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Adam Robinson

3 Simple Steps to an Effective Employee Referral Program

Asian businessman making handshake with smiling face

Most business owners understand the importance of referrals when it comes to their customer base. According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll and Nielsen, 82 percent of Americans indicated they look for recommendations from friends and family members when they’re deciding on a purchase. Input happens organically, especially with big-ticket items like a vehicle when advice from trusted advisors is even more valuable.

Meanwhile, brands have tapped into the fact that incentives help facilitate the referral process. In fact, that same study found that 88 percent of American consumers said they would want to receive money, products or services, loyalty points and other reimbursements for promoting or referring a product over social media or email. By doing so, businesses can put themselves in a strong position to grow and generate new revenue through new customer acquisition.

Now, what does your employee referral program look like? As critical as new customers are for your dealership’s continued growth, your employees are equally important to your business’ sustained success.

An effective employee referral program allows you to tap into your talent and make them proxy recruiters. The foundational aspect of this approach to hiring is ensuring your existing employees are precisely aligned and identify with your company culture. In other words, they have the motivation to recommend a friend because they feel comfortable and appreciated at work and have a positive outlook of the business.

How to Build an Effective Employee Referral Program

Let’s assume your dealership’s company culture is in excellent condition, but your recruitment costs are exceeding what you had forecasted on a yearly basis—with average turnover rates for salespeople at 71 percent, this is a likely scenario.

With this in mind, here are three simple steps that will help you build a referral program that takes much of the headache out of recruiting:

1. Expectations

As you put your program policy down on paper, you have to begin with clearly defined objectives and expectations—both from an employer and employee’s perspective. As the business, you need to run an audit of your staffing needs and how to best optimize your referral program to bolster specific departments. Are there a few employees reaching retirement age in the sales or service departments? Has someone in billing and accounting recently relocated? Are you rebuilding your marketing team? Whatever your short- and long-term needs may be, these goals are critical to the strategic success of your referral program. If you’re already sitting on a large stack of high-quality resumes for salespeople, direct your referral efforts elsewhere.

At the same time, your employees need to know who qualifies as a referral. Can it be their high-school buddy? Should it be a former colleague? How about a friend or classmate from college? Can employees refer candidates who have already applied for a position? Another consideration for your referral program is who can recommend candidates. In many organizations, those at the highest levels—including vice president and above—or those directly involved in hiring decisions are restricted from making referrals.

2. Incentives

As mentioned above, participating in an employee referral program comes with the expectation of some reward. The extent to which you choose to compensate employees for their successful referrals may depend on the role. For instance, a management position may offer an incentive at a higher rate than an entry-level candidate. That’s up to the discretion of the dealership and how you assign value for each referral. However, having a consistent, documented incentive is a way to show your employees that you take the referral program seriously.

Another significant consideration with your incentives is timing. As an employer, it feels better to wait to reward the referring employee—especially monetarily—until the new hire proves themselves to be a successful member of the dealership staff. From an employee’s perspective, this sends a confusing mixed signal. On one hand, you trust their referral enough to hire the candidate; however, you don’t have confidence that the new hire will last. So, you withhold the reward until six to 12 months down the line. This policy produces a net loss in terms of employee engagement and culture. Consider a two-step process where you pay a portion of the financial incentive at the time of hire and deliver the remainder after the new employee proves themselves.

3. Process

If you truly want your employee referral program to get off the ground, you have to make it as simple and straightforward as possible. The fewer obstacles employees have to go through or around to make a referral, the better the results. If you want to take a bare bones approach, you can simply ask employees to email HR with a name and contact number for the referral. Or you may ask them to provide the candidate’s resume as well. Regardless, your employees aren’t the one applying for the open position, so avoid making the process that complicated.

