“The legacy image of car dealers provides a real challenge,” said McMinn. “The reality is we are being forced very quickly into being professional retailers because that’s the experience everyone has in all other areas.”
He added: “Attracting the right kind of people into our business is one of the biggest challenges we’re facing. We need to move away from a male-dominated, six day a week, target-driven culture.”
McMinn reported that performance management is now more team performance-focused and is judged on customer satisfaction. He said that there’s much greater emphasis on customer service training.
Lookers has also revamped its internal communication strategy and introduced more extensive support for employees volunteering for charities, said McMinn.
Regarding what he looks for in an HRD, McMinn said: “I do think one of the problems across all the companies I’ve worked for is the lack of commerciality in HRDs. That is quite worrying.
“I don’t want to just copy everything everyone else does, I need to create competitive advantage by doing something unique and special in HR. I want someone on the board to share leadership and to be accountable.”
He added: “I’ve been in situations where I find myself being quoted the rules. I’m saying: ‘The business needs to get rid of this person; I need to minimise not avoid the risk.’ It’s about someone who says: ‘I’m going to help you manage this business’.”