Good afternoon it must be 12 o’clock on the east coast because it’s time for hardison’s tips, i’m your host, brandon hardison, president of champion strategies and each wednesday.
During my lunch time, i send my students out to lunch, but i try to bring in some experts that are in the field to help you out.
We’ve had people representing service, we’ve had people representing bdc we’ve had people representing some of the best of the best with the sales process, but we wanted to do something a little bit different for today.
So i hope there’s some managers listening or want to be managers, because today we’re going to talk about as hr human resource calls it human capital, yes, people and we’re honored to have with us joe lockhart.
Now his father, craig i’ve been knowing for for a while, but they have a company that has been going and going competitions been coming and they’re still on top of their game, and that is automatic.
So welcome joe thank you brandon pleasure to be here and and a pleasure to meet you and i’m looking forward.
I love that word.
Human capital, that’s a that’s a mouthful and i think it kind of helps uh decommoditize, our our recruiting efforts and the human beings that we’re actually placing in dealerships.
I like that excellent.
So before i ask the first question, i know you’ve been around over 23 years and, like i said, you’ve had competitors come and go.
What gives your organization the stick-to-itiveness to still be around and dealers still want your services and the other ones go to the wayside? Is you got some special sauce and if you don’t want to share it, you don’t have to share it.
No i’ll share, but it’s real easy.
It’s human capital.
It’s it’s the same thing that we preach for our dealerships.
We’re not going to sit here and talk about you know you need to do this.
You need to do this.
You need to do this without doing it ourselves.
So most of our internal staff, i’d say probably 90 of our internal staff has been with the company anywhere from 10 to to all the way out to 23 years um.
You know we, we very careful with our hiring.
We hire for uh personality and culture and and all that good stuff to make sure they align with who we are as human beings.
Instead of just looking at a resume and saying yeah, you you kind of fit the bill, um and then obviously acclimate them to our culture and and make sure they they feel like they’re, a part of something special, and i think you know everyone talks about your First actual customer are your employees, so i try to treat it that much that way, myself as a leader and make sure all our people feel good about what they’re doing and and the people that they’re helping.
Conversely, as as they, you know, place people at various dealerships throughout the country outstanding now before i get to the first question, there’s one gentleman that was a tremendous hire because he’s out there blowing it up his his name is anthony.
I don’t want to mess up his last name.
Is it santo, santorini santangelo? Why he’s a beast he’s all over the social network? So man he’s he’s letting people know that uh he represents automatic, so how’d you find him anthony he’s he’s a wild man he’s.
He works his butt off man, so uh, you know anthony came to us.
That was just we were looking for.
Some new recruiter trainers, um.
You know he he came from the automotive industry.
Obviously he worked in a dealership didn’t want to uh.
You know put in the the dealership hours anymore and wanted to kind of go out on his own.
All of our on-site recruiter trainers are all independent contractors, so it gives them that freedom to kind of go out and do their thing and build their own business and anthony will tell you himself.
He spoke to the social media side of it.
That was all intentional and worked on that doesn’t come naturally to him.
He flat out hated facebook in the social media platforms when he first started, and that starts with with my dad’s training.
I know you and i are going to talk about training a little bit here and i know it’s obviously something very near and dear to your heart, where it doesn’t matter how well you recruit.
If, if you’re not um, you know helping along the way and hitting those mile markers one week, one month, you know six months a year and really instilling your culture and the things that that individual needs to do to be successful.
Then they’re not going to be successful uh, so he took to heart the the lessons that my dad, you know gave to him about social media and really reinventing yourself and letting people know who you are and being proud of who you are and that’s what anthony Does he wears his heart on his sleeve and he’s non-stop and he’s passionate about it, and it comes through not just on social media, but when he’s in in a dealership and when he’s talking to to new hires, they feel it and and the results speak for Themselves outstanding, so so, let’s get to it so right now, as we both say in your opinion, what is currently the biggest recruiting need within the automotive industry, sure tax tax and more tax, [ Laughter, ], it’s uh, it’s probably become about 50 of our overall business Flow anymore is recruiting technicians nationwide.
I would probably in about 60 to 70 rooftops right now, looking for tax and it’s normally at that kind of a b level.
You know most dealerships want some some level of experience a couple years.
Experience uh, but you know i we are seeing some dealers that kind of get the big picture of yeah.
Those are nice to have and you need your your a players, but you need that farm system too.
So i see a lot of dealers bringing along apprentice texts and and kind of having them shadow, some of the the senior techs and – and you know, start them at the bottom – hire for the right type of person again and mold them into what you need them To be but yeah, the demand is not going anywhere on the fixed side uh in regard to texas technicians – and you know part of that’s also that the labor pool gets a little depleted and is going to keep getting more depleted.
