Julie Becker-Myers, director of dealer training and financial reporting, at Ally Auto Financial, and Josh Johnson, CEO of Don Johnson Auto Group in Rice Lake, Wisc., joined NADA’s Catherine York for a Live Stage session on Saturday discussing the critical issue of employee retention in the automotive retail industry.
The conversation kicked off with the crucial question: Why should dealers and managers focus on employee retention? Becker-Myers emphasized the importance of developing careers rather than jobs. And she reminded that lack of employee growth leads to a shortage of up-and-coming leaders. Johnson highlighted the costly nature of turnover, which affects morale for both employees and customers.
To attract new talent, Johnson recommends dealers focus more on the why, than the what — “less on the practice and more on the purpose.”
Becker-Myers stressed the need to “show and imbue passion for what we do.” She encouraged employers to be creative with incentives and understand what motivates employees.
Johnson emphasized the importance of the day-one experience for new employees. Johnson and Becker-Myers shared examples —that require little to no financial investment — for helping employees see a career path from day one, including creating organizational charts, job shadowing and team mentorship programs.
The discussion delved into the flexible hours and culture prevalent in auto retail, with suggestions to break the traditional "bell to bell" lifestyle. Creative approaches like team sales and shift-sharing provide employees with more flexibility.
Johnson and Becker-Myers also addressed recruitment tactics, with recommendations to make job postings more exciting, using NADA job descriptions, and emphasizing the benefits of employee referrals.
- Craft exciting job postings.
- Make each employee’s Day One intentional and exciting.
- Create a career path for each employee, showing next steps.
- Implement job shadowing and mentorship programs.
- Continually gauge employee satisfaction.