Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 14

14
* FEBRUARY 2024
2023 RETAIL SALARY SURVEY
Success with less stress?
Compared with older generations, younger workers
are more inclined to speak up and seek help
when they need it, said Michael Norris,
dealer principal of Volvo of Edmonton.
That allows the dealership
the opportunity to
provide help.
SUPPLIED PHOTO
A new generation
of workers is
rewriting the rules,
which is bringing
positive change
to the dealership
environment
By TODD HUMBER
T ORONTO CORRESPONDENT
BY FAR THE BIGGEST
drawback to working in automotive
retail is the pressure-cooker
environment of achieving sales
targets and performance metrics,
according to the results of the 2023
Automotive News Canada Salary
Survey of car dealership staff.
Seven of 10 respondents cited
the high-stress
environment
as a negative
aspect, far
outpacing the
second-place
answer -
low status -
selected by
22 per cent.
Respondents
could choose
multiple
Norris:
Providing a
psychologist
at Volvo of
Edmonton
costs about
$15,000 a
month, but
there's an
" unbelievable "
return on the
investment.
FILE PHOTO
answers from
a list provided
in the survey.
But a new
generation
of workers
is rewriting
the rules, and
that's bringing
positive
change, and a bit of a relief valve
to the industry, said Michael
Norris, dealer principal of Volvo
of Edmonton.
One of the biggest evolutions
is how employees are being treated
and managed, with the command-and-control
hierarchical
style being eroded, Norris said.
" I've been in the car industry
a long time - I'm turning 60, " he
said. " That style of management
from 20 or 30 years ago? That
doesn't exist here, and it doesn't
work. "
Norris is struck by the entrepreneurial
spirit and cooperative
nature of millennials at his dealership,
those born from roughly
1981 to 1996, as well as employees
from Gen Z, who tend to be
in their 20s. Volvo of Edmonton,
which has about 65 employees,
changed its compensation practices
to eliminate incentives for
internal competition.
" New, used and finance are
all pooled together, and then we
divvy it up, " Norris said. " That
changes the culture quite dramatically. "
WILLING
TO SEEK HELP
Norris said that compared
with older generations, younger
workers are more inclined
to speak up
and seek help
when they need
it, which is an
opportunity to
provide them
with tools and
resources.
SCAN TO READ
THE COMPLETE
SALARY SURVEY
COVERAGE
Borrowing an
idea from a U.S.
college where his
son played hockey,
Norris connected with a sports
psychologist and now offers sessions,
100 per cent paid by Volvo
Edmonton, to help workers who
are struggling.
" I had one of my best techniRESEARCH
METHODOLOGY
The
2023 Automotive News
Canada Salary Survey was
conducted in October by
Research+Knowledge
=Insights, an independent
research company based
in Toronto. It calculated
the responses of 173 dealership
employees on the
audience list of Automotive
News Canada. The margin
of error was plus or minus
seven percentage points,
19 times out of 20.
Negative descriptors of working
in the automotive retail space
Survey question: In your opinion, which of the following
describe working in automotive retail?
(Respondents could choose more than one.)
High pressure for performance/sales
Low status
Low status
Poorly paid
Aaltonen: With younger
workers, dealership managers
" can't just shove targets out to
people and push them. We've
got to help them achieve that. "
SUPPLIED PHOTO
cians come in, and he's breaking
down, " Norris said. The Gen Z
worker was experiencing significant
challenges at home and was
distracted and unable to work.
" In the past, someone in his
shoes might have started drinking
to cope, or just quit, " Norris
said. Instead, he was able to steer
the employee to the psychologist
to get help.
It's not a cheap benefit, running
up to $15,000 a month, but
the return on that investment is
" unbelievable, " Norris said.
Younger workers demand better
work-life balance, said Bob
Aaltonen, dealer principal at West
Edmonton Volkswagen, North
Edmonton Kia and Vancouver
Volkswagen, which are owned by
Northwest Auto Group.
" They're not willing to invest
their entire day and life into it, "
he said. " They're fine to work
hard, but they want that balance. "
And while that might sound
like a negative, it's not, Aaltonen
said. He sees a strong connection
between the culture, performance
and employee turnover.
The group's hiring practices
have also gotten more sophisticated,
with a focus on finding people
who thrive under pressure and
overcome obstacles.
" In the past, we would pretty
much hire anybody with little
effort put into determining
if what we do is right for them, "
Unsupportive management
Not welcoming to women
Lacking diversity
Not welcoming to women
Lacking diversity
Not a challenging career
Not welcoming to people of colour
Source: Automotive News Canada 2023 Salary Survey
Aaltonen said.
Compensation has also been
overhauled, with less of a focus
on commissions. The move was
made coming out of the COVID-19
pandemic, when competition for
top workers was fierce.
" We can't necessarily
pay on commission
anymore. It's certainly
not exclusively on commission, "
Aaltonen said.
" A lot of our work has
migrated to more of a salary-plus-incentive
type
of model, especially if
they're new to the industry. "
NO
MORE DICTATORS
Perhaps the biggest
change has been how
Aaltonen's managers lead
their staff. Instead of sitting
in their offices and
dictating from above,
they're active on the
floor, working alongside
and coaching their teams.
" You have to be really engaged
and understand that we can't
just shove targets out to people
and push them, " Aaltonen said.
" We've got to help them achieve
that. "
These dealerships are on the
right path with young workers,
said Mark Beal, author
70%
22%
20%
19%
11%
10%
10%
7%
5%
5%
of " Win the Job & Thrive in a
Multigenerational Workforce. "
" They work to live, they don't
live to work, " said Beal, also a
professor at Rutgers University
in New Brunswick, N.J. " They
work to earn a salary to
then enjoy the greater
things in life - adventure,
travel, experiences,
all of that. "
Beal: The new
generation of
employees
wants a more
collaborative
workplace.
They want to
" work to live, "
not " live to
work. "
PHOTO:
UNIVERSITY
OF RUTGERS
WEBSITE
Older workers took
pride in going into the
office for 14 hours a day,
he said. But younger
workers take pride in
efficient work, taking six
hours to do something
that used to take a dozen.
They're tech-savvy and
not shy about trying new
platforms to get the job
done.
Dealerships would
be wise to tap into their
desire for collaboration
and team them with
experienced staff, Beal
said.
" You get the best of both
worlds. You get the value that
someone who has been doing it
for 25 years and understands the
industry better than anyone, " he
said. " We also get a new, innovative
perspective from the Gen
Zer. One plus one equals three. "
- ANC
20%
19%

Automotive News Canada - February 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - February 2024

Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - CT1
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - CT2
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 1
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 2
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 3
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 4
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 5
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 6
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 7
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 8
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 9
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 10
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 11
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 12
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 13
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 14
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 15
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 16
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 17
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 18
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 19
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 20
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 21
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 22
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 23
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 24
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 25
Automotive News Canada - February 2024 - 26
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