Talent is Your #1 Priority

Published in the October 2019 edition of Auto Retail Bulletin (Issue #185)

Author: Karen Cannon, Claims Manager at AutoProtect

Having great products, services and premises are key assets in developing and sustaining a successful business, but ahead of all these in the vast majority of organisations are the people who bring those assets to life, even in today’s increasingly digital environment.

In my role leading the Claims team at AutoProtect, I am acutely aware that claims are the ‘moment of truth’ for our products. It is where the true value of our products is tested. Having a team with capabilities that embrace support for the dealer, their customer and an understanding of the issues and mechanical/technical nuances that may arise in a claim is crucial.

The talent development challenges we face in Claims management is echoed in the customer-facing personnel in the car retailing and aftersales environment; regardless of the marketing proposition, it is they who bring everything to life. Ensuring all team members, whether they are junior, or in their first job fully engaged and cognisant that they are doing vital work that will impact customer satisfaction and future retention is an important investment.

​It Starts from the Top

Ahead of recruitment and coaching, there is the critical role of senior business leader engagement and involvement in setting the tone for the business and its commitment to the broader team and excellence in everything. At AutoProtect, we are very proud of our digital capabilities and great working environment, but still, it is the people, motivated by the business leaders who bring the whole package to life. Talent is #1.

Recruit for Attitude and Fit

A dearth of good talent is a common concern in all industries and I often hear concerns about the approach of young people entering the workplace. I don’t subscribe to this view; there are plenty of young people who given the platform and support will gladly seize an opportunity; it is something we see all the time in our Claims operation.

I recognise that in some roles, experience and qualifications are important, but, while accepting this, for me, success in recruitment is about embracing diversity, placing attitude and business-fit front and centre.

Creating a Coaching Culture  

A coaching culture is focused deliberately on growing and nurturing talent to deliver key results,  increase staff retention and deepen engagement with the business aims and objectives.

Coaching is more than training. Essentially, training is about transferring knowledge while coaching is about enhancing knowledge or skills, developing people and teams. When coaching is embedded in an organisation, something we are proud to have achieved, it can be a game-changer that shifts the way the broader team works together to improve the business.

A Stepped Approach

Recruiting and developing talent helps to build and embed the business culture. Starting at a junior level it creates a talent pool that can move up the ladder – it can help create a virtuous circle of success, accepting that fresh talent can always add a valuable extra dimension to a team

For me, talent development is a six stage process:

  1. Business leadership commitment, engagement and accountability is critical
  2. Identify someone to embrace a Head Coach role – it sets the tone that people will be developed
  3. Recruit for attitude, fit and potential
  4. Coach the potential and embed continuous learning
  5. Recognize and celebrate success
  6. Stay nimble to the business needs

To conclude, a favourite quote that, for me, underpins why talent is our #1 priority:

“Nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.”

– Lawrence Bossidy, Former COO of General Electric