No matter how simple you make the process of submitting referrals, an integral, ongoing step is consistent communication with staff. Make sure they know to whom they send referrals, and that they understand their role in the review process and the employment requirements through the onboarding stages—meaning some organizations require the referring employee to remain on staff throughout the first 30 days of employment. It’s also a smart idea to include a communication plan in the case you don’t hire the referral. If a candidate doesn’t meet the established requirements, you must clearly explain that so that your staff doesn’t perceive it as a slight against their recommendation.

What Employee Referrals Mean for Your Dealership

What would you think if you weren’t getting any customer referrals? Clearly, this is bad. One on hand, you likely have operational issues in one or more department that are keeping your clients from telling their friends and family to visit your dealership. On the other, you have to invest significantly more in other marketing channels that are an expense on your P&L sheet.

The same rules apply for your employee referral program. Forbes contributor Liz Ryan explained that if you’re not getting any referrals from your existing staff, it’s could signal a couple of issues:

  1. Your dealership’s culture is suffering. Your employees are telling you that they wouldn’t want their former colleagues and friends working at your dealership.
  2. Your existing referral program is filed away somewhere that hasn’t seen the light of day in the past 12 months. Nobody remembers this is even an option.

As a result, you have to increase your budget for job board advertisements and other recruitment channels to get the attention of prospective candidates. Either way, it’s not an ideal case.

An effective employee referral program doesn’t replace other recruitment strategies, but it certainly alleviates much of the strain—after you’ve put in the hard work to build a dealership culture where talented people want to work.

Thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing the guidance on employee referral programs. Learn more about Hireology. And join NCM’s experts for more actionable advice for hiring the best people for your team in our Finding Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plan classes.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/09/3-simple-steps-to-an-effective-employee-referral-program/

Rick Wegley

Announcing Something New at NCM: Service Advisor Training

Mechanic wrench tool

I’ve been chomping at the bit to make this announcement, and we just got the go-ahead!

After years of your asking for service advisor training, I’m happy to announce that the NCM Institute has added one to our roster. And I’m delighted to be teaching the first class in October.

Good management starts with a solid team

This is a significant change for NCM, which has focused on executive and management training since it began six years ago. But, as we’ve fielded call after call for training designed specifically for the professional service advisor, we knew this was an issue we had to address.

And, honestly, it made sense. Managers and other leadership team members need accountability management skills in all areas of the dealership to effectively growth dealership performance and profit.

We looked into it.  The challenge was selecting a provider that aligned exactly with our fixed operations management training philosophies—and there are many qualified vendors in the market today—but that mission, we discovered, was impossible. In response, we created our own.

Piloting the program

In 2015, the NCM Institute began offering our own service advisor training course on-site at dealerships across the country with tremendous success!

We started with the goals, objectives and philosophies of the NCMi service and parts management training curriculum, and then built our advisor training on these principles. The response has been remarkable, and I genuinely believe it’s because our approach gives your service advisors the same messaging as your managers who have attended our management training courses at the Institute. It streamlines management and gets everyone moving in the same direction.

service_advisor_training_banner

Protect your front line

As a service guy myself, I’m particularly excited to be part of this new opportunity at NCM. Service advisors are our front line personnel, and they are the ones who, individually, represent both our dealership and our manufacturer to our client base on a daily basis. And yet the opportunities to develop the soft skills and leadership potential of this group are few and far between.

Frankly, our service department deserves better.  As managers, we need to re-evaluate our strategy for improvement in our operations, and understand that our dealerships are judged on financial and customer satisfaction responses that are a direct result of the performance of our front line personnel.

Developing peoples’ full potential should be a goal of every department manager or dealer operator. And where better to start than with the front line employees who drive the future prosperity of our customer retention and repurchase efforts?

Seats are limited and filling fast for this inaugural event in Kansas City on October 27, 2016. Please reach out to NCM Client Engagement Specialist Jeff Hardin at NCMi@ncmassociates.com for more information and to reserve your dealerships’ seats.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/09/announcing-something-new-at-ncm-service-advisor-training/

Alan Ram

Phone-Ups that Show-Up

Manager Instructing Customer Service Representatives In Office

Every time I ask a group, whether it be dealers or salespeople, what the goal of a sales call is they tell me it’s to “set an appointment.” No, it’s not! Let me explain with two scenarios.

