Which do you think is harder: hiring or keeping great employees? If we hire and train right, I believe retention is the easy part.

Prior to your new hire’s first day, we must create an induction plan to get them off to a fast and successful start. An induction plan outlines topics you want them to become proficient in, by when and who will teach them. This plan could last 4-8 weeks depending on the role and the training needed. Here is an example of a clear induction plan for a new salesperson and who should lead the activity:

Day 1

• 8-9 a.m.: Tour and introduction to team — Owner 

• 9-10 a.m.: Training overview and expectations — Owner

• 10-11 a.m.: Product overview — Sales manager

• 11 a.m.-12 p.m.: Product 1 training — Sales manager 

• 12-1 p.m.: Lunch with the sales team

• 1-3 p.m.: Product 2 training — Sales manager

• 3-5 p.m.: Product 3 training — Sales manager

Day 2 

• 8-9 a.m.: Review of day 1 — Owner

• 9-10:30 a.m.: Ordering process outline — Sales manager

• 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.: Fulfillment process outline — Sales manager

• 12-1 p.m.: Lunch with top salesperson

• 1-5 p.m.: Shadow top salesperson 

Day 3 

• 8-10 a.m.: Review products, ordering and fulfillment — Sales manager

• 10 a.m.-5 p.m.: Shadow a second salesperson 

Day 4 

• 8-10 a.m.: Review products, ordering and fulfillment — Sales manager

• 10 a.m.-5 p.m.: Shadow a third salesperson 

Day 5

• 8-10 a.m.: Proficiency discussion on products, ordering and fulfillment — Sales manager

• 10 a.m.-5 p.m.: Work the sales floor with top salesperson

All training should be documented. If the training isn’t documented, have the new hire document the induction plan and present it for review. Add missing information and the plan can now be part of a training manual.

During the induction process for any employee you should set expectations, see how fast your new hire learns, provide feedback and identify additional areas for training.

Share the Future

Retention is a never-ending process and every dealership management team must be proactive about it. There are many ways to entice your team to stay with you and here are three that I believe are very powerful.

First, over-communicate rather than under-communicate. Share the successes and describe the future of the dealership every month, every quarter and every year. Be sure to include the financial results. It is empowering and motivating for an employee to have visibility to company details.

Next, engage your team. One of the keys to having a great team is 100% inclusion and 100% involvement. The dealership’s leaders are responsible for 100% inclusion. Include the team in discussions about achieving your dealership’s goals. Many great ideas come from those who are in the trenches. Initiate processes that elicit feedback or brainstorm solutions on a consistent basis. Once you include your team, it is their turn to become involved. It may take a few weeks for them to fully engage because it is new and may be a change for them.

Third, develop the person. Personal development includes improving self-awareness and self-knowledge, learning new skills, developing strengths, improving health, setting and pursuing goals, and assessing progress. I encourage you to create a personal development framework for your dealership. It could include simple actions like: one hour training every 3 weeks, scheduled development conversations every month, or personal development plans where everyone identifies 1-3 areas for improvement in a set timeframe. 

When a dealership shows interest in helping a team member develop, the team member grows and becomes more committed. When individuals grow, the business will grow. 

Remember, hire slow and fire fast. Take ownership in helping every team member be their best.