Recently, I wrote an article called Inspiration Just isn’t Enough! that outlined the vast gender gap in the automotive industry and how inspirational words just isn’t going to cut it. If we want to make a difference, we have to be the difference.
The definition of insanity is “to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome”.
If we were to put the automotive industry up against this definition, it is clear as day that we are insane!
No one is going to come with a magic wand and cast a spell that makes automotive dealers, and OEM’s the top place to work for females or a place where female consumers feel comfortable; we have to choose to do something different and action the changes necessary to see a different outcome.
GM is Breaking the Cycle
There is one brand that is taking a significant step in the right direction, and I wanted to take a moment to outline who it is and what they have done!
In a recent article The ‘Extra Oomph’ that changed GM, Auto News featured GM’s Mary Barra, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer who is the first female CEO of a major global automaker.
Barra states “Corporate culture doesn’t change quickly, but it’s critical to have a strong culture to motivate employees and to cultivate an environment that breeds success.”
In her effort to build a strong culture for females in automotive GM has established the GM’s Womens Retail Network.
Recently, GM has also developed three core values for the company: The Customer is our Compass, Relationships Matter, and Individual Excellence is Crucial.
Having core values like these is a step in the right direction to attracting female candidates and ultimately female consumers; these values outline that people come first, decisions are made with the individual in mind and culture matters.
I challenge you to think about this: If women don’t want to work for you, why would women want to buy from you?
GM seems to understand this and is breaking the script!
What Can We Learn From GM?
Create a network of tools, resources, and pathways that support women in the industry to grow without worrying about the glass ceiling that has been above their heads for decades.
Programs such as:
- Employee resource groups for women that support women in the current environment
- Female-driven 20 groups
- Education for personal development and succession and;
- Mentoring programs that connect other male and female executives with up and coming female team members
Programs like these will help bring more women into the workforce and keep them there. “if you build it they will come”. Having more of a female presence at the dealership and executive levels will, without a doubt’, attract women consumers to your brand. It is in the best interest of the Auto Makers to build a culture that women can get behind; if you do this both female employees and consumers will take notice!
I will drive my point home by reiterating this “The purchase share of women around the world will continue to rise, and with the lack of women at the table, decisions will remain to be made by men, delivered by men, for men. Continuing to lead in this manner will proceed to affect dealerships lack of or decrease in loyalty, retention, referrals, and overall all top line dollar. It’s in your best interest to be ready to serve the women who are purchasing your vehicles; every day of the year!”
It’s time to take action. Let’s stop talking about all the incredible ways women can help move the automotive industry into the 21st century and start breaking the insanity cycle by doing what needs to be done to make it happen.