To the Editor:
Fiat Chrysler's decision to offer free college education is a bold and commendable move that directly addresses the top driver of employee engagement: providing personal growth and career opportunities ("FCA to offer free college education to dealership employees," May 4, autonews.com).
Although [email protected] is clearly an industry first, many dealers and dealership groups have been using tuition reimbursement to their recruiting advantage with mixed success.
In the National Automobile Dealers Association's 2014 Dealership Workforce Study, 20 percent of the participating dealerships offered tuition-reimbursement benefits.
Free college education without limitations will provide a significant recruiting advantage.
However, to realize the full financial benefit from retaining top talent, FCA US and its dealers need to address three potential barriers to success.
1. Scheduled hours and work rules that make it difficult for employees to have enough time to take advantage of the program.
2. Work culture and management style that cause top talent to leave in spite of generous benefits.
3. Negative image and reputation issues associated with dealership careers.
Those three issues are also the key barriers that prevent dealers from hiring more women.
ESI Trends conducts the annual Dealership Workforce Study in partnership with NADA.