Scenario A: You take a sales call.  Everything goes great: You get their name, you get their number and, yes, the caller sets an appointment. You hear barking in the background, and you start talking to the caller about their dog. Now you’ve got some Golden Doodle-rapport. Unfortunately, that appointment does not show up.

Scenario B: Someone calls, and you get their name and number. That’s no problem—you again use the highly effective technique that I call “asking them for it” that works just about every time. This customer will not set up an appointment no matter how hard you try. They just won’t commit. But, later on, that evening, they come in and buy.

Which would you rather have? (And that’s not a trick question.) Clearly Scenario B, right? But they didn’t have an appointment! So what? The goal of a sales call is not to set an appointment but to have someone actually show up at your dealership!

Show-ups count, not appointments

There’s a big difference between setting up appointments and having people arrive. I’ve had plenty of salespeople come up to me excited at a dealership and tell me that they just used one of my word tracks on a customer on the phone, and it worked great. My question is always, “did the caller show up yet?” If not, nothing has worked “great” yet. Not until they show!

Now, I’m not telling you not to set up appointments, so relax. Of course, you want to set up appointments. But let’s face it, nobody comes into your dealership because you got their name and phone number: “Hey honey, that salesperson at Friendly Kia just got our phone number! Let’s get down there!”

Messaging matters

By the same token, nobody comes into your dealership simply because you set up an appointment. They come in because of everything else you say. What reasons are you giving customers to come to your dealership, other than to see you?

If you can’t answer that question, you need to figure it out!  Most telephone training in the automotive industry is simple:

1. Get their name.

2. Get their phone number.

3. Smile, because a smile can be heard over the phone. (This is true, by the way.)

4. And then, set up an appointment they probably won’t show up for!

You need to step up your game! To get people to come to the dealership, you must give them solid reasons to show up. The next time someone asks you what your goal on a sales call is, I want you to say: “It’s to get someone to actually show up!”

Ready to train your team? Check out in-person training options through NCM Associates, and discover our online platform, NCM OnDemandAlan Ram’s Management by Fire course offers additional tools for your dealership training needs.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/09/ups-that-show-up/

Joe Basil

From the 20 Group: A Plan to Address Falling Gross and Net Profit

dollar bills cash and car keys

We’ve had a good run. From 2010 to 2015, new car sales steadily increased and total dealership gross profits trended up along with net profits and blue sky values. But, beginning in the middle of 2015, things started to change. Some franchise sales rates began to flatten out. Then, the overall market started to level. Manufacturers began clawing for market share by raising incentive spending, and it became harder to sustain our customary net profits.

The evidence is in: Net profits are falling

Concerns about net profit aren’t just anecdotal. Within the thousands of car dealerships and 30-plus vehicle lines that we track at NCM, all but three vehicle lines had increased net profits year-over-year from 2014 through June 2015. Mid-2016, however, only seven car lines out of the 30 we track had improved net earnings year-over-year from 2015 through June of 2016. The remainder had YOY net profit decreases.

Build your plan

It’s no news to anyone that it will be challenging to generate the same net profits in the coming years. The real question is, what you are doing about it? As a dealer or general manager, it’s your responsibility to recognize what’s changing in the marketplace, acknowledge it and adapt.

