As the new year begins, our Group HR Director Clare Martin looks ahead to how we’re preparing our business and people ahead of some of the changes coming across the automotive industry.

"I can’t recall a time when there has been so much change in the automotive industry. Transformation is everywhere. However, it’s pointless having lots of ideas or making investment in new technology, if change is not accepted and adopted by everyone at all levels of the organisation.

"Creating a culture where change is the norm does not happen overnight. But having been on this journey for the last four years at Jardine Motors, putting in place the right people and investing in the foundations of new technology, 2020 is about change and at pace in our business, and it’s one I’m certainly super excited about.

"So, what’s been the building blocks to make it possible? I've outlined below some of the steps we have taken to ensure our teams are adequately prepared for change."

1. Get the right talent in place and keep it

To do this has meant building a strong employer brand. This has been achieved, largely in part, to the work we’ve done to change perceptions of our industry and position Jardine Motors as a leader with a more inclusive culture. The result has meant we now enjoy strong direct hire rates (in November, it was 100%).

We also make a point of celebrating the talent we have, so they continue to feel valued and recognised, whether that’s through our internal initiative #Jobswagger, or external awards such as the nine finalists we had in 2019’s AutoCar Rising Stars and the 13 winners in the Top 30 Inspiring Automotive Women Awards.

2. Put in the groundwork and develop a learning culture first

Some of 2020’s transformation projects will require new mindsets, adopting new ways of working and driving new behaviours. This can’t just be switched on overnight.

In 2019 we invested in a digital, online learning tool, which we called Oli, so colleagues can access learning anytime, anywhere, on any device. This not only gets them used to doing something digitally which would otherwise have traditionally been face-to-face, but the content of some of the learning modules has all been geared to preparing teams for change.

3. Listen for feedback and communicate regularly and clearly

We know that change, and at scale and pace, can be daunting, which is why we’ve been focusing on creating and testing robust change methodologies to ensure that transformation projects land successfully and most importantly, our teams understand why change is necessary.

We’ve also built a network of ‘ninjas’; colleagues who are being skilled as experts on new systems such as Office 365, to be trainers to their teams and help with adoption. They also act as an additional communications channel to help amplify messages, supporting our more established methods of communication and can give us regular feedback on what’s working or needs improvement.

4. Build resilience and strength in leaders and teams

Anyone who has worked in automotive will acknowledge it’s never been a laid back, easy industry to be in; whether it’s the challenge of keeping up with new technologies on the cars, responding to changing consumer behaviours, ensuring compliance with strict financial regulations, or the general pace and rhythm with which new plate changes twice a year brings; it’s certainly a unique industry for that!

So, when you then add on additional requirements such as the transformation we’re pushing forward for ourselves, it requires teams and leaders with a resilient attitude who are open-minded and flexible. Not only do we look for this in our new colleagues, but we’ve heavily invested in our existing ones too, to ensure they are fully prepared. From reshaping our internal leadership and management training programmes, through to quality of mind training for senior managers and a plethora of wellbeing initiatives, it’s all there to ensure we’re fit for the future.