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NADA insight: attract and retain millennial employees

Carl Bennett

Millennials are now the most important part of your workforce.

Currently they make up 50% of your workforce. However, by 2025 this will rise to 75%, warned Car Bennett (pictured), director of North American consulting operations and sales, Reynolds Consulting Services.

In addition, 75% of your customers will be millennials, so “ignore them at your peril”, he said.

Millennials are defined as anyone born between 1981 and 2000, millennials are different to the previous generations whether it be Generation X, baby boomers and traditionalists.

Why are they different?

They are diverse, bilingual, 55% have shared a selfie and 83% sleep with their mobile phone.

Why should we care?

“The key challenge for CEO’s and their businesses is that employee turnover is on the rise.

“In a 2015 NADA survey staff turnover had increased to 36% from 29% in the previous three years. Only 33% of salesmen reach three year employment and there is a 72% turnover of staff in the sales department.

“The average cost to replace is over $15,000 per employee. This cost being made up of recruitment fees, advertising, training etc. So the cost of staff turnover is significant – just think what difference it would make to your bottom line.”

Millennials are eager to make a difference with 63% of them giving to charities and 43% actively volunteering.

Reverse the trend

You have to be a destination employer and should have a strong brand culture, Bennett said.

Your culture is your brand together with your values, your visions and your mission. Brand means loyalty and loyalty brings profit.

A dealership can have a number of key differentiators which will help attract and retain staff: 

• Work life integration

• Community relations

• Diversity and inclusion

• Top down transparency

• Innovation.

“Millennials are not all pay orientated but are more goal orientated.

However, because they are so used to communicating through their mobile devices they hate confrontation.

“Therefore, you as owners need to be act more as coaches than managers.

Don’t forget women

80% of females influence vehicle purchase decisions, but are only 18.5% of dealership employees

Millennials are now key to ongoing business success and tips to attract and retain millennials are as follows:


• Ask

-- Job expectations

-- Goals

-- Definition of growth

• Communicate

-- Job characteristics

• Use

-- Millennials to recruit others

-- Social media

-- Hiring assessment tools.


• Opportunities to work together

• Emphasise teamwork

• Mentoring

• Share decision making

• Open communication

• Management sharing decisions.

Challenge and engagement

• Frequent micro learning activities

• Job shadowing opportunities

• Variety of job tasks

• Peer learning opportunities.

Instant access to information

• Integrate

• Mobile tools

• Online communication tools

• Online resources customers use.

Organisational purpose

• Communicate mission statement

• Rational for management decisions

• Dealership history, goals, plans and how the company works.

Work environment

• Provide some flexibility in their schedule

• Encourage open communication

• Reward innovation

• Provide work-life integration

• Allow opportunities for some job autonomy.

Statistically if a millennial stays with you for nine months then on average they will stay with you for five years.

Key learning points

• Millennials are becoming the most important part of your workforce

• Shape your business to get the best out of these millennials.They will drive profit

• Attract high potential talent, offer a career not a job

• Design a recruiting and hiring process to reflect your culture

• Retain, engage and empower employees.

> BDO attended the latest National Automobile Dealers' Association in the US and brought back insight on a number of topics, including the above.

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