Winnipeg , MB
Location: Winnipeg, Man.
Dealer principal: Steve Chipman
Dealership group: Birchwood Automotive Group
Number of employees: 52
2018 new-vehicle sales: 480, down 12%
2018 used-vehicle sales: 395, up 2.3%
Chief Human Resources Officer MaryAnn Kempe on best practices to deal with shortage of skilled workers: Birchwood Automotive works closely with a variety of high schools, colleges and trade schools by providing annual scholarships to students studying automotive trades; these scholarships also come with an invitation for employment. Two years ago, we introduced an annual tour and feedback session, and have had over 500 automotive-repair-technician students visit our facilities and engage with our leadership teams. We have been able to recruit directly from these interactions.
Kempe on steps taken to ensure the dealership reflects the community’s demographic and cultural diversity: Birchwood conducts an annual diversity survey which collects specific demographic data and is used to develop diversity initiatives within the organization. Birchwood offers its female team members an opportunity to participate in Women in Automotive (WIA). WIA is dedicated to encouraging women’s participation in the automotive industry by offering networking and development opportunities. Birchwood also sponsors and actively participates in the semiannual Women’s Conference for Skills Manitoba, a conference designed to attract young Manitobans to careers in skilled trades and technology.
General Manager Steve Payne on lessons learned from a hiring mistake: One mistake I have made is continuing to interview candidates after I knew that I had already interviewed the right person for the job. Subsequently, I have learned to not wait; if the candidate is the right one, don’t be afraid to offer them the job immediately or someone else will.