As is uh younger kids, aren’t going to you know, train schools as much aren’t really exploring that uh career.
So you know, i think, now more than ever, it becomes important to groom your own technicians instead of just trying to go out and pluck them from uh from another store from a unemployment field.
Obviously we’re in a unique situation here with because of covet.
There has been some reshuffling and there have been some individuals available that aren’t normally available but um.
You know, i think you still need to be proactive in that search.
You can’t just throw an ad up and and wait for these types of technicians, experience technicians to come to you.
It’s not going to happen.
I you know, that’s that’s a small fraction of what we do when we recruit technicians, we’re actually bringing the opportunity to them and what we found is, if you put it right under their nose, they might not be actively looking.
But if you say hey, here’s who we are as a dealership, here’s what we’re offering here’s, what we’re all about! They’ll, listen and they’ll, hear you out and hear what you have to say and consider making that change or joining your organization outstanding.
Now, on that, i know because you said text, text text, yeah, um, there’s an organization where i know the the gentleman who runs it but richie bellow has an institute where he deals with veterans uh.
What’s your success with people who already work on mechanical issues, transitioning into technicians in the automotive industry, absolutely very high, when we can get clients to to listen and and understand that, hey just because he doesn’t have his chrysler level.
3 certification doesn’t mean he’s not going to be able to come in and do these things it’s going to take him.
You know sitting down and going through the classes and doing the training, but he already has the aptitude and the know-how.
You speak specifically to veterans.
We’ve seen great success: uh placing veterans not just for technicians, you know, but in a sales role as well, an entry-level sales role.
I mean you talk about we’ll, we’ll see a resume for a technician and they’ve done a couple tours and you know they’ve they’ve been in the line of fire working on humvees working on jeeps.
It’s like guys.
I you know he might not have his price of level three, this guy’s, this guy’s, you know fix the transmission with people shooting at him.
I think he can come into your garage and learn a few things.
It might be worth taking a look at so we’re all about it.
Excellent and just still sticking with that, you did touch on many school systems, are eliminating the vocati vocational out of that, or maybe there’s not enough independent vocationals in certain markets.
So that’s why you were saying that uh, one of your advice is to groom start grooming, your own people yeah, and something that i’ve heard from from dealerships as well, and some of our service managers they’re the quality of the education that they’re getting at some of The trade schools they feel doesn’t really translate to what they need these guys to come in and be able to do so.
If we’re accepting that and we’re accepting the fact that there is a smaller labor pool of of ready, plug and play technicians, you know let’s go out there and let’s find people like you’re.
Talking about that are maybe mechanically inclined grew up around cars.
You know, might you know, have a general interest in automobiles and working on cars, and you know you you put them with you.
Do an apprentice program.
You put them with a senior tech.
You give that senior tech a another couple dollars an hour or whatever it may be, and they shatter them and and they learn from the inside and now you’re able to hire not just for a resume and for certifications, you’re again you’re able to hire for someone Who matches your culture and is going to be? You know, mesh well in your service department, not cause problems down the road and, and you can mold them into whatever you want them to be.
As far as what skill set you want to implement in them and what you want to teach them, i like that now um, we talked about your longevity and i know jersey is where you started.
You have auto max at any time, try to go to a local school board or district and explain uh that the money that you can make as a technician is is going to be a lot better than them.
Uh just flipping some burgers not to knock people who do that but sure if they just had some experience, but have you tried doing anything uh with the local school systems or anything? So we haven’t at the high school level um we we have tried and tried and tried with uh uh uh.
Oh man, what’s the name? What’s the big tech school i’m drawing a blank on the name of the school uti uti, so we tried uh several years back and said: look we have so many openings.
You know just we’re this isn’t a pitch.
The graduates aren’t going to have to pay us a dime, yes, we’re a recruiting company.
Yes, we get contracted by the dealerships and they do pay us for the hires, but the need is is just astronomical help.
Us let us help you place these guys and frankly, there wasn’t a whole lot of interest to be honest with you.
We didn’t, we didn’t get very far with it um.
I certainly would encourage all dealers to attempt to do the same.
I think a lot of times those schools kind of get uh, intimidated or worried about a middleman for lack of a better word.
Um and look you know at the end of the day we are recruiting recruiting company and – and some of these inefficiencies are why we exist and why we’ve been around for 23 years, but we just want to see things improve it.
You know everyone will go to the sales side of it and – and you know you talk about the turnover and the industry and people like well, that’s great for you right, it’s like it’s not great for us.
We don’t want to see that you know we.
We want clients to have to hire one or two through the course of the year, not five or ten, and they lose them all in a month.
