The five best HR tips to keep your business moving

HR pieces

After two years interviewing the UK’s top automotive HR bosses, MotorPro brings together the best ideas they’ve provided to make your business a success and staff happy

1. Sourcing talent

When recruiting, Mel Rogers at Sytner suggested looking beyond the usual internal message boards and recruitment sites: “Sytner also advertises vacancies on diversity friendly job boards such as Working Mums, allowing us to receive a diverse pool of applicants. All adverts contain wording that is gender friendly and does not contain any linguistic gender bias. Each advert also contains a flexibility statement so that applications have transparency on working patterns.”
[October 2019]

A similar ‘beyond the norm’ idea came from Clare Wright at Jardine Motors: “We work closely with our partners from outside of automotive such as the Armed Forces Transition Partnership to bring talent to our business from other industries and backgrounds.”
[October 2020]

2. Sharon Ashcroft at TrustFord recommended looking not just for skills when recruiting but also behaviours as it “widens up a whole new pool of people who would not have been previously considered”.

“We also sift blind; i.e. all personal identifiable data is removed from applications before they are sent to the recruiting manager which means no one is deselected because of their gender et cetera.”
[February 2021]

3. Christos Tsaprounis at Auto Trader goes one step further, and earlier in terms of recruitment: “We do lots of outreach with schools and colleges and we used to run events where people would come to our offices. Obviously, those have stopped due to the current situation, but we hope to get them back eventually. Currently they’re now virtual events so we can stay connected to the various communities.”
[June 2021]

2. Employee engagement

To get the best employee engagement, Carol Henry at Arnold Clark revealed her success story: “Our strategies are built around our five company values; family, communication, progression, recognition and community.

“Family is focused on showing employees that we care, and helps us communicate that we’re a business anyone should feel comfortable working for, whatever their gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Communication ensures our employees' voices are heard, and they’re kept informed about the business.

Progression focuses on allowing our employees to develop and get the training and support they need to do so.

“Recognition is about keeping employees engaged; at a local level by always recognising a job well done, and also at an organisation-wide level, for example at awards ceremonies and other annual events we hold to recognise hard work and achievements.

“Our Community value engages employees across our branch network, whether by supporting a local charity or sports team, or match-funding the fundraising efforts of individuals in our branches.”
[November 2019]

3. Apprenticeships beyond the technical

Several retailers have shown how apprenticeships can work in areas of the business beyond the workshop.

Scott Smith at Swansway said: “We trailed a digital marketing apprenticeship which has proved a huge success which we are rolling out to our full dealership network.”
[January 2020]

While Sarah Martyn from Hendy said: “While a significant number of apprentices are hired into technician roles, we also now support apprentices to develop careers in our group functions including marketing and purchasing.”
[February 2020]

Nicky Holdcroft at Perrys has implemented higher level apprenticeships: “We have implemented a level 4 marketing executive apprenticeship scheme, and a level 5 HR apprenticeship scheme and we are in the process of implementing a level 6 business degree apprenticeship scheme to upskill our existing employees in management roles.”
[March 2020]

4. Ethos

Making sure your culture and ethos is successfully understood and adopted by your employees isn’t easy, but a clear message is essential.

Sarah Martyn at Hendy said: “Our aim is to create an employee experience that mirrors our customer experience and in doing so strengthen our employer brand to attract and retain the very best talent in the industry.
[February 2020]

Jo Moxon from Marshall Motors believes culture starts with recruitment: “First and foremost, we look for colleagues who are customer focused. If this isn’t a strongly held value, then we are not the company for you!”
[August 2020]

While Jardine Motors’ Clare Wright said: “We strive to embed our strong colleague culture and refresh our values as well as further developing our diversity and inclusion strategy to ensure an inclusive organisation supportive of all. 

“Our established #WeareJMG inclusion strategy focuses on core areas of diversification through focused networks around gender, LGBTQ, Armed Forces, disability and people from minority and ethnic backgrounds and most recently we have signed the Social Mobility Pledge to broaden our areas of focus and ensure we are offering opportunities to those whose talents are yet to be unlocked regardless of background and experience.”
[October 2020]

5. Wellness

Staff wellbeing has never been more important. Laura Haskins from CitNow holds a “Wellness Week” where the company focuses solely on all aspects of employee wellbeing.

“This year we also launched ‘Wellness Days’: a new benefit which enables all employees to take two half-days' paid leave per year that they can use to focus on their personal wellbeing. So far this year, over 450 wellness hours have been booked or taken. We supplement our wellbeing initiatives with webinars run by experts who focus on topics such as ‘Mental Wealth’, ‘Wellbeing for Working Parents’ and ‘Switching off’.”
[November 2020]