With the automotive sector facing increasingly rapid change, the challenges dealers face are only likely to grow in the coming years. Now is therefore the time for both dealers and manufacturers to review their enterprise talent strategy and create one relevant and future-proof strategy that ensures their organisation is prepared for any future challenges.
Challenges a talent strategy should address
With growing demand for electric, connected and autonomous vehicles, manufacturers are already adapting their talent strategies to attract the best talent from a wide range of industries with skills new to the automotive sector. As these new vehicles move from the production line to the forecourt, dealers also need to ensure that their staff have the knowledge and skills to work with them.
The pace of technological change in new vehicles is accelerating, making recruiting for the right skills more challenging. Half of a new hire’s skills will no longer be relevant after just 5 years and many of the skills needed in future do not yet exist. The way to plan for this challenge is to focus efforts on recruiting people with learning skills; people who are able to adapt to new situations and learn quickly, both within sales and technical roles.
Staff turnover is also an issue in many dealerships. When creating a talent strategy for the future, it’s important to consider how to retain your best staff. Contrary to popular fears that staff who have upskilled will look for jobs elsewhere, research has found that 55% of digitally talented employees would be willing to switch jobs if they felt their skills were stagnating. Providing a range of training opportunities that allow your staff to develop therefore does not only allow you to develop skills and knowledge within your organisation, it is also an effective tool that helps you retain your best people.
Talent strategies within dealerships also need to adapt to changing customer expectations. Up to 97% of customers now research their purchase online before setting foot in a dealership. They already know about the car they’re interested in, they want their buying process to be straightforward, and they expect dealers to provide a seamless experience in moving between online and offline environments.
With customers increasingly choosing their options and finance online, the traditional skills of dealers to persuade and influence will become less relevant. Dealerships leading the way in the change to blended retail models are refining their talent strategies to focus on recruiting and developing customer service professionals who impress and retain customers by providing a personalised and welcoming service, both online and in-person.
Developing a talent strategy to meet these expectations depends on optimising both recruitment and retention strategies; building up teams with new capabilities and developing existing skills further. Dealers still need to improve their online-to-offline processes, but the rewards for doing so are clear; 72% of consumers feel an improved buying process would motivate them to visit dealerships more often.
How to shift up a gear
Talent strategies can only be successful in the long-term if they are seen to be delivering real business benefits by people across the organisation. One survey of automotive leaders uncovered that 39% believe their company has either no clear talent strategy or one that is in conflict with the business strategy.
Rather than developing individual reactive responses to each of the challenges facing the industry, a strong talent strategy should identify all of the problems it is looking to solve, show the steps you will take to solve these problems, and demonstrate the metrics you will use to prove success. Having a forward-looking talent strategy allows HR leaders to act as strategic advisors delivering value to the business, rather than being seen as a cost-centre with an uncertain return on investment.
Using the right learning technology is a vital part of a successful talent strategy. Implementing the right Learning Management System (LMS) for your business can improve organisational revenue, productivity and profitability, whilst reducing the cost and time invested in training. Organisations investing in learning technology saw an average 19% improvement in customer satisfaction, 7% reduction in staff attrition and 7% increase in revenue.
Redware’s Empowered, the leading automotive LMS, supports leading automotive organisations in bringing their talent strategies to life; reducing staff turnover, improving engagement and productivity, and helping them develop their learners to leaders.
Empowered is designed with extended enterprise learning management in mind. It provides multi-faceted analytics so that all users have access to the reports relevant to them, whether that’s managers reviewing their employees’ achievements, or L&D teams within dealer groups’ or manufacturers’ Head Offices. Empowered allows you to bring your talent strategies to life across the globe and demonstrate the impact training initiatives are having on your business, including in reducing onboarding times and reducing staff turnover.
Employing a clear talent strategy building on the best learning technology for your business can help you not only rise to the challenges that are currently facing the industry, but also proactively prepare to lead the way in overcoming future industry challenges.
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Towards Maturity, L&D: Where are we now? (2017) is sponsored by Redware and can be downloaded from https://towardsmaturity.org/2017/11/27/ld-where-are-we-now/