Having been through oil embargoes, manufacturer strikes, 21% prime rates with 14 percent unemployment and several recessions, I can help. Carefully consider the following list of questions, then use the answers to develop your strategy:

  1. Are you making excuses or taking action?
  2. Have you accepted the reality that you will have to make some adjustments in your business plan going forward?
  3. Based on the volume of business and gross profit you know you will develop, have you built a financial model that generates your desired return on investment?
  4. Have you set a date to initiate changes?
  5. Have you shared the information with your management team and challenged them for suggestions and solutions?
  6. Have you reviewed your organization chart to determine if you have the right number of people?
  7. Do you have the best people in the right position?
  8. When have you last ranked your management team on leadership abilities and results?
  9. When have you last sat with your CFO/controller and reviewed expenses line by line?
  10. When have you last sat with each department manager and discussed expenses line by line?
  11. Have you identified areas in which you are underperforming and determined the cause?

Success is still possible

You can still make a lot of money and do very well in a flat market when you identify changes, acknowledge them and take action to adapt.

During my years spent working with dealers and business owners, I consistently have found that sharing and reviewing financial data with management teams and then showing them how to improve a particular financial performance metric is one of the most efficient ways to identify opportunities and increase market share and profits.

If you are a member of an NCM 20 Group, it’s even easier to do this. I recommend a page-by-page and line-by-line composite review with your department managers at your dealership. It will be a productive meeting and, once they understand how to change a number, you’ll be amazed by the suggestions and ideas they have for improvement.

Tell us below how your team is coping with falling profits. Need more help? See how Joe Basil and his NCM colleagues can help your dealership through 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/09/from-the-20-group-a-plan-to-address-falling-gross-and-net-profit/

Susy Campbell

A Local’s Guide to New Orleans

Cafe_du_Monde_New_Orleans

Taking place in a famous party town, I know that many dealers are looking forward to a great January convention. But there’s so much more to the Big Easy than the French Quarter. I chatted up some NOLA locals to get the scoop on the best off-the-track sites you can visit on your trip.

Haunted History Tours                  

Dabble in New Orleans’ occult past. Haunted History Tours offers a variety of fun late-night activities to scare and delight you. One popular option is the Vampire Tour, which starts nightly in front of St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square. They also have a Voodoo Tour and Tour of the New Orleans Cemetery.

boarding pass banner

Fine Dining                    

The foodie opportunities in New Orleans are endless! You may want to try the 2015 restaurant of the year, Sac-A-Lait. The menu changes frequently, but each presents Sac-A-Lait’s modern take on traditional Louisiana cuisine. You may want to start with alligator and move onto snapper or the best Gulf fish at the moment. But—no matter where you dine—be sure to check out amazing regional beer options.

The Laura Plantation       

Explore NOLA’s rich and complicated past with a tour of the Laura Plantation. Spend an afternoon at the antebellum home and grounds while historians share the story of Laura Lacoul, a Creole woman who grew up on the plantation, using her memoir to illustrate lives of the plantation’s women, slaves and children.

Garden District Walking Tour     

Hop on the trolley to visit NOLA’s beautiful Garden District. A fantastic alternative to the bacchanal revelry of the French Quarter, the district is home to many luxurious antebellum houses. Plan a walking tour to see the private properties, including the Payne-Strachan house where Jefferson Davis died. Make time to visit Lafayette Cemetery, one of the areas fabled “cities of the dead.” Once you have your fill of the sites, pick up lunch and a few souvenirs on Magazine Street: Sucré is a staff favorite for pastries and macarons.

New Orleans Beignets                      

So, this isn’t exactly a secret, but my contacts confirm that Café du Monde really is the beignet mecca of New Orleans! They have a number of locations, but the French Market café on Decatur offers a sprawling outdoor patio that lets you relax while enjoying a café au lait, a plate of sugary beignets and some of the best people-watching in the city. It’s open 24 hours, so go late if you’re feeling adventurous!

Going to New Orleans in January? Why not fly for free! Enter NCM’s contest and win two free roundtrip tickets to New Orleans.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/09/a-locals-guide-to-new-orleans/

NCM Associates

#AskNCM: How can I grow my collision division when DRPs are locked up?

DRPs—Direct Repair Programs—can be a massive component of a collision center business. But, reminds NCM expert, Steve Hall, DRPs aren’t the only thing that can drive business! If you have customers, you have ample opportunity to grow this service.

