Evolving Your Auto Dealership to Recruit Millennials

March 30, 2017

Millennials have taken the auto industry by storm. Armed with fresh degrees and even stronger work ethics, this new generation of workforce are showing up motivated and enthusiastic from day-one.

Why then have auto dealerships struggled to employ these new high quality recruits?

The answer is simple, and oddly enough, ironic. Millennials are incredibly driven (therein lies the pun of irony), and dealerships are much slower to evolve HR strategies which has left them at a disadvantage. A billion-dollar disadvantage to be exact.

Trending Downward

Let’s look at this from the 35,000 ft historical view employee turnover has plagued this industry for the last 5 years. From showroom salespeople and outdoor porters, to mechanics in the Service Department, the revolving door of employees in car dealerships is notorious for keeping owners up at night. And recouping loss of revenue from bad hires has proven impossible, despite an increase in sales.

The National Automobile Dealers Association Dealership Workforce Study estimates that billions of dollars are lost each year because of high turnover rates. What’s more, sheer desperation to combat the short-handedness of unfilled positions leads dealerships to hire quickly and without due diligence. More often than not, this results in poor hires and no chance of longevity among staff. It’s a vicious cycle that can only be broken though the adaptation of better HR practices.

Course of Action

Millennials, who account for 60% of new dealership hires, are particularly dissuaded by high-risk, commission-based compensation plans commonly found in dealerships. Overall, the mix of long hours, unpredictable salary, and little growth potential has left millennials considering any other job opportunity.

As car dealerships try to break from the unrelenting trend of turnover, owners have started to review hiring practices, as well as compensation structure. And, while the pay scale for many positions has increased, it’s the movement towards base salary plus commission that has really resonated. Minimizing risk of compensation is one way more qualified individuals have presented themselves to auto dealers.

Training programs are also being implemented nationwide to help auto dealerships hire the best person for the job. Despite the need to fill open positions quickly, owners are training their sales teams and managers to thoroughly vet all candidates to determine whether they are “the right fit.” This has resulted in a decrease in turnover, an increase in collaboration, and higher team morale.

The Upturn Needed

The millennial workforce represents a unique opportunity for auto dealerships. They are an influx of educated, motivated, and passionate employees that can have a significant impact on your bottom line. However, adjusting to base salaries and screening qualifications isn’t enough. Millennials are notorious for turning the interview tables – and you need to be ready.

As mentioned, their steadfast drive is one the most sought-after characteristics that employers admire about this generation. To secure a millennial workforce, auto dealerships need to prove themselves to these candidates. You need to demonstrate growth potential, how you will nurture their career, and above all, why your dealership is the best place for them to work.

Perks, benefits, encouragement – millennials are looking for the warm and fuzzies. They too want to make sure that it’s the right fit for them, because once they choose you, they’re committed – which is exactly what you need. Cultivating staff that is loyal, knowledgeable, and inspired – that’s how you avoid employee turnover in your dealership.

A Systemic Approach

Better hiring procedures, competitive wages, and perks-a-plenty will garner the attention of millennials. However, modification of innovative processes and procedures is the only way to keep dealerships from repeated trends and cyclical mistakes with each new generation entering the workforce. The ability to adapt is an auto dealership’s best friend.

Netchex partners with the auto industry to simplify the business of HR. We provide flexible technology, insight, and expertise that is needed to adjust to the incoming workforce. Our solutions streamline hiring to help you find the perfect candidate in less time. Netchex provides compensation analysis tools, benefits administration, and complete employee life-cycle management. Full visibility into your team’s progress can help assess performance, productivity, and personality. Employing the right HCM solution can have an immediate impact on your bottom-line.


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Learn more about the benefits of integrating Netchex solutions into your auto dealership.