Dealerships and partner networks are facing a new reality regarding the influx of talent they’re receiving. Trade schools continue to produce dealership and partner-ready talent, but not at the volume to fill the demands. As a result, organizations have reduced their requirements to entry in hopes of finding raw talent they can grow.
This crop of new hires who are in the midst of exploring if the automotive field appeals to them most likely haven’t received extensive training up to this point. As a result, they need to be supported and mentored so they don’t feel as though they are being thrown to the wolves and left to figure it out on their own.
Traditional dealership and partner models need to adapt to this change, or risk an ever increasing turnover rate in junior talent as they explore and look for the place they feel needed.
Nurturing Talent That Thrives
In a positive work culture, you understand that your new hires need to be nurtured. You have some very clear expectations for each new hire, but you make it clear that you will support them every step of the way. They will be assigned a mentor, and within a finite period, the new hire will be able to demonstrate success at specific tasks to establish themselves and then move up the ladder.
Here’s how that structure can look from day to day in your environment:
Understand the base level of knowledge that your newest hires require, and communicate that loud and clear to them. Be specific about the elements that you want them to learn and the goals you have for them over a certain period.
Right now, they may be in a non-technical role. However, by the time they complete their training several months from now, they will become highly qualified for a technical position, and be a valuable member on your team.
For example, you assign a newly hired individual to be a vehicle porter, responsible for vacuuming car floors and covering seats along with other baseline requirements before delivering the vehicle. In another dealer environment, you may hire that same type of individual as an oil lube tech, responsible for critical tasks in the oil change and standard service bay, with increasing independence as they gain time and experience.
What’s the next thing beyond being a lube tech? You can rotate tires, followed by moving up to the other general maintenance activities of the vehicle. This path and growth plan needs to be clear and attainable, based on a set of goals and expectations that they can own and be responsible for.
With the right mentoring always close at hand, you can see how a career path is beginning to form here.
If you can train and nurture someone through a defined process, you can retain them for 90 days. If you can retain them for the first 90 days, you likely have a loyal individual who can move up through the ranks. You may have a very engaged individual who wants to know where to take their career.
Training and Mentorship: An Unbeatable Combination for Retention
If you don’t spell out what success looks like for new hires (and let’s face it – some dealers simply don’t), those individuals will not have the positive reinforcement they require. Before long, they will leave your organization.
In contrast, imagine the difference when a new worker enters an environment that embraces training and mentorship – particularly beyond those first 90 days. Because these hires are so new to the industry, dealerships have to not only look at training as an ongoing commitment rather than a one-and-done event. They also need to see managed mentoring as an essential and ongoing initiative.
In those early days, when workers have low success rates, it’s easy for them to become frustrated. Not everyone who starts as a lube tech wants to remain a lube tech. However, this is the precise moment when a mentor lifts them up with encouragement and direction. This kind of engagement with a new hire means everything for retaining them long term.
No matter what training programs and mentoring initiatives you implement, some percentage of younger workers will opt out of it. That said, the highest potential for success will come from creating an environment of mentorship.
If you can convince a new worker to come in and commit to at least 90 days – not just show up and do the work, but get through the training material given at a successful rate – then you may have found a diamond in the rough. At this point, you can then begin to polish that diamond even further on the skills they need to grow.
That’s how you engage people in your network and entice them to stay.
The Key Pivot on Day 60
If there’s one mistake with new hires, it’s waiting too long to show them the path available to them through training. When you have a diamond in the rough, someone you believe will impact your business positively for the foreseeable future, the last thing you want to do is wait until their 90th day on the job to talk to them about training.
By then, you’ll have someone who hasn’t seen enough of a commitment from you and could become a flight risk for taking a similar job down the street.
To minimize that scenario, reach out to that individual earlier on. Talk to them not only about their initial period of work with basic requirements but also the transition they’ll make on their 60th day: “We want you to become a drivetrain expert, and we’ll start you on that path. There are 15 classes you’ll need to attend to become a Level One tech, so we’ll need you to start working on those. But those are all typically e-learning, so you’ll be able to work that around your schedule.”
Now that younger person is becoming engaged. They see how they’ll move up the company’s value chain if they complete the classes. They’re empowered and excited by how much knowledge they’re gaining as a valued member. And if all this is already happening at an early stage of their career, what’s next? The sky may be the limit.
LatitudeLearning can help ensure that you have the components in place for a training program that drives measurable impact. With our consultative background, unmatched learning management software, and an incredible partner in training content with BizLibrary, you’ll have everything you need to put your new hires on the best path forward.
When you’re bringing a group of new hires to the industry, there’s no better outcome than providing the supportive, additive training that only LatitudeLearning can offer. It’s real, practical, varied, and the answer for keeping the best of your junior talent right where they belong – under your roof.
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