Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F21

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

Hospitality industry ripe for fixed ops recruiting

S

consulting and training firm, says he knows of
one dealership group that has hired seven
people who worked in retail sales for a major
cellphone carrier.
"Those employees have the people and selling skills, plus they're comfortable with technology," he told Fixed Ops Journal. "So they're
a perfect fit for the automotive industry."
As service managers recruit new employees,
Wegley suggests that attributes such as energy, personality and good communication
skills are more important than technical skills.
"You can teach people whatever they need
to know to become a service adviser, for example," he says. "But you can't train someone
to be personable or energetic."
- Ken Wysocky

ome industry observers believe furloughed fixed ops employees won't
return in droves to their jobs for various reasons. Other business sectors
hard-hit by unemployment may offer fertile
ground for hiring replacements with service-oriented skills.
Take the leisure and hospitality industry, for
example. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics compiled in April shows that this
sector has suffered staggering job losses, with
more than 7.6 million people out of work - or
nearly 47 percent of total positions.
Furthermore, about 75 percent of hotel employees have been laid off or furloughed - an
impact that's nine times worse than the devastation following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, accord-

ing to the American Hotel &
Lodging Association.
"Some furloughed [fixed
ops] employees might not
want to come back to a new
role," says David Long, executive general manager of
Hansel Auto Group in Santa Rosa, Calif. "But I think it
Long: "Super easy"
will be super easy to find
to find good talent
some really good talent that
has the skill sets we're looking for. ... The hospitality industry - or any industry that requires
good customer service - will be a good area to
look, for sure."
Rick Wegley, an instructor at the NCM Institute run by NCM Associates, an automotive

STAFFING

This could be a great time to hire
women in service - here's how

continued from previous page

working at one time, we need to maintain production without having technicians under a car
for eight or nine hours, five days a week," he
says. "Plus, we want to keep as many techs
working as possible so we don't lose them."
So far, the results are promising. Arens says
technicians that were producing 80 hours of
flat-rate work during a five-day, roughly
45-hour week before the pandemic now churn
out 70 hours of flat-rate work in 36 hours.
That may sound counterintuitive, but Arens
explains that technicians start a day out slow
and end it slow as they begin to clean about
an hour before a shift ends. They also take an
hour lunch break. Now there are only three
days with those inefficient periods instead of
five.
"So they're more efficient, even though
they're working fewer hours," he says. "Techs
that initially said no to it now love it."
At Hansel, which at peak level had furloughed about 170 fixed ops employees, Long
expects most workers to come back. But
they'll need to be attuned to treating every
customer the way they want to be treated.
That may mean wearing masks, using more
technology to maintain social distancing or
picking up and dropping off vehicles at customers' homes, he says.
"As such, we need incredibly nimble employees that can pay close attention to consumers' preferences," Long explains. "We can
be tone-deaf and just sort of lean in, thinking
this is temporary. But I don't think that's the
case." 

I

ployees are female, according to a National Auncreasing gender diversity is an ongoing
tomobile Dealers Association study released in
challenge in fixed operations. But the
2018, the latest year for which data is available.
coronavirus pandemic just might offer a
Borches says it helps if dealerships develop less
make-lemonade-from-lemons moment,
technical job criteria. Instead, job descriptions
especially if many furloughed employees
should emphasize attributes such as likability,
don't return, observers note.
professional appearance, positive attitude, willTo capitalize on the potential opportunity,
ingness to learn and communication skills.
two female executives at auto groups with enDelegas is CEO of Lovering Auto Group, which
viable levels of female employment, Liza
owns three stores in New Hampshire. About
Borches and Vanessa Delegas, suggest leverone-third of the group's 94 employees are feaging referrals, making job requirements less
male, including a female assistant parts
technical and using social media.
manager and two female service advisBorches says most women don't
ers, she says.
have the automotive industry on their
To help recruit more women, Lovlist while job hunting. But it's importering instituted a program that
ant for a dealership's service drive to
awards employees $500 if someone
reflect its customer base in regard to
they refer for a job gets hired and
age, gender and race.
stays for six months. "And if I have a
"We can't wait for women to apply
great waitress at a restaurant, I give
for positions; we need to pull them
Borches: Less
her a business card," Delegas adds.
in," says Borches, CEO and dealer
technical criteria
Borches and Delegas also note their
principal of Carter Myers Automotive
dealerships' websites include a video featurin Charlottesville, Va. "That means we must
ing profiles of female employees.
be more intentional about recruiting. Contact
It also helps having female ownership (Delwomen we know who are vendors, current
egas is a co-owner of the family-owned group)
customers and existing associates.
and promoting women from within. And suc"I call it the three R's: relationships, referrals
cess begets success, they both agree.
and reputation."
"If you're a woman and see a building full of
About 25 percent of the roughly 650 employmen, it's intimidating," Delegas says. "But if
ees at Carter Myers' 15 dealerships are female,
you're a woman and see other women in leadincluding 45 percent of its service advisers,
ership roles, it's exciting."
Borches says.
Nationwide, just 19 percent of dealership em- Ken Wysocky

JUNE 2020

PAGE 21



Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020

Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F1
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F2
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F4
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F5
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F6
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F7
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F8
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F9
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F10
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F11
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F12
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F13
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F14
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F15
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F16
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F17
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F18
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F19
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F20
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F21
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F22
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F23
Fixed Ops Journal - June 2020 - F24
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