales processes that occur both online and in brick and mortar stores, sometimes simultaneously. The piece also noted how these executives are coming to terms with the idea that persistent turnover is really a problem, and better, more personalized training is part of the solution.

Sound familiar?

On one hand, the article should give dealers a sense of solidarity. You are not alone in the struggle to hire and keep good employees, particularly as the role of sales associates is undergoing an evolution, thanks to the Internet.

On the other hand, the article exposes a risk for dealers. You will be competing for the same employees against companies who are increasingly committed to offering more compelling career paths and compensation packages. Such efforts effectively raise the bar in terms of what it takes to attract and keep qualified people.

The good news, of course, is that the car business, and the entrepreneurial nature of dealers themselves, gives us the ability to offer compelling career, employment and lifestyle options that the larger retailers can’t match.

Therein lies the opportunity for dealers with the conviction and courage to seize it.