automotive training

The New World of Adult Learning

Automotive training has traditionally been top-down and company centric. At Quantum5, we built something that's different and way more than a standard LMS.



Whether you work at an automotive OEM or Hometown Dealership, adult learning has traditionally been very company centric. Meaning, someone on the leadership team says, “Here’s how we’re going to do training,” “Here’s what we’re going to teach people,” etc.  

It was all about doing learning that was good for the company, not necessarily for the individual. We know that this model of company-centric training isn’t helpful for commissioned salespeople and is simply just a checkbox to say you did it. For instance, in pharmaceutical sales, sales reps have to complete annual training so they can check the box for the FDA. Whether or not the information was actually absorbed and retained is another story. And in automotive it has been much the same with certifications and steps to a sale.  

Learning has traditionally been very firm centric and from the top down; You go to work, then you have to attend a training, and you need to learn this particular way. Most people who have been in this type of corporate learning environment hated it but didn’t know how to change it.  

What’s more is that in automotive specifically, learning has been weaponized. For example, for GMs of certain stores, the OEM may say, “Your employees need to watch all this material this month or else they won’t be certified.” And if you don’t comply as a GM, they’ll call you and that frustration gets passed down from the GMs, to the Sales Managers, and eventually to the whole team. 

For the last 20+ years, as OEM websites and content got more robust and internet bandwidth got better, more content was put online, more tests were administered, etc. Because of that shift, many new LMS (Learning Management System) companies started emerging. These companies contributed to the weaponizing of training by just reporting on how many times employees logged on, how many videos they watched, and how many tests they took. No attention was paid to whether employees were actually learning, improving, or helping their customers more effectively.

When Ken Herfurth (my Quantum5 Co-Founder) and I came together, we wanted to build something that was much greater than just a LMS tool and something that was truly an “advocate in your pocket.” Aside from just facilitating training and learning, our deeper goal is to help people be happier, healthier, and the best version of themselves.  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the talking heads of the world said, “You don’t need as many salespeople, you'll be able to cut staff and just add a self-service kiosk in the sales drive.” We knew that this wasn’t true and that just inserting technology was not going to replace good team members.  

In busy dealerships, it’s easy for good managers to be overwhelmed with how much work they have to do between managing their full technology stack, making sure they’re getting enough leads and they’re being followed up on, managing inventory, working with the OEM, managing staff, etc. The ability for managers to be able to support a new employee who just had a career change and is new to automotive is crucial. You can’t just tell them to watch videos and expect that information to be retained. As I like to joke, “If watching videos enabled us to be skilled, I would be Tiger Woods.” We know that while they’re a powerful tool, videos can only do so much.  

Where we come in is to support managers as a force multiplier, meaning that we can help both new and existing staff by delivering content that is relevant and important to them individually. We know this is important because from survey results, it’s clear that customers like working with their trusted service and sales professional. When you keep losing staff in these areas, customers notice and CSI scores may be negatively affected if the service level isn’t what they’re expecting. One stat that always blows me away is from the NADA Workforce Study which says that when you keep a service advisor for 3+ years, customer retention increases dramatically. Furthermore, there’s an 84% correlation between customer retention and the 3+ year tenure for service advisors. It’s critical that you know who these staff members are and do everything in your power to keep them happy.  

My challenge for you: Ask yourself, do you know the names of everyone who has been at your dealership between 24-35 months? Data shows that everyone who goes from that 35th month to the 36th month will create happier customers. It’s clear that we need to be taking care of our employees, especially those folks.  

This is where the shift in training is happening, to becoming an advocate for the growth of employees’ business skills, business results, and not a weapon of ‘why did you...’, ‘why didn’t you...’ and ‘go watch more videos...’ Video can help but the nuanced skills that require multiple muscles and multiple areas of expertise need to be practiced beyond just sitting and watching how something is done. 

The future of learning success for the generation coming is not like it was in the past. Learning programs must be seen as an advocate, can’t be weaponized, have to be granular, and incorporate freedom to learn how, where, and when is best for each individual. In-person training programs are still beneficial but to think that you’re going to send 1 trainer to a brick-and-mortar location and make your entire team sit through a 2-day class, multiplied across your entire dealership group, that’s not enough and not the end of the story. The learning sustainment that our app provides is how we keep learning going outside of the classroom. Join us as we make automotive better and more human, one learner at a time.  

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