2022 ALL STAR | FIXED OPS: DEALERSHIP
Managing partner, Henson Brand Dealerships
Eric Barbosa was at a Women in Automotive conference in 2018 when he heard something that influenced how he would hire future employees at Henson Brand Dealerships.
A conference speaker said the majority of car decisions — from sales to service — were influenced by women. Barbosa, managing partner of the Henson group, decided then he would make hiring women a top priority.
About three-quarters of the service advisers at the group’s three domestic brand dealerships are women, as is one service manager. Across the group, the entire finance team and half the sales staff is made up of women.
Henson Brand Dealerships is in Madisonville, Texas, about 100 miles north of Houston. It is part of Foundation Automotive, which has offices in Houston and Calgary, Alberta.
Barbosa, 41, said women are organized, attentive, competitive and good communicators. They also make customers feel comfortable — especially women who may be intimidated in a dealership service department.
The dealership group is very active on social media to attract buyers and service customers. But it also uses those channels to recruit employees. Prospective female hires might be more convinced to come work for Henson after seeing female staff members profiled in social media videos and posts.
To recruit women to the service department, Barbosa said it’s important to understand what motivates them. Most important is work-life balance. To help with that, Henson instituted a four-day workweek over the summer. It also offers part-time employment.
One other recruiting strategy is showing a career path. Barbosa said women don’t want to stay in one job, so the group provides the tools they need to pursue other opportunities.