Do we, and can we, listen to our staff?

  18 April 2016

As an industry it’s interesting how little the HR side of the business seems to get discussed. Yes, when we talk about recruitment we mention the fact that it’s people that sell to people, but really we mostly talk about targets and how to meet them. A quick browse of car sales recruitment ads will tell you that.

So this week’s ‘Preparing your people for the future’ event run by Ennis & Co, which focused on the way auto retail handles its staff, was a great wake-up call.

One of the key topics from the event was to question if we’re learning enough from younger staff and those new to the industry. In other words, are we challenging the traditional methods and processes and taking a lead from these new staff?

While I suspect that mixing youth’s ability to question what we’ve always done with the experience of older staff will result in better business, I can’t help thinking that as franchise-holding retailers it’s incredibly difficult to do things differently.

In a world where some OEMs will even have a say over which staff a retailer can employ, and where pressures to hit targets are huge, how can retailers rip up the rule book and try something different?

However, if, as an industry, we want to succeed then things must change; increasing numbers of car buyers are spending an increasing amount of the car buying journey away from the traditional car showroom. 

Once car buyers get used to doing everything online then it becomes even harder for anything other than price to be the differentiator.

So, can we really change the way we treat our staff so that our customers are treated in the way they demand in today’s wider retail environment without increasing freedoms from the manufacturer?

Tristan Young

Editorial director

Auto Retail Network

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