Female Friendly: How to Attract, Hire and Retain Women as Employees

Only 26 percent of the workforce in the automotive industry, including manufacturing, are roles held by women. With this in mind, what is your strategy to attract, hire and retain women? Having more women on staff in all positions including leadership roles will result in higher profits overall, give your business a strategic market advantage and increase your overall employee retention. Working towards gender-parity will also result in attracting, selling and retaining more women customers.

Efforts to achieve equality benefit us all. Diversity leads to stronger business results, as numerous studies have shown. When the most talented people can rise to the top, regardless of what they look like and where they’re from, we all end up winning.

How to Attract Hire and Retain Women Employees

Create a Female-Friendly Culture

Previous poor treatment and lack of respect for female job candidates — or women customers, for that matter — leaves a negative, lasting impression on how women perceive our industry. It’s hard to believe that at some shops, women are still greeted with a detestable statement like, “Is your husband with you today?” Commit to providing a consistent female-friendly culture and experience.

Provide Training and Ongoing Training

There is an increase in the number of women interested in pursuing automotive careers. Work with your local automotive trade schools and high school career fairs and apprenticeship programs, provide scholarships for women and offer to include ongoing training and education with financial support for tuition factored into your compensation plans. This will give you a competitive advantage in hiring and retaining women and, in fact, all new employees.

Create a Career Path

Re-examine the positions in your company that can effectively interest and challenge women. Encourage not only their entry into the industry, but also their interest in making it a career.

Offer Flex Schedules

Consider not just the primary financial needs of full- and part-time women employees, but consider their family and personal needs, as well. Millennial men and women with children both want more of the same things — flexible time off to participate at their children’s school events and after school activities.

Mentorship

Make a commitment as an owner to formally mentor women employees. Invest in their careers by sending them to conferences like the Women in Automotive conference and the Women in Auto Care conference. These organizations provide mentoring, as well as the opportunity to learn and network with other women building a career in our industry. Women in Automotive is hosting a conference June 24-26 in Orlando, Florida, and another November 26-27 in Los Angeles, California. For more information, visit: womeninautomotive.com Women in Auto Care is holding the 2018 Summer Leadership Conference June 13-14 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. For more information, visit: www.womeninautocare.org

Make Her Part of the Team

Shake off the old “but we’ve always done it this way” mantra, and try new methods. Explore new, realistic ways to meet female employees’ needs. Challenge and eliminate those ideas and procedures that have been used forever — and have failed.

Listen

Her female perspective is essential to your business. Ask for her opinion, listen when conducting job interviews and, if hired, keep an open mind. You may be surprised at the great insights on marketing, selling, serving and communicating better with female customers she can provide to you and your team.

Support Women in Your Local Market

A strong message to your local market of available women for hire is to support women’s groups like GSUSA (Girl Scouts), NAWBO (The National Association of Women Business Owners) and other local charities that support women’s issues or health concerns. Networking with and supporting women in your local market creates an important hiring pool.

Include This in Help Wanted Ads

When placing advertising for new hires, you need to fish where the fish are. Carefully craft job descriptions so they include a mention of preference for previous job experience in industries where women generally work in your local market. This sends a strong signal to women job seekers, “women welcome here.” Run these help wanted ads where women will see them, not only in the automotive section.

Highlight Her Role

Feature your female employees, their photos, profiles, roles and responsibilities on your social network page. Again, you will be telling a great story to potential female customers and employees that you value women. Women spend three times longer per day on social networks than men do. Facebook ads, that tell this story aimed specifically at women, can be a very good way to advertise and promote ads to female job seekers.

Make a commitment to attract hire and retain more women and make gender-parity a strategic goal.

Jody DeVere

JODY DEVERE is CEO of AskPatty.com, Inc. AskPatty.com, Inc. takes a two-pronged approach to revolutionizing the women’s automotive retail market: For consumers, the AskPatty.com website is a safe and reliable source for expert automotive advice and research. For installers, the AskPatty.com Certified Female Friendly program, designed from the ground-up, trains and certifies automotive retail and service centers on how to attract, sell, retain and increase loyalty with women customers. For more information, visit: www.askpatty.com