Is Your Dealership Winning The War for Talent?

David Foutz, Vice President of Sales for Xtime

You are used to competition. Most dealerships have multiple rivals within a few miles and fight for the same customers through the same channels. But there’s another competition happening that has nothing to do with selling cars. It’s the war for talent and it’s raging more fiercely than ever. But, this war isn’t about beating competitors.

This war is about your team giving effort they don’t have to give. It’s the war for hearts and minds, and you know you’re winning when the talent in your service lane truly cares about the success of your business. When your employees are truly engaged at work, they give more than what’s required to collect their pay. They put in incremental effort and perform beyond expectations.

When your highly skilled, highly engaged employees perform at peak levels, they can have a major impact on customer experience and your profits. Unfortunately, it seems many dealerships struggle with employee engagement. Consider the following statistics:

All this adds up to suggest most dealership employees aren’t totally satisfied with their jobs and are not highly engaged with their work. And when employees aren’t engaged, they may check to see if the grass is greener at the dealership a few miles down the road or leave the automotive industry all together.

Lack of engagement and the resulting employee turnover can directly impact your bottom line. Objectively speaking, organizations with high employee engagement perform at higher levels across a variety of key metrics:

  • 21 percent higher profitability
  • 10 percent higher customer engagement
  • 25-65 percent lower turnover
  • 37 percent lower absenteeism
  • 48 percent fewer staff safety incidents

As Vince Lombardi famously said,


Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

So, what can you do to keep employees engaged and win the war for talent? Invest in customer experience. Sound counterintuitive? Think about this: The best way to improve a team’s morale is by winning. The talent you have in your service drive came to work for you because they want to succeed. The same technologies that allow you to deliver a superior customer experience can empower your team. Employees can delight customers with quick and easy service. They can make customers feel special when they greet them by name and celebrate when they see data that affirms a job well done. As they see your business grow, employees will understand they created the opportunities for their own advancement. Great morale comes from doing your job well, being rewarded, and the associated feelings of accomplishment.

Also keep in mind today’s employees, especially millennials and other younger workers, are comfortable and very familiar with leading technology. When forced to use outdated or cumbersome tools, those younger teammates tend to grow frustrated and disengaged before eventually departing for higher-tech pastures.

Forbes contributor Trent Gleeson argues that there is a strong connection between technology and employee engagement. He suggests two keys for increasing productivity and engagement: 1) provide access to actionable data and 2) increase transparency and accountability. The right technologies can do both. By connecting dealerships with relevant, timely information that empowers employees to solve customer problems, and then track the results of those efforts, technology increases employee productivity and engagement.

Even in today’s labor market, by focusing on your customers you can keep your good employees too. Winning the daily battle with systems that enable your team to deliver on customer expectations is also the best way to win the war for talent.

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