Today’s HR Challenges

Denise Rondini

March 8, 2012

Technology tools can ease woes and streamline the process.

By Denise L. Rondini, Executive Editor

Hiring, onboarding, training, firing, environmental health and safety regulations, workers’ comp, pay plans. The list of human resource related issues dealers have to be aware of is staggering. And the consequences of failing to master all these areas can be quite severe, including an inability to keep qualified people and fines for failure to comply with government regulations.

According to Robert Miller, co-founder of Compli, “Most dealers are a bit overwhelmed from a best practices and performance management perspective and also on their regulatory requirements. Managing employees and their performance, and the compliance requirements are really a challenge for dealers.”

One thing that complicates the issue is that different departments ― HR, accounting, operations and sales ― are involved in various parts of the process, according to Lon Leneve, Compli president.

“It can be disconnected and disorganized, which means things are going to fall through the cracks,” he says.

Often it takes a lawsuit, accident or investigation for some dealers to realize they are in over their heads, to recognize the fact that human resource management is not their core competency and to consider outsourcing the HR function and using technology tools to help manage it.

Leneve believes many dealers are not aware that technology can be used to automate the HR and compliance processes, but believes “that 10 years from now everyone will be using technology tools to manage their HR function.”

Some dealers avoid outsourcing the HR function or using technology to manage it because they fear it will make their dealerships more impersonal.

“What we find,” Miller says, “is that using a system to take care of the mundane, more routine compliance, paper-pushing activities actually allows dealers to spend more time on face-to-face training and other high-end programs that allow people to be aligned with the strategy  of the business and contribute in a more meaningful way.”

He adds, “We are not trying to take the human element out of HR. We are just giving dealers tools to take care of some of the more administratively challenging aspects of it so they can focus their time on higher value activities.”

Failure to properly manage HR and compliance functions can result in high employee turnover, fines, penalties, increased insurance costs and higher legal fees.

“Some dealers think these things come with the territory,” Leneve says. “We beg to differ. We help dealers address some of these areas trying to lower turnover, lower their insurance costs and lower the frequency and severity of claims.”

He adds, “If you shine a spotlight on an area, you can influence it. There are ways to drive down costs in key areas as well as lower your exposure to fines and lawsuits.”

The opportunity for dealers to protect themselves and eliminate wasted effort in the HR and compliance area is significant.

“We tell people that for every dollar they spend on technology in HR and compliance, they should expect a $4 return on investment,” Leneve says.

In addition, he believes it will allow dealers to better protect themselves from fines and lawsuits.

“You can lay this stuff out in front of someone and say, ‘Here is what I am doing from a compliance and HR standpoint. I have 100 percent of my employees involved, they are 96 percent compliant. I can show you the 4 percent who aren’t. We have handled all these policies, done all this training and everything is date and time stamped.’ This clearly puts you in a separate class from the typical dealership.”

Dealers may want to consider taking a pro-active stance with HR and compliance issues and explore how technology tools can help streamline the process and improve their efficiency.

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