For dealers, your store often tells the story of your life. This is especially true for those second- and third-generation dealers. Every day, your dealership puts on a show for the consumer. The customers are your audience and you are the director. When you open the doors, you are pulling back the curtain for all to see. You’ve brought in the cast and paid their wages. You’ve done your job. Now, are you sure everyone knows what they are supposed to do? While we hire talent to run our dealerships, we don’t always guide them with written job descriptions. We must.
“Places, everyone, places,” the director shouts. You have put everyone in position, but can you ensure your cast understands what needs to be done? Do they know what is expected of them?
Many of your sales managers and service writers have been given the title and responsibility because they’ve succeeded on the sales floor or as a service tech. They’ve filled in during the absences of other managers and excelled. When promoted, though, few are given quality-written job descriptions detailing what their position entails because we feel they already know what is asked of them. Or perhaps a job description wasn’t provided solely because many don’t know what to include.
A job description simply states the roles and responsibilities required of the position, along with a reporting structure and details involving hours and expectations. It should address future questions, employees’ potential for growth/earnings, functions of the job, skills needed, and how actions will be conducted.
Here are the basics for every job description:
Confirm the title of their position. Representative, associate, consultant, specialist, coordinator, manager, and director all mean different things to different people. Having the job title spelled out will deter them from asking for a special designating word on their business cards (i.e. the ever-popular “sales specialist” being chosen over “sales representative.”)
This serves as a reference guide to comparable salaries within the industry. Make sure the starting salary is noted, as well as mid-range (and high) expectations for the position. If applicable, specify commissions, performance bonuses, percentage of profit, and any potential raises for long-term employment.
Purpose of the position
Specify the objectives of the position. This section allows you to place a little weight on their shoulders and makes them understand how important of a role they play in the overall success of the dealership and the team.
Job description/list of duties
Beginning with the most important tasks first, list every duty required of them to perform their position. As the list continues, detail what their role is in the completion of each task. Are they simply delegating the work and ensuring it is done or is it their personal responsibility to complete it?
Hierarchy and team
Define who they will be reporting to and what individuals will be reporting directly to them. Many new employees come in with the expectation that due to their title of manager, everyone without the title of manager reports to them. This can be a sensitive situation in those dealerships where the Internet department team reports solely to their director and that director reports to the general manager only. It is best to clarify this “structure” of the departments upfront so there is no confusion and specify who is on their “team.” A new employee understanding their supervisory role is imperative to their success and the streamlined processes you’ve created within your dealership.
Ideal candidate/skills needed
The new employee must be told the skills they are going to need to be successful in the position. If there are certain solutions, software, or programs that are imperative they know going in, it is best to detail it here. If they are to have completed certain tasks during their past experiences, describe how the ideal candidate for the position will utilize those abilities.
We’re in the auto industry and it is well known that we often work insane hours. That being said, it is necessary to assign specific work hours expected for the position and include the dealership’s operating hours as well.
‘And other duties assigned’
The beauty of the car business is that no two days are the same. Every customer is different and each day there is a new circumstance to handle or concern to assuage. Including “and other duties assigned” tells the employee they are responsible for those random chores that essentially help “take care of business.” Hopefully, we are all hiring those candidates that are looking to take on more responsibility and willing to fill up that rare free time during the day with goal-oriented objectives on their own.
This statement of duties should be provided to every new employee on day one to overcome any unforeseen conflicts in the future. After all, it is usually the bad performance from an employee that causes the store to lose a sale or valuable customer, but in the end, it will be you who shoulders the blame. Preparing a written, detailed job description for each and every position in the dealership (no matter how big or how small) provides total accountability because they now “know their role.”
With their roles clearly defined, you are setting them up on a path for success. As the director, you’ve given them their lines, their blocking, and all of the notes necessary for them to perform for the public day in and day out. The rest is up to them to put on a good show.