Bridging the digital skills gap in automotive retail

While it is clear that digital technology will transform the automotive industry, there are a number of associated challenges that need to be addressed by industry and government leaders to unlock the substantial benefits it offers.

These challenges include the pace of changing customer expectations, cultural transformation, outdated regulation, and identifying and accessing the right skills – to name just a few.

Mind the gap

Businesses have recognised the growing digital skills gap, and they are not the only ones. 48% of automotive industry employees surveyed in Capgemini and LinkedIn’s 2017 Digital Talent Gap report believe their digital skills will be redundant in four to five years. Meanwhile more than a third (36%) of employees in the industry think their skills are already redundant or will be in one to two years.

There is no doubt we are living through a period of rapid change. The advance of Automotive4.0, the race to develop new propulsion systems, increasing levels of vehicle autonomy and many more digital innovations are affecting everyone from manufacturers, to sales and service teams, to the end customer.

For this reason, it’s hard to predict exactly which digital skills will be needed in automotive retail in the long term, but there are clearly current and imminent implications for sales, aftersales and cybersecurity. To stay ahead of the curve, there is little more valuable to a business than a strong culture of learning and innovation.

Sustainable learning strategies

Establishing a workplace culture of learning and development is critical to recruitment and retention of the best employees. Capgemini’s research found that 55% of digitally talented employees would be willing to switch jobs if they felt their digital skills were stagnating.

Providing an environment where digitally skilled employees can grow and develop is therefore key. This is especially the case in dealerships where, according to the Cox Automotive Staffing Study, there was an alarming 67% employee turnover rate for sales positions and an overall turnover rate of 40%.

Redware’s Empowered Learning Management System (LMS) can help not only with on-boarding new staff - including those from outside of the automotive industry - in terms of reducing time to competence and staff turnover. It can also assist with nurturing apprentices and graduates by offering self-service learning and career pathway mapping. To reduce attrition, Empowered encourages motivation for learning by clearly guiding users through the courses to move them onto the next stage in their career. Organisations can also add optional extras such as courses on time management, computer skills and preparing for management positions.

Although the competences needed in the industry, including both hard and soft digital skills, are difficult to measure and manage, Empowered helps automotive manufacturers and dealer groups evaluate these skills within sales and aftersales care environments and identify gaps. Managers can then assign the right course to the right individual, ensuring that learners feel valued and engaged.

Digital transformation driving change

The industry’s traditional value chain of suppliers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), retailers and the aftermarket is being disrupted and extended by new, digitally astute entrants. New technologies are propelling business model innovations which offer novel products and services to the consumer.

This digital transformation of the automotive retail industry is inevitably changing customer expectations as vehicles become digitally powerful and highly personalised devices in their own right, connected to a whole network of other mobile gadgets.

Within your extended enterprise, employees’ digital skills need to reflect this shift and an LMS can help with ‘just in time’ learning for dealership staff at the point of need, empowering them to do their job well. A globally integrated system available across 172 countries allows manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo Cars to easily share tailored best practice and soft skills training in multiple languages. This all adds up to providing consistent and quality customer experiences, which ultimately translates into better revenue.

The digital skills gap is not going away in the foreseeable future, with the challenge of an ageing workforce and no abatement in the pace of technological change. For businesses to stay competitive in the global marketplace, an LMS that can not only highlight but also bridge gaps in skills and knowledge is invaluable. It not only helps attract, retain and develop the best talent, but ensures that customer experience stays on the radar as dealerships get to grips with the digital transformation.

Automotive learning technology needs to be agile enough to suit changing needs, fulfilling business objectives while also keeping staff motivated through a robust learning and development strategy. This is the only way that a truly successful and sustainable digital transformation will be achieved.

For the next steps in bridging your skills gaps, discover how to create an extended enterprise learning strategy. 

Create an extended enterprise learning strategy


Topics: Learning Strategy, Automotive Skills, Automotive Retail


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