As dealers work to find, hire and retain qualified employees, they do have an ace up their sleeve: NADA training and education programs, said Steve Park, Senior Vice President of Dealership Operations at NADA, during a Thursday session on the NADA Show Live Stage.
While Academy and 20 Group are the legacy NADA mainstays that the association is known for, NADA offers an “education escalator” to help guide dealerships and their employees through all levels of education and help them advance in their careers, Park said.
Professional Series courses are designed for new department managers or high-potential employees. Seminars provide a deep dive into a specific department. The Academy prepares current and future dealership leaders. And 20 Group provides lifelong networking for dealers. In other words, NADA offers training for every level of educational and professional development.
NADA also will adopt the lessons learned during the pandemic, continuing to offer classes in-person as well as online. “What we found was that a lot of people in the industry prefer to learn live online,” Park said. That includes employees who maybe are unable to travel due to finances or work or family obligations.
Women in automotive retail in particular have responded well to the online programs. “They’re able to set aside some time and actually accelerate the career development plan for their future, sooner than they ever thought they would,” Park said.
Building on that knowledge, NADA has launched an education subscription series, which provides all employees in a dealership with unlimited access to Professional Series classes and Academy seminars.
Early adopters of the subscription model are already using it as a recruitment tool, Park said. “A lot of applicants want to know what their career path looks like in a dealership, so having the ability to lay some plans out and have a professional development plan is great for recruiting and employee retention,” Park said.
Now the focus for growth is on offering new topics that are timely and relevant for the industry, such as service advisor training and coaching. “Our dealers are entrepreneurs and many of them had to right-size their organizations [during the pandemic] and invest in people for retention purposes, and what better way to do that than education?” Park asked.
Those who cannot be at the NADA Show in Las Vegas can still follow the action by watching the Livestream from the Live Stage at NADA Show.