Emerging from the Pandemic: Personnel Development

Every dealer understands the demands of today’s workforce have changed. The pandemic caused unprecedented personnel challenge. You have been working hard to keep your dealership staffed, both by satisfying the expectations of existing employees and recruiting new ones.

More than ever, employees expect to work in a professional atmosphere. They want to know what is expected of them. They want to understand the opportunities available to them. They wish to be paid fairly, and they wish to have personal time to live their lives.

As you work through and emerge from the pandemic, it is time to review your personnel resources and strategies. Are you providing a professional employment experience? Do your employees feel they are treated as professionals?

  • Who is in charge of personnel development? Do you have an HR department or are the employees in the general office in charge of personnel responsibilities trained in HR principles? Businesses today face difficult HR issues. Besides dealing with the expected, complicated interplay of state and federal laws governing employment, you have new responsibilities resulting from laws passed in response to the pandemic. Do you have sufficient HR staffing? What kind of training and experience do your employees in charge of HR efforts have? Is a realignment to create an HR department necessary?
  • Do you have a personnel handbook and is it up to date? Too often dealers look at personnel handbooks as sources of ideas for troublemaking. A well-drafted handbook does not do that. It sets the standards you have for employees and the policies that govern them. A handbook is critical in shaping the expectations of employees in working for you. If you don’t have a personnel handbook, or if you have not updated your handbook in some time, contact a knowledgeable attorney to assist you in developing a handbook that can be the basis for your professional HR efforts.
  • Are processes in place for employees to bring matters to the attention of management? You have defenses to many claims if employees do not use your personnel processes, but only if you can show they know of them. Whether it is applying for Family and Medical Leave Act leave (especially during the pandemic with increased FMLA rights), or processes to bring to the attention to management complaints about discrimination or harassment, your processes should be established. More important, your employees must know of them. Regularly train your employees about using your processes, and management should be trained in the importance of follow up.
  • Do you use professionally prepared pay plans? Employees want to know they are being paid fairly. They want to know the basis of their pay calculations so they can check them. That means having written pay plans. And not one on a napkin. Those days are over.

Every pay plan must be in writing and signed by the employee. It should be prepared according to an established set of company policies so it is clear and understandable, follows the law, and appropriately protects the dealership.