Lookers chief individuals officer fears cost-of-living problem will not be short-lived


Lookers chief people officer Chris Whittaker has voiced fears the cost-of-living disaster affecting the automobile retail sector’s workforce is “not going to be a short-lived”.

Whittaker expressed his concern during the problem dealing with the sector and its workers as he spoke to AM a couple of overhaul of the AM100 car retail group’s phrases of employment to ship a Lookers Dwelling Wage throughout its community of dealerships.

He mentioned that the shift, a part of a drive to make Lookers an “employer of alternative”, had been accomplished in August.

Backdated to July, the scheme ensures all however the PLC’s apprentices now earn above the Nationwide Dwelling Wage, with apprentices paid round 55% greater than the really useful degree in yr one in every of their coaching.

However Whittaker conceded that it was “extraordinarily powerful in the mean time” as he thought-about the double-digit inflation impacting Lookers’ workforce.

“We actually went exhausting at our pay construction and we’re pleased with the end result.

“With inflation on the ranges that we’re seeing it’s exhausting to know what you are able to do as an employer past a sure level.

“I believe we’re very a lot conscious that this can be a problem that’s not going to be a short-lived, however we have now made appreciable adjustments to our pay construction and we’re working exhausting to assist employees make their wage go additional with our vary of firm advantages.

“The most important dedication we will make is that of sustaining a sustainable enterprise.”

Retention and recruitment

Whittaker mentioned that Lookers’ rebalanced wage construction at Lookers had additionally seen a shift in direction of a greater primary wage for gross sales executives, with on-target earnings (OTE) now accounted for “approaching 50%” of their salaries.

In addition to boosting retention, Whittaker hopes the group’s efforts can even increase recruitment at a time when employees are exhausting to search out.

A brand new Bounce Begin programme has been particularly designed to attract newcomers into the sector. Whittaker mentioned: “It primarily appeals to a youthful technology, however it’s meant as a route into the sector for anybody wanting a profession in gross sales.

“To this point, we’ve had 100 individuals by way of the programme and the impression on some dealerships has been marked. I discover myself strolling round and marvelling at how younger a whole lot of our groups are beginning to look.”

Aftersales has been equally difficult for retention and recruitment, Whittaker admitted, and the enterprise has labored to implement a structured growth path alongside a renewed wage construction.

Altering working patterns throughout the enterprise have referred to as for brand new ranges of “belief”, in response to Whittaker.

Regardless of investing closely in a brand new headquarters in Altrincham (test?) Lookers continues to embrace hybrid working for roles the place individuals can function from residence.

Explaining the change of mindset that underpins the change, Whittaker mentioned: “Issues modified like we had by no means imagined throughout COVID and we have now continued with hybrid working the place its acceptable with solo challenge work.

“We by no means needed to repair days when individuals needed to come into the workplace, so we do ask for 2 days, however it’s versatile.”

‘One thing for everybody’

He added: “The work that’s been done to our HQ has created a really impressive space and hopefully someplace individuals wish to come to work.

“But it surely’s not only for these HQ workplace capabilities anymore. There’s one thing for everybody and we wish individuals from throughout the enterprise to return and spend time there.”

In addition to committing useful resource to take care of workers’ wellbeing by way of partnerships with Thoughts and a SmartHealth advantages bundle, Lookers is aiming to develop the range of its workforce.

Whittaker mentioned that this was a problem being approached in a “measured approach”.

Whereas chief govt Mark Raban – the AM Awards’ Business Leader of the Year 2022 – and Whittaker are each patrons of the Automotive 30% Membership, efforts to drive extra numerous illustration can be knowledgeable by an audit not too long ago commissioned from the Clear Firm.

“We will throw concepts at a wall or put money into what will be a really in-depth audit and actually get an understanding of how individuals really feel and what one of the simplest ways ahead is,” mentioned Whittaker.

“There’s a whole lot of change occurring in Lookers, and the sector as an entire, and we wish to make certain that we’re main the best way by doing issues the appropriate approach.”


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