Get Steve’s solutions to bring more collision work to your shop.

Improve your collision center’s profits with our upcoming class, Principles of Collision Center Management.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/09/askncm-how-can-i-grow-my-collision-division-when-drps-are-locked-up/

Lycia Jedlicki

The Zero-Cost Solution to Increase Automotive Net Profit

Success concept

How can I retain more customers and net more profit? I hear a variation of this question at every dealership and 20 Group meeting! Today I’m sharing my definitive answer.

The Zero-Cost Solution to More Automotive Net Profit

All sorts of products and services claim they’ll improve retention and profit. Here’s the thing, though—no matter what you buy, what franchise you run or what budget you operate with—there’s only one real solution. Accountability management.

Accountability management is the cornerstone of NCM’s philosophy. It’s so important that we teach it in every NCM Institute class. Many managers struggle with it, though; when I ask managers what their biggest weakness is, they often will tell me “Accountability Management.”

How can you overcome this challenge? Here are two case studies that will help you create a strong accountability culture at your dealership.

Case Study 1: Focusing on Ford

During my recent NCM Ford 20 Group meeting, a service manager explained how he brought NCM’s tenets of accountability management into his department. These simple tactics yielded a profound result: service advisors had an increased understanding of their roles and could better contextualize their performance against the rest of the team.

Here’s what he did. First, the service manager performed a monthly evaluation of each advisor. After discussing the assessment with the Advisor, he turned the report into the general manager/dealer.

What and how did he evaluate each advisor?  The following items were rated “Good, Fair or Needs Improvement, and the evaluation included a place for comments:

1. Prompt friend greeting

2. Patient, good listener, polite

3. Provides customer an agreed upon time

4. Makes promises that can be kept

5. Pulls history files

6. Knows status on all current vehicles

7. Status update before promise time

8. Presents required maintenance

9. Prepared before customer arrival

10. Clean, organized workstation

11. Update daily log sheet

12. Write up “Early Birds” before doors open

13. Acknowledge customers when busy

14. Meets customer at vehicle

15. Personal appearance

16. Smiles/Thanks customers

17. Helps other Advisors when needed

18. Provides clear, complete write-up

19. Utilizes “Comeback” system

20. Provides clear estimates

21. Promptness to phone/courteous

22. Returned Surveys

23. Carryover process

24. Walk around

These probably look pretty basic to most people; however, we must always inspect what we expect! By putting expectations in writing every month and going over it with each advisor, the manager able to lead the team to success. And it didn’t cost a penny!

Case Study 2: The Forgotten Machines

Last week, I visited a dealership that has both an alignment inspection machine and tread depth inspection machine on the service aisle.

While doing a repair order analysis and observing the service aisle my first day there, I found that they were not utilizing either machine and had not sold a single alignment. Talk about a poor return on investment!

After addressing the lack of sales with the service manager, we came up with a plan.  Every car was going to be inspected, and we would measure the results at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily using a dry erase board in his office. Advisors were required to record how many alignment checks were performed and sold, noting them on the board.

Positive results were nearly instant. The first day after launching the initiative, seven alignments were sold. The following day, we had six alignments sold before 11 a.m.  This did not cost the dealer anything, the Service Manager just starting holding his people accountable. Just imagine how much this will increase net profit in the long run!

Tell us below how you hold your team accountable. Need help with accountability management? Discover how Lycia and her colleagues can make a difference at your dealership.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/09/the-zero-cost-solution-to-increase-automotive-net-profit/

Robin Cunningham

#AskNCM: What’s the biggest untapped opportunity in Retail Automotive today? Part I

Robin Cunningham reflects on the last five years to identify the critical thing you need to do today to maximize your dealership’s opportunities.