You know we want to provide quality candidates that solve problems for that dealership and it’s the same thing with tax and if, if it means the dealership doesn’t use us and they do build those relationships with local trade schools or with uti whoever it may be, then That’s a win for us and a win for the industry as a whole, so i’d love to see that i encourage dealers definitely to build up relationships with their local high schools and trade schools beautiful.
Thank you, joe second one as we move on, because time is ticking and my students will be out of their lunch and ready for class if there was one easy fix in your mind that dealers could implement today right now to improve the recruiting efforts.
What would that one thing be sure, and it’s funny people are gon na laugh because it sounds really simple, but it should be easy, but it’s not easy and that’s availability.
We see it a lot with our remote, recruiting campaigns where you know we need a a pretty decent window to get especially these types of candidates.
Let’s talk about tax, or even you know, a gm, a gsm role, anything that requires a significant degree of experience that candidate probably is, is currently working in another job or has other interviews lined up? You know their schedule.
Their window is going to be very small for, for a dealer or a service manager to say hey.
I can see them for two hours on wednesday.
That’s not gon na cut it, and and look i get it everyone’s busy, we’re all very busy.
It’s a crazy industry.
The hours that we put in in this industry to make the whole thing go are significant, but it comes back to is this a priority for you or is it not a priority you know is how important is human capital to you? How important is this higher to you? How much money are you losing by not optimizing this position or having the right person in this position? So it starts with that mindset of this is a priority.
It doesn’t matter what else i have going on i’ll see them whenever you set the appointment for them i’ll meet them at lunchtime if they have to come over on their lunch break, because they’re not going to take a day off from their current job.
To come, see me right and then along those same lines actually be available.
You know there’s a lot of times.
You know we sent a candidate in and all this problem came up.
This problem came up.
It’s like someone else needs to handle that problem.
I i i don’t care if it’s 15 minutes 20 minutes, you make a valuable candidate for a difficult to fill.
Position sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
The best case scenario is they come in? They pay lip service, they go for the interview, but they’ve already checked out they’re not going to take that job.
You made me, wait, i’m i you know, i i didn’t get treated the right way.
If this is how you treat me, i can only imagine any treat customers i’ll pass.
So availability is a huge one and again it sounds so simple.
I understand the challenge, but it’s a must.
No, i love it.
We need to inspect what we expect, because we forget many times they they are watching us and it do.
I see myself making a career change here, their lack of not being on top of it.
I don’t change my mind.
Yeah you you’re right, uh, moving forward.
Yeah, what do you think dealers can do to help reduce the overwhelming turnover you touched on that? But we have sales teams.
We have turnover.
Some managers actually believe that we accept 100 sales terminal.
Anything to throw to that yeah i mean, i obviously that’s a loaded question.
I know we’re short on time and – and i i hit on i hit on a few of them already just some specifics, um, you know with the technicians, obviously, and and really all positions.
You want to be proactive instead of just saying throw an ad up.
We’re awesome come work for us.
You got to go, tell people why you’re awesome and you got to start the conversation in a lot of cases for a lot of positions, and then we talked about availability as a big one.
But really you know, i think what gets left out and i guess this isn’t technically recruiting.
But it’s the prologue to recruiting and if you will the epilogue to recruiting so the prologue is having a clear defined intentional culture and vision for who you want to be.
As a dealership and then of course, going out and finding those people, otherwise you’re just throwing darts at a dartboard or you know, we talk about not judging a book by its cover, a lot of people.
Think of appearance, yeah, of course, but i’m talking about a resume too.
You start just typecasting a resume of uh.
They don’t have this type of experience or worse, yet or just as bad.
They have the experience i’m looking for.
So i’m just going to hire them.
What kind of human being are they do they align? Do you have a culture and do they align with that culture, in your vision of who you want to be and how you want to treat your customers so before you can even start to hire the right people? You need to know who you are as a dealership and what you’re all about um and then on the back end of it and again i this is something we talked about before the show and and you talk about the hr side of it in human capital.
Onboarding to epilogue after you find them, you get them in there, you like them.
What does the first day look like? Are you sitting them down at a desk with a stack of paper and say sign all these, and then you throw them out on the floor with you know, trailing that your your middling, you know, sales guy or whoever it may be, and then what does one Week, look like what does one month look like? Are you checking in with them? Are you continuing to advance them? Ask questions hold them accountable for for upholding the things that that you believe in as a dealership and the things that you train them to to do.
So i think, retention, obviously a big part of his effect of recruiting, but i think setting up for effective, recruiting and then effective, onboarding and training have as much to do with it as recruiting outstanding you.
You said that word accountability.
Oh leaders leaders hate to hear that word accountability, but sir uh one thing with that and then we’ll wind it down looking at a study of all sales, whether it’s major account key account up and down the street home sales.
