Recruiting environment remains a challenge for finance decision-makers

Recruiting environment remains a challenge for finance decision-makers

The search for top-notch employees is vexing some finance decision-makers, many of whom say competition for talent is increasing or remaining an obstacle. Respondents to an AICPA survey say employee and benefit costs are a major challenge to their organizations, and some are enhancing benefit programs and training to recruit and retain workers.

Nicole Vanderslice, CPA, is the CFO at Dolan Automotive Group, which owns four car dealerships in Reno, Nev. The company recently reopened a Lexus dealership in a new building that is twice the size of the former dealership of luxury vehicles. Vanderslice said the company is expecting to add 40 to 50 full-time employees just for that dealership in the next year.

With technology in cars changing quickly, she said, the cost of employee training and equipment upgrades is likely to eat into profits. She cites regulation, such as a new commerce tax in Nevada, as a further obstacle. Another obstacle: Finding high-quality workers who can explain the technology advances to potential buyers.

Dolan is taking steps to attract and retain employees with several changes since Vanderslice became CFO about 18 months ago. The company is trying to eliminate high-pressure sales tactics—a turnoff to many customers—by switching its sales staff to salaried employees instead of commission-based ones.

New workers receive between four and six weeks of paid training when hired, and they are assigned a mentor for their first two months. For workers in lower-paying jobs, such as washing cars, Vanderslice hopes that improved benefits will help cut down on a turnover rate that hit 30%. The benefits might seem customary for most workers, but car dealerships slashed benefits during the recession of 2008 and 2009 and have been slow to give them back.

“Something as simple as sick days, which we take for granted, didn’t exist, or only in small pockets of the industry,” she said.

Recruiting, turnover issues

Recruiting in Reno, especially in the technology sector, has been difficult for Dolan Automotive. For example, Tesla Motors, the maker of electric cars and battery products, announced a year ago that it would work with Panasonic to open a battery plant in nearby Storey County. Read more on the Journal of Accountancy