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Putting people first in the automotive industry

NICOLL MULLINS is the Mercer Sub-Sahara Africa Workforce Products Leader and Principal Consultant
NICOLL MULLINS is the Mercer Sub-Sahara Africa Workforce Products Leader and Principal Consultant

THE turnover rate of people in the automotive industry is high – some dealerships have turnover rates as high as 70 – 80% – and should be a concern for all.

The question therefore arises – why is this the case and what can be done about it?

As a start, companies can put employees at the heart of the organisation.

In practice, unfortunately, the reality is different. If you look at the actions of companies, it tells you that finances are more important than people.

Companies look at sales figures quite frequently, but how many times a year do you have performance discussions? Maybe once or twice a year? It is most likely that most organisations look at sales figures more than they have performance discussions, because most organisations are
positioned that way.

If we want to be different, and if we want to change, we need to do things differently.

This leads to the following questions:

– How should work be organised and how can value be created?

– How do we ensure our people thrive during a changing environment?

There needs to be a paradigm shift from where we are currently to change the future.

The Mercer Talent Trends Study 2018 identified five top trends to address the issue: Change@speed, working with purpose, permanent flexibility, platform for talent, and digital from the inside out.

Companies must have the ability to change, and change at speed, because the world is changing and moving forward. If you as an organization do not change, you will be left behind.

With this ever changing environment comes uncertainty for employees. This is where leaders come in – to create certainty in times of uncertainty.

When people realise that there is certainty in their near future, you’re creating a net of safety.

Could the reason for the high turnover rates in the industry be that we are not fostering certainty in the industry?

The ability to change at speed is emerging as a differentiating organizational competency.

Working with purpose
People stay with a company because they identify with that company and that identifying is rooted in the culture.

Culture is typically driven by the leaders within the organisation and they should set out the values of the company and define the purpose.

Mercer’s study found that thriving employees are twice as likely to work for a company with a strong sense of purpose.

Embedding a higher sense of purpose into the Employee Value Proposition unlocks individual potential and spurs people to be change agents.

It is the purpose of an organisation that can differentiate itself from others and keep employees better engaged.

Permanent flexibility
According to Mercer’s study, 2% of HR leaders in the automotive sector say that flexible working is visibly present in their organisation, although 50% of employees want their company to offer more flexible work options. More than 40% of employees though are concerned that flex impacts on

We need to ask ourselves how we can increase flexibility.

Flexibility isn’t only about working wherever or whenever, but it is also about rethinking what work is done, how it is done, and by whom.

Platform for talent
Organisations are becoming smart platforms for matching skill supply with work demand while maximizing human creativity and ambition.

Despite this, Mercer’s study found that only 36% of HR leaders provide analytics on the effectiveness of buy, build, and borrow strategies.

People, and employees, want safety, security and the knowledge that there is a future for them.

If leaders create certainty, it will provide opportunity for employees to thrive. And if employees thrive, the company will in essence thrive, and it will show in the bottom line of the organisation.

Digital from the inside out
The world, and the industry, is already in the digital economy and we need to stop talking about “going digital”, because we are already there.

The ability to unlock growth in the human age will rely on how digital technologies can augment the human work experience.

According to Mercer’s study, 56% of employees say having state-of-the-art digital tools is important for their success.

The most important question a leader should ask is: Am I putting my people at the heart of what we do?

Put your people first, and profits will follow.
NICOLL MULLINS is the Mercer Sub-Sahara Africa Workforce Products Leader and Principal Consultant
– CAJ News

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