Technology in the auto industry and the workplace are constantly growing and updating, but if finance companies and dealerships aren’t careful, these changes could leave them with an uninformed and unprepared workforce.
The emergence of disruptive technologies and practices such as ridesharing, autonomous vehicles, and online direct dealing are already beginning to send ripples throughout the auto finance industry. As companies work to invest resources into exploring these new avenues, they also need to strengthen and reorganize their workforce to meet the changing tide. Employees that understand emerging new tech are growing to be more and more essential.
In addition, new millennials are entering the workforce, which only stems more fierce competition between small and big companies looking for savvy and qualified hires.
In that regard, here are four fundamental ways to bolster human resources development to adapt to a changing auto finance industry:
1. Attracting Millennials to Your Company
“In terms of integrating millennials … what we found is that there are many stereotypes out there about what millennials are looking for from an employer,” Craig Schleicher, senior manager of the consumer finance group at PwC, told Auto Finance News. “In a lot of our research, we’ve looked at scenario-based analysis of multiple different worlds emerging, and companies really have to think about what is their competitive advantage when it comes to recruiting.”
HR will need to find a unique way to stand out in the marketplace, and Schleicher believes that companies will become specialized in the branding of their company culture — whether that’s emphasizing social responsibility, promoting flexibility and work-life balance, or targeting other forms of rewards and non-monetary compensation.
2. Training Your Current Employees
Judging whether or not to hire new talent or outsource to a third-party will be an important task for HR, but they shouldn’t disregard the current employees. Training employees in new skills is vital, Schleicher said.
“Upscaling is critically important because there is so much institutional knowledge and opportunity for cultural transfer and really leveraging the value your current employees bring to the organization,” Schleicher said. “We see a lot of companies investing in online training classes, seminars, and other ways of getting their current teams familiar with the new technologies.”
3. Increase Collaboration
To foster a more collaborative work environment, companies should look into compensation and whether it “drives more individualistic behaviors or more collaborative behaviors,” Scott Gunnell, vice president of sales strategy and development at JM&A Group, told AFN. “In the dealership world, you want both. You want someone to perform on their own but also looking to the bigger puzzle.”
“Goal-setting is another [option],” he said. “It’s really including the team around the goals within the store, so there’s that buy-in, that collaboration. If there’s a disagreement, how can we facilitate an environment in the store where we can be more collaborative and understand the why. The why is very important in today’s world.”
Gunnell also recommended instituting more team-based activities into the store. One example was getting the entire department together and identifying individual strengths and where there are opportunities for the team to grow based on company goals.
4. Implementing New Technology
Companies are implementing new communication-based technologies, such as video conferencing and message boards, into everyday operations. There are also companies investing in chat bots for internal support teams.
“For instance, you’ve got an underwriter that has a complex question,” PwC’s Schleicher said. “Having a chat bot that they can interact with to naturally get that advice real-time … were processes that were typically done by humans that are now being performed through data integration and technology solutions.”
Other useful technologies include virtual or augmented reality, which Schleicher said are “great tools” for creating simulations and running data analytics to identify top performers and patterns.