Career Paths for Dealerships

Written by Eric Petersen, CIC

I know you want to keep your best employees with your company for as long as possible, especially since good team members are hard to come by. And you probably already know that one of the top reasons why talented employees quit is because they do not see a future with their employer. What is even more frustrating is that most of the time the advancement opportunities are there or could be created for those high performing employees, there was just a breakdown in communication and the employee went looking for a different job.

How do you easily inform your current and future employees of the advancement opportunities within your company? My simple answer is to build a career path! Construct an easy to follow diagram to show how an employee can progress through your company. Even if you are a dealership and there are not  many positions available, set up different levels of their position based on skills and training so they have an idea how to develop their career.

To start creating your career path, ask yourself these four questions:

  • What are all of the different positions in your company today?
  • Will you be adding any new positions in the near future?
  • What is a logical career projection for an entry level employee?
  • What skills do you need at each position?

Use the answers to these questions to begin laying out the foundation of the career path.

When guiding some of my clients through this exercise, I’ve found it helpful to take a sheet of paper and turn it horizontally. Start with putting the entry level position on the far left side and move to the right adding the next level positions one at a time. In between each position draw a line to show the progression of the advancement. There may be a point where the employee could move into more than one position, like Sales or F&I; split the career path to show multiple ways for the employee to continue their career.

Pro Tip: Got job descriptions? Use those to develop your career paths! You probably already have your career path figured out within the different job descriptions for your company. These should list the skills required for each position.

Once you have the layout of the career path assembled, make notes based on what differentiates each level from the previous one. For instance, if you have a Tech I and Tech II positions, what training or skills must the Tech II employee possess? It could be a designation like the Automotive Service Excellence certification or passing RV Technician training from RVTI or that they passed an in-house test to make the jump into the next level. Plotting these requirements out onto the diagram will quickly show any employee where they are in the career path and give them an easy visual of where they can go.

Your next step is to hand the piece of paper with your career path on it to someone in your office that can make the document look good. Making this document attractive and easy to understand is very important.

Lastly, communicate the career path with each individual on your team. Make it crystal clear to them that if they invest in themselves and their careers they will get rewarded by moving up in the organization.

If you’d like to see a sample career path that we created, click here to download our freebie of the month! If you need additional help with hiring and recruiting or leadership training, contact DealeRisk today! Our Hiring and Recruiting Thrive Package can help address pain points within your dealership and take your hiring and recruiting practices to new heights!