Diversity and Inclusion Means Growing Your Talent Pool

by Desiree Homer

Expanding on the Current Equality Conversation within Your Hiring Process

The conversation is happening. Business leaders, companies small and large, and individuals are discussing the social inequality facing today’s minority populations. It presents a unique opportunity for dealers to sit down and take a harder look at the dealership’s diversity. While attracting new talent and grooming existing staff for more leadership roles may already be part of your mission, your commitment toward erasing socio-economic lines at each phase of your hiring and onboarding process might be keeping your dealership from real growth and opportunity. Damon Lester, the President of the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD), joined Dealer News Today for a recent podcast discussion about the importance of self-evaluation in this moment. Moving society forward begins with authentic conversations within your organization. Ensuring your internal process fosters an environment of inclusion and diversity presents inherent benefits.

The Benefits of Diversity Among the Ranks

Diversity is simply beneficial to business. Show commitment to equality by giving all races and minorities an opportunity to grow within your teams. Increased diversity within your own operations is the best way to show off your dedication to the principle, while increasing your ability to attract committed customers from a wider expanse of the market. For example, f your plan is to target women car buyers, fhaving women among your sales staff can help attract that audience. We’ve talked before about diversity throughout the organization as being a largely untapped resource for troubleshooting, problem-solving, and new ideas. Often some of the most innovative business minds come from those who start in front-line roles and bring their various life experiences to the position. Some statistics suggest that two out of three dealerships fail to execute any hiring strategy at all. Shooting from the hip when filling open positions won’t work in today’s diversity-driven environment. Consider sitting down with your human resources managers and recruiters to get a plan, with actionable goals in place, to avoid joining the wrong side of these findings.

One Dealership Used Video to Tell Employee Stories

You may be wondering how you should tell your community that you’re a diversity-minded employer. Many experts suggest the talent pool recruiting process needs to remain in motion and ongoing, regardless of openings. Don’t wait until you have a position to fill to try and find a suitable candidate. Instead of rushing to fill an open position because you haven’t developed a bench of candidates, make sure you’re expanding your search to include new kinds of individuals, and keeping them informed about new opportunities. Encourage new applicants all the time, and follow up by making sure you’ve got a dedicated staff who can recognize genuine talent. One dealership in New Hampshire took this proactive approach and made use of videos to encourage applicants. The Lovering Auto Group wanted to promote the inclusion of women within their industry. The four-store group made videos of current women employees telling their own stories of growth and opportunity within the company. The videos became a huge success, and more women began to apply. Ultimately, more women car buyers began visiting the showrooms too.

Broadening Your Net & Growing Your Talent Pool

Minority opportunities are available in every corner of your dealerships’ operations. From part-time car detailers to multi-location management, finding the best person for the job matters. Don’t limit your pool of candidates to one job board or one recruiter. Instead, start by making a mission statement within your community about your on-going need to find and hire talented people of all backgrounds and disciplines. Now that the nation is having the diversity conversation out loud, it’s a great time to share what your dealership is doing to affect change and be inclusive. It’s not about aligning with politics or changing a brand name to be politically correct. It’s about recognizing that there are people, actual people, behind the movement who have real talent, strong potential, and brilliant ideas. Your willingness to find these individuals to fold into your teams and operations will serve as evidence of your commitment to your statement. The automakers are officially responding with donations and Black Lives Matter support. You can follow suit, but your efforts need to build from a mission to find the best individuals for your open roles, regardless of their background.

‘The Slumdog Millionaire’ Example

Talent doesn’t always lie within a candidate’s work experience. Life and situational experiences present valuable learning tools for us all. Winners come from all backgrounds and walks of life, much like the character, Jamal Malik, in the British film, The Slumdog Millionaire. If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s a must-watch. It depicts a candidate on an Indian game show similar to the U.S. popular contest, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. This young man makes it through the ranks of difficult questions, seemingly able to answer them all correctly. He wins not because he is overwhelmingly educated or has genius-level IQ abilities. He wins because each question he is asked takes him back to experiences within his life, many in unsavory conditions, and among horrific circumstances. His life experiences taught him and drove his victory on the popular game show, despite his less than impressive resume.


If you haven’t taken the time to re-examine your hiring and onboarding efforts, now is the perfect time to get started. Embracing diversity among your ranks means your dealership is open to growth and leadership in all areas. And right now, considering the pandemic and economic conditions, you might benefit from the added inclusion. Diversity remains good business.