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Vauxhall addressing dealer skills gap with management programme

By creating a new management and leadership development programme which identifies and addresses the skill gaps, Vauxhall has generated an unprecedented level of support from its dealer network.

Vauxhall has encouraged its network managers to complete an on-line self assessment followed by a competency based interview to ascertain any development need an individual may have. This not only effectively targets individual skill gaps but saves the dealership money as they are only required to complete the specific training modules identified.

Retail network development director Chris Roberts will explain how the manufacturer’s new approach forms part of the Vauxhall’s long term strategy to propel the brand to the forefront of choice for new car buyers when he speaks at this year’s AM and IMI People Conference.

The conference takes place at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, prior to the prestigious AM100 Dinner on 12 June.

Incorporating an online psychometric profiling tool provides an assessment of the manager’s potential, highlighting natural capabilities and patterns of behaviour. The AMA Trait has been mapped to the Automotive Management Accreditation (AMA) Competency Framework and also provides a measure of potential competency.

“We found the average manager required to complete three to four modules from the supporting curriculum which in itself, is highly encouraging,” explained Roberts. “However, motivating and coaching has proved thus far the most prevalent skill gap and we are now able to tackle this in a highly effective manner with the support of the network.”

Demand for the AMA Trait has proved so strong since the programme’s launch late last year that Vauxhall has had to increase the number of external accredited practitioners administering the programme from five to 13 to cope with demand.

“The traction has been absolutely phenomenal,” said Roberts. “It just shows that as a brand working with our retail partners we have developed a training programme which is cost effective and very well targeted. There are circa 700 managers in the network and so far 526 have completed the assessment and we are now training to those gaps which makes absolute sense from both a practical and value-for-money point of view.”

The supporting training curriculum that consists of eight two day modules is also accredited by the IMI and those who successfully complete the programme receive certification to that effect and are added to the IMI’s Professional Register.

The certification is aligned to Vauxhall’s Gold Level standard and must be renewed every three years
Other recent developments include fast track induction programmes for sales consultants with an increased emphasis on product knowledge, said Roberts: “Our aim is to create an Apple store experience whereby anyone in the showroom can talk eloquently about our products but we also have to make training cost effective and thereby much more accessible to people working in the dealer network.”

To achieve this, Vauxhall has ‘detached’ its product knowledge training from the traditional curriculum so as to appeal to a wider section of the network and has developed a bespoke training plan based on individual requirements.

Added Roberts: “We are extremely confident that this new approach to training will pay dividends for both us as a brand and our network partners as investment in training leads to higher employee engagement which in turn leads to increased customer satisfaction and ultimately drives retention and future sales.”

Tickets are available to dealers, manufacturers and automotive businesses, with a limited number of supplier tickets on sale. To book, please contact Emma-Louise Kinnaird on 01733 395133, email or visit

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