TO THE EDITOR:
There is a new focus on retail auto careers, an effort that includes some dynamic outside experts. But the industry and those experts are still tiptoeing around the elephant in the room -- the demographics and communication styles of the existing male-dominated front-line culture.
Millennials and women, who share many values, both in career needs and communication styles, are no longer the future. They're here!
And while focusing on recruiting is all well and good, those efforts will do little to retain many of those potential hires once they interact with the existing culture at most retailers.
What to do? Begin to focus on retention as well as recruiting. Before retailers do anything, they need to answer this question: What is the profile of my existing and future customer base, and how is that reflected in both the demographics and communication styles of my front-line staff?
You don't necessarily have to replace people. Begin training to adjust your culture to the new customer reality. There are experts available to help.
It's a "two birds with one stone" exercise. By educating your front line about the needs and communication styles of the new customer/recruit, you'll get more business. Plus, the fact that you can show potential millennial and female hires that you are proactively training to adjust to their needs as customers will aid in the recruitment of those two groups for employment.
ROGER CONANT Houston