Discover Robin’s recommendation:

Be sure to check out Part II! Have another for Robin or the other #AskNCM experts? Leave a comment below! 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/09/askncm-whats-the-biggest-untapped-opportunity-in-retail-automotive-today/

Emily Johnson

Five Steps for a Successful 20 Group Meeting

composite

It may be just three times per year or a weekly email, but as a member of an NCM 20 Group, you likely work with the Client Services & Meeting Coordinators team at NCM. We are the “behind-the-scenes” meeting planners who make all the cogs in the machine of a 20 Group work together.

We do many tasks to ensure your meetings are productive and fun, but there are a few simple things that you can do yourself to ensure you have a more successful 20 Group meeting:

1. Actively work towards completing your commitments from the previous session. By making a conscious effort to post those commitments in your office and look at them daily, you’re staying in the 20 Group mindset year-round. You’ll make the most of your 20 Group Membership and put to work the tips and tricks you’ve learned in the meeting.

2. Submit your financial data monthly. Always. The BEST meeting composite is a COMPLETE meeting composite. At NCM we know that while we live, eat and breathe NCM, you do not—you are focused on your business! But if you come to a meeting without submitting financial data since the last one, you can’t get the full benefit of the agenda’s composite section.

And that’s where our moderators shine. They LOVE financial data and want to help you dig into that composite and find where your numbers can improve (and praise you for doing other things well)! So next time you get a reminder email from me or one of my fellow coordinators, open it and do whatever you have to do to get that data submitted on time! Trust me; you’ll be glad you did.

3. Make your flight & hotel reservations. One of the things I end up spending the most time on as a coordinator is chasing reservations. I ensure that every member (and his or her guests) has a place to sleep and reservations for dinners, activities, receptions—even golf outings! And it’s my responsibility to make sure no one in the 20 Group gets left behind, so I don’t rest until I hear from every member and member candidate.

You can minimize travel and hotel issues (and disappointments) by watching for my email reminders and taking a quick five-minute break to complete the two attached forms. Then, click on the link to reserve your hotel room. Not only does this ensure that your hotel and activities are booked, but once I have your registration, I won’t bother you about it until our next meeting. And the fewer emails, the better, right?!

4. Read the agenda. Your 20 Group moderator (or, in some cases, your coordinator) will send you the meeting agenda before your first day. The agenda is the roadmap for your 20 Group meeting, and it is critical that you open and review it immediately. Look for parts that are bolded or bolded AND red. These are the most important items, and you will need to set aside an hour or so to prepare these items before your next meeting.

Every group is different, so for the sake of simplicity, I’ll just say that everyone has some assignment to complete before their first meeting day. Make sure you get it done, so you can get the most from the time you have with your peers and moderator.

5. Write your commitments. Remember those commitments I was talking about earlier? Well, we’ve come full circle! If you write your commitments down in the meeting room (or even better, go to the NCM Member Website and type them into our new online form), please send them to your moderator or coordinator. We will type them into a nice, tidy sheet that you can print and hang on your office wall, making it easier to complete Item 1, above, in time for the next meeting.

What’s my point in sharing these five action items? My number one goal is for you to have a great experience with us. Each NCM 20 Group is a partnership between the member, you, and NCM—aka me and a bunch of other cool people who work together in Kansas City. Our collaboration can’t succeed if we don’t all put in our best effort. I promise to do my part and, if you do the five items above, you’ll reap the benefits from doing yours!

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/five-steps-for-a-successful-20-group-meeting/

Kevin Baumgart

The First 7 Days: Why Onboarding Millennials Is Critical to Employee Performance

Coffee Girl

With each passing day, dealerships have to reconcile the fact that they will need to hire an increasing number of Millennials. What does this mean exactly? Like any normal demographic shift, older Americans are retiring and younger generations are filling their positions.

The big differentiator between now and previous generations is that the incoming group is such a huge segment of the population. According to Pew Research, Millennials – those between 18 and 34 – now number more than 75 million in the U.S., pushing them past the next largest group: the Baby Boomers.

