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A Focus on Your People at Access: Innovation in Chicago

A quick quiz: Which movies put the following quotes into daily circulation? “Follow the money” and “Show me the money.”

The respective answers are “All the President’s Men” and “Jerry McGuire.” Props to anyone who knew these without looking up the answers.

The quotes came to mind today while reviewing the 2022 Workforce Study from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). Overall, dealers fared much better with retaining people than I’ve ever seen. Between 2021 and 2022, dealers saw turnover decline across all positions covered in the study. The average overall turnover rate declined 12 percentage points, year over year, to 34 percent.

That’s an impressive year-to-year improvement. Some of it, I’m sure, relates to realizations at many dealerships, especially in the height of the pandemic, that they won’t be in business without their people. If dealers downsized, many took the additional steps of assessing who they wanted to remain on their teams and why.

But another key factor that can’t be ignored is the money. Across the board, turnover improved as income increased. Further, turnover improved the least when the income increases at lower amounts.

You can see this dynamic with sales consultants and service advisors/writers. For the consultants, income increased 39 percent year over year, no doubt a reflection of the record-high profitability dealers achieved selling new and used vehicles, while turnover at the position declined 26 percent. For the advisors/writers, income increased 11 percent while turnover dipped 5 percent.

The year-over-year trend leads me to other questions: What will happen when the money diminishes? Will dealers continue to see reduced turnover or will it revert to its more troubling historical levels?

Unfortunately, we won’t know the answers until time passes. But here’s what we know right now: It’ll take more than money to see sustained improvement in turnover and retention for dealerships.

That’s why I’ve invited generational researcher Jason Dorsey to keynote the upcoming Access: Innovation event, September 13-15, 2023 in Chicago. He’s focused his career on what makes employees, across generations, truly tick in the workplace. With his keen knowledge on the motivational factors that go beyond money, and his keen understanding of the car business and the people who work for you, dealers at Access: Innovation will gain insights and understanding that help them sustain their employee turnover and retention improvements.

Jason’s keynote is another reason I’m excited to bring Access: Innovation to vAuto dealers next month. To be sure, many Access: Innovation sessions and workshops will focus on the money—specifically the money inherent in each used vehicle, and the processes that enable dealers to achieve optimal ROI for each used vehicle investment. Jason’s going to help us all think beyond the money as it relates to the people dealers trust to continue to make it.

If you’re interested in attending Access: Innovation, you can view the agenda here. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. When you’re ready to register, call Anne Spencer at 888-841-3701.


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About the Author

Dale Pollak serves as executive vice president for Cox Automotive, a position he’s held since the company he founded, vAuto, became part of the Cox family in 2010. At Cox, Dale helps drive integrated innovation across the company’s auction, media and software divisions to help dealers increase efficiencies, sales volumes and profitability. The latest innovation, ProfitTime GPS, debuted in 2021 and helps dealers move beyond Velocity to a Variable Management strategy for optimizing the ROI for their used vehicle investments. The innovation, built on the breadth and depth of inventory data science at Cox Automotive, extends vAuto as the premier inventory management solution provider for franchise and independent dealers, serving more than 14,000 dealers. Dale has authored six books that showcase his perspective and thought leadership for the retail automotive industry. He published his latest book, “Whole Truth: A Fresh, Money-Making Method for Wholesale, the Most Misunderstood Side of Your Business,” in 2022.

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