What they’re pretty much saying is that the most crucial part is that day, one to 90 days if they don’t feel comfortable in that career change, they’re gone.
What’s your experience, yeah and i i go even more micro than that.
I feel like it’s our one.
It’s hour two, it’s it’s! It has to be a big deal, bringing this person on.
They have to feel good right away when they go home that first day they need to go to their husband or wife and say sweetheart.
This was my experience today.
This is where i need to be.
I i’ve been missing out on not being a part of this organization, my entire life and then you’re, starting on the right foot.
Now, obviously, like you said, it’s no one’s a finely molded perfect part of your organization, just because they’re pumped up and and you know you got them ready to go – you got to implement your training procedures and show them how you guys do things and again the Accountability is huge and i think part of the reason, a lot of managers and leaders don’t want to talk about accountability is because then they have to look at themselves and they have to be accountable.
So that’s it and i think you know that’s part of you said kind of accepting turnover.
Well, we can just keep hiring more people.
We can just keep hiring more people without thinking of the cost.
The time everything like that, that’s just how we’ve always done it! Well, you know who’s really to blame here.
Maybe look inward hold yourself accountable, and then you can start expecting that from your sales people, your technicians, whoever may be within the dealership – okay, now last thing just for me, based on what you said, because naturally i’m in a large market in the south here, but From what i read and talk and hear from other people, we still have a tough time a person made a career change, but myself as that middle manager that desk manager, i interviewed, you told you all these great things, but we’re still not doing one-on-ones before shift After shift or when i’m managing by walking around anything, you can add to that or are you finding something different or no? No, no and – and i think that’s a big part of the problem – is the sink or swim mentality and just not checking in with people, and that comes back to the human capital thing where you might be missing.
This person might have something going on in their personal life that is affecting them at work, and you would never know that just from what are their numbers, you know how many do you talk to today? How many got out this month? How about we sit down like you said, and we have a conversation with them uh you know monday morning and not not a sales meeting a sit down like you said, a one-on-one, and then you know hey, i’m struggling with this all right.
Well, let me let me walk around with you.
Let me see what you’re doing, like you said, inspect what you expect and hold yourself accountable and find out.
What’s actually going on with that person treat them like a human being and see what they have going on in their life elsewhere and – and you know not just help them sell more cars and it might be sound, idealistic but help them be a better people, because At the end of the day or a better person, that’s only going to benefit you and benefit the dealership and everyone’s bottom line.
Love it joan, love it joe now before we let you go, and we do.
Thank you anything auto max has coming up anything.
You want to share to the people, that’s out there yeah, you know we’re we’re doing some things internally and we’re going to make some changes to our website and all of it’s in the general vein of bringing more awareness.
We’ve been around for 23 years and because you mentioned anthony perfect example, because our trainers and our on-site guys have done such a phenomenal job of branding themselves and letting people know that’s who we are as a company.
The other stuff kind of falls in the back seat.
So the technician recruiting you know and then this is this is an us problem.
People will come and say: oh you recruit texts too, and it’s like.
Oh my gosh.
What are we doing wrong here? How do they not know that so we’re we’re going to be rebranding ourselves and letting people know how much of our internal efforts and our revenue stream our business flow is based on remote, recruiting not on site recruiting but remote recruiting for all those other positions? Those positions that you know it’s not put up an ad and 30 people come into the dealership and you sort through them.
It’s more head hunting, it’s one-on-one, recruiting proactive stuff.
Like i mentioned for the technicians, we do a lot of that and we’re going to work harder here in the coming months to to help build our brand and help people realize that outstanding uh website.
How can they catch up with you? How can somebody yes or more yeah, auto max, recruiting and training it’s a mouthful, automatics, recruiting and training.
com? Is the website uh we’re big on social media, though i you know most of our communication.
These days comes via myself on linkedin my dad on linkedin facebook, etc.
Feel free to reach out to us my cell phone number i’ll, throw it out there, because i love talking to people i’d much rather talk than than do a facebook message or an email, but i know people get busy, but i’m at six: zero: nine, seven, zero! Five, six, any questions at all.
I love just talking recruiting.
I it doesn’t even have to be about you know.
How can we help you or how can you pay us to help you i’m always open for just picking my brain and and seeing if we can help you out outstanding joe? Could you give the cell phone number one more time slow it down? You bet man.
609 705-8646 outstanding, ladies and gentlemen, you heard it from one of the best joe lockwood and once again, automatics been around over 20 years.
They’ve had competition come at them, but they’re still out on top and the reason is you see it, they’re always keeping up with the changing time.
So hopefully you got something out of it.
I want to thank my guest, joe lockett once again, but i have to get back to class, so brandon hardison, as always in parting, you go out and make it a champion day.