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Quick Tip... NADA: Treat Your Employees Right...



As NADA is rapidly approaching, I thought I would write about a topic highly discussed and leveraged at last year’s event in Dallas.


Transforming Retail Automotive: NADA's Vision for a People-First Industry


The engine propelling success in Retail Automotive isn't solely fueled by cutting-edge technology or innovative marketing strategies – it's powered by the dedicated and hardworking individuals who form the backbone of the industry.


The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has undertaken the responsibility of advocating for a transformative shift in how we treat and value our employees. In this article, we will delve into NADA's vision for a people-first approach in retail automotive, exploring the challenges faced by industry professionals and the positive impact of prioritizing employee well-being.


The State of the Industry:


The retail automotive sector is no stranger to long-standing challenges, with issues such as extended working hours, demanding expectations, and a lack of recognition being all too common. For years, employees in this industry have faced the stigma of burnout and high turnover rates. In agreement with NADA, we recognize it's time for a paradigm shift – a move away from practices that have left employees feeling undervalued and overworked. A positive workplace culture will engage team members, leading to improved performance and reduced stress levels.


Breaking the Chains:


NADA is championing the cause of breaking free from outdated practices that have plagued the industry. One of the key issues addressed is the prevalence of long working hours without commensurate compensation. The association advocates for fair wages, acknowledging that a well-compensated workforce is not just a matter of ethics but a strategic move towards a sustainable and thriving industry.


In addition to fair compensation, NADA is pushing for a reevaluation of unrealistic expectations placed on automotive professionals. The industry has witnessed a culture that often prioritizes results at the expense of employee well-being. By challenging these norms, they aim to create an environment where employees can thrive, contribute effectively, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.


It has long been said that we operate the business in a car lot mentality. Where bell-to-bell and all-hands-on-deck schedules are the norm. Personally, I hear it on a daily basis, included with the statement that this is the Car Business. However, progressive dealers are noticing the opposite and thriving. Breaking free and engaging this new thought process will not only bring in new generations of team members focused on career paths rather than jobs but will also increase customer traffic and conversions.


Understanding the Ripple Effect:


The ripple effect of prioritizing employee well-being extends far beyond the confines of the workplace. When employees are treated with respect and appreciation, they become the face of the brand, delivering exceptional customer service and building lasting relationships. Satisfied employees are not just assets within the organization; they are ambassadors who shape the industry's perception and drive business success.


This positive ripple effect has the potential to redefine the automotive industry's image, attracting top talent and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. NADA envisions an industry where success is measured not only by financial metrics but also by the satisfaction and engagement of its workforce.


We know this is necessary, as the industry shares the lowest scores in almost every metric measured for trust, integrity, and honesty. We can change this; it's time to not only recognize it but to enact what is necessary to ensure the perception continues at a similar rate to our efforts.


Contributing to Change:


The call to action is clear: it's time to contribute to the positive transformation of the retail automotive industry. NADA believes in a four-step roadmap for industry professionals and organizations to actively participate in this change.


1. Share Your Success Stories:


Encourage individuals and organizations to share their success stories. Whether it's the implementation of innovative workplace practices, the introduction of employee recognition programs, or strategies to enhance work-life balance, these stories serve as beacons of inspiration for others in the industry.


Success stories create a platform for sharing best practices, allowing the industry to learn from its own successes and build a collective knowledge base. Through open dialogue and the sharing of achievements, NADA envisions a community that uplifts and supports one another on the journey toward a people-first industry.


2. Implement Fair Policies:


Advocacy for fair policies is at the forefront of the agenda. The association encourages not only the reevaluation of existing policies but the active promotion and implementation of those that prioritize employee well-being. This includes fair wages, transparent compensation structures, and policies that foster a healthy work environment.


By establishing fair policies, the industry can set new standards that attract top talent and demonstrate a commitment to the holistic development of its workforce. This is a fundamental step toward creating a more equitable and sustainable industry for everyone involved.


3. Foster a Culture of Appreciation:


In the hustle and bustle of life at the dealership, it's easy to overlook the importance of acknowledging and appreciating the hard work of employees. We should emphasize the need for a culture of appreciation, where achievements – big or small – are recognized and celebrated.


Acknowledgment fosters a positive work environment, boosting morale and motivation. By envisioning an industry where employees feel valued and appreciated for their contributions, it will lead to increased job satisfaction and a more engaged workforce.


Studies have shown an engaged workforce is 55% more productive than an unengaged one. Understanding this, along with the statistic that the average employee only puts in 2.6 hours of defined work in a dealership, can lead to significant growth in both productivity and profitability.


4. Continuous Improvement:


Embracing feedback and committing to continuous improvement is a cornerstone of NADA's vision. The association recognizes that the path to positive change is an ongoing journey that requires adaptability and a willingness to evolve.


While encouraging organizations to actively seek feedback from employees, fostering a culture where constructive criticism is welcomed and used as a catalyst for improvement. By prioritizing continuous improvement, the industry can adapt to changing dynamics, stay ahead of the curve, and create an environment that encourages innovation and growth.


Reshaping the Narrative:


This collective effort to reshape the narrative surrounding the retail automotive industry is a journey that involves every stakeholder – from industry leaders and employers to individual professionals. The vision extends beyond creating better workplaces; it aims to shape a better industry for everyone involved.


By prioritizing the well-being of employees, the industry has an opportunity to redefine its identity and move towards becoming a sector known for its commitment to people. To maintain success, we need to be an industry that attracts top talent, retains skilled professionals, and serves as a benchmark for workplace excellence.


As NADA spearheads the charge for a people-first approach in retail automotive, the industry stands at a pivotal juncture on which path to choose to continue along the archaic pathway of this is how we've always done it or to trailblaze along a new one. The pathway of being an innovator, changing the dynamics, as the vision outlined by NADA is not just an idealistic goal; it is a strategic imperative for the sustainable growth and success of the automotive sector.


By breaking free from outdated practices, prioritizing fair treatment, and fostering a culture of appreciation, the industry can create a positive ripple effect that transforms not only workplaces but also the perception of the entire sector.


As individuals and organizations actively contribute to this transformative journey, NADA's vision for a people-first industry inches closer to becoming a reality. It's time to embrace change, celebrate successes, and collectively shape a brighter and more inclusive future for retail automotive.


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