Best PracticesDealership MarketingDealership Operations & Processes

How to Define, Identify and Build an Employment Brand for Your Dealership

When you consider the amount of money and effort dealerships devote to advertising, it’s clear they recognize the importance of a strong consumer brand is critical for success.

According to an eMarketer report, “The US Automotive Industry 2015: Digital Ad Spending Forecast and Trends,” digital ad spend is expected to grow from $7.3 billion in 2015 to more than $12 billion in 2019. Netsertive research found 90 percent of auto dealers are utilizing digital strategies – including paid search, display ads and retargeting ads. In this regard, dealers are far outpacing manufacturers and other auto industry businesses.

With this type of investment in building brand awareness, it’s obvious that car dealers believe that the investment in developing a strong consumer brand will deliver a positive return on investment. Your dealer’s brand is a driving force to establish the credibility that buyers seek out when purchasing a new vehicle.

While building a strong consumer brand is an acknowledged best practice, many dealerships place little effort or have overlooked the importance of creating their Employment Brand

What is a Dealership Employment Brand?

In the simplest of terms, your employment brand is the perception that prospective and current employees have of your dealership. In the case of job applicants, it’s the sense that prospective employees get when they see a job advertisement or visit your website to learn more about your dealership’s employment opportunities.

As an employer, creating an employment brand that establishes credibility, goodwill and trust that attracts top talent is as important as attracting car buyers.

What is the Value of a Strong Dealership Employment Brand?

Your employment brand is the foundation of your recruitment strategy because it showcases your dealership as a potential employer and differentiates you from other local dealers. It can be the difference between the best candidates knocking on your door or simply hiring your competitors’ castoffs.

With each year, the employment market becomes more competitive due to evolving demographic and economic trends, meaning your dealership will find it increasingly difficult to find the top talent. By not investing in your employment brand, you’re settling for mediocrity. You’re sending the message that you’ll hire anyone and everyone, regardless of cultural fit or shared values.

At the same time, your employment brand will set expectations for existing staff members and future candidates. All personnel should have a clear understanding of the characteristics, skills and business philosophy that you value above all. By doing so, you’ll have a better chance of increasing employee retention rates and fostering stronger morale because you’ll have a staff consisting of like-minded individuals working toward a common goal – instead of people just there to collect a paycheck.

How Do You Identify Your Dealer’s Employment Brand?

Formally describing your employment brand may not be something that you’ve given any serious thought towards, but it’s likely a concept that has been floating around in the back of your mind since you first started in the car business.

Identifying your employment brand begins by taking a long, hard look at your current business structure, operations, standards and practices.

To get started, consider asking yourself these questions:

  • What’s the expected balance between management and autonomy for daily tasks?
  • Are workers more interested in generating revenue or providing value for customers?
  • How are teams organized to support overall growth and meet business objectives?
  • How rigid or loose is the organizational hierarchy?
  • What level of transparency and freedom of information sharing is expected?
  • How diverse is your workforce?
  • Do you have any unique benefits or features that differentiate you as an employer?
  • How does your dealership participate in the wider community in which it is located?
  • How do you support employees with benefits and do you provide a clear career path?
  • What are the most important aspects of your company’s culture that make employees successful?

This is just the start. There are countless other questions dealership owners and decision-makers should be asking themselves to help identify their dealership employment brand. The next step to the process is implementation.

How Do You Promote a Meaningful Dealership Employment Brand?

Once you identify the core components of your employment brand, it’s time to promote your dealership to prospective employees based on those characteristics to attract the right job applicants.

Internally – it’s critical that a get buy-in from top leadership. Employees at every level of the organization should be able to recognize that what you portray through your employment brand is the one that actually exists, and the values you uphold match the realities of working at your dealership.

Externally – Digital outlets like social media (esp. facebook), content management, and online job boards have made it exponentially easier to promote and communicate your dealership’s culture, values and employee benefits .

Another digital outlet (often overlooked) for promoting your employment brand, is an informative and impactful career website.

When buyers visit your dealership, they’ve done their due diligence and thoroughly researched the vehicle and dealership prior to purchasing. Similarly, job seekers are conducting extensive research when deciding whether or not to apply for a job. Job applicants do judge books dealers by their covers, and a poorly designed career site, or lack thereof, can quickly sell your dealership short as a great place to work.

How are you currently promoting your Dealership’s Employment Brand to attract top talent for hire?

Join this discussion with your answer(s) right here in the DealerRefresh Dealer Forums


Adam Robinson is the co-founder and CEO of Hireology – the leading integrated hiring and retention platform in retail automotive – working with ov...