What Does the Millennial Shift Mean for Dealerships?

This is meaningful for your dealership for a number of reasons. First of all, Millennials are in the middle of a job-hopping trend that has been growing increasingly pronounced over the past decade. For example, research from LinkedIn found professionals who graduated between 1986 and 1990 average 1.6 jobs during their first five years in the labor market. Workers who graduated between 2006 and 2010 have an average of 2.85 jobs during the same timeframe.

On top of that, Millennials are pretty stark in their self-assessments of their level of preparedness for the workforce. Bentley University released a study that revealed Millennials give themselves a grade of C or lower on being prepared for their first jobs.

When you consider the ramifications of these trends, you have the chance to recognize the importance of an onboarding program that keeps employees engaged and less inclined to look for work elsewhere.

Make Onboarding a Competitive Advantage

Building a dealership with the right talent will extend into the overall positive performance of the business. Employee onboarding is a fundamental aspect of the overall engagement framework of a top-performing business. With Millennials taking up a growing segment of the overall talent pool, keeping new hires engaged early on is even more important.

Strictly concerning financial performance, having a formal employee engagement program can make all the difference. A recent report from Aberdeen Research found that companies that have programs aimed at building employee loyalty achieve a 15.5 percent year-over-year increase in annual revenue – compared to 12.3 percent for all other organizations (Link to PDF report).

Meanwhile, these top-performing organizations also generate higher annual revenues from customer referrals, and more of their sales team members achieve their annual quotas compared to companies that don’t have an employee engagement strategy.

How Are Companies Creating Impactful Onboarding Programs?

Consider the first week of a new employee’s time on the job. At the end of the first seven days, do they:

  • Have a clear sense of their role within your dealership?
  • Understand your organization’s culture and expectations?
  • Feel as though they are socially integrated?
  • Have confidence in their abilities to fulfill their responsibilities?
  • See a direction forward as they continue along their career path?

These questions can help you get started understanding whether your dealership has an effective onboarding program.

Here are a few tips to ensure you’re keeping Millennials engaged from the very start.

1. Limit Traditional Learning Strategies

It’s important to remember that onboarding is not the same as training. There are certain aspects that will cross over, but, in large part, your onboarding program should be squarely focused on integrating new hires into your dealership. Certainly, you should be taking the time to introduce company policies, benefits and other fundamental information for each new employee. However, your onboarding program should get Millennials out from behind a desk and next to a mentor within your dealership who they can shadow. This will enable them to get hands-on experience and information about the processes and practices that go on during a regular day.

2. Begin Employee Recognition Early

From the very beginning, your dealership should work on integrating ways to help Millennials feel that they’re making significant progress—and you have made the effort to recognize them for it. A recent article for the Society for Human Resource Management found there’s a growing trend among organizations to invest in social recognition tools. A simple “thank you” goes a long way with respect to encouraging engagement among new hires, especially when you’re using social platforms that enable a millennial workforce to do so quickly and conveniently.

3. Customize Their Experiences

Whether or not it’s a positive attribute, Millennials are known for their love of personalization. From their Spotify playlists to their Starbucks orders, customization is a central component of their daily lives. They expect this to transition to the professional world. For instance, it’s common for new staff members to get introductory materials, clothing and other items during their first few days on the job. By adding their name or including references to topics or trends they enjoy, you increase the likelihood that your new hires will have a positive outlook and impression of your dealership.

By understanding how Millennials approach their professional lives and careers, you put your dealership in a better position to create an effective onboarding program that will make your business more productive.

Remember that this generation is less loyal to their employers than previous ones, meaning your onboarding strategy is even more likely tied to the long-term success of your business than you may have originally thought.

Special thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing their insights on onboarding process. Learn more about Hireology. And join NCM’s experts for more actionable guidance for hiring the best people for your team in our Finding Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plan classes.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/08/the-first-7-days-why-onboarding-millennials-is-critical-to-employee-performance/

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