So Yates now places ads strategically in places where women are more likely to see them — namely social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. One of her dealership's service advisers responded to an ad on Facebook Marketplace for a shuttle driver.
A key strategy is to put women in leadership roles and then listen to them, said Joseph Cajas, general manager of Covert Ford-Lincoln in Austin, Texas. Three of the dealership's managers and seven of its 12 service advisers are women, he said.
"To listen and to hear what it's like from their perspective is probably the best thing that I've ever done in my entire career, and I don't understand why more of us that are in our positions don't do that," Cajas said. "It's a much better work environment when there's different perspective than just guys who think they know everything."
Dealers should lean in to women's natural skills, which vary a lot, said Kelly Ross, CFO of Morgan Auto Group in Tampa, Fla.
"They don't just have to work in the accounting office," Ross said. "There were a lot of females out there who said, 'I don't want to sit behind a desk and type on a computer. I want to be in front of a customer. I find a passion in turning wrenches. I'm really good at analytics, so I want to be in the parts department.' "
Managers who listen to such feedback and match women with roles that fulfill their aspirations will be better off for it, panelists said.
"That overall has given us the ability as an industry to include people we never thought to include before," Ross said.