Dealer Stories

Kinsey Pridgen

ASOTU’s Chris Reeves spoke with Haley Auton Group Vice President Kinsey Pridgen about her time in the industry, her team’s unique hiring/training method, and how they’ve participated in the reality that the retail auto community is about more than cars.
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Kinsey Pridgen

Howdy Kinsey, thanks for talking with me. Let's start with how you entered the automotive industry.

I grew up in a family-owned automotive group. Since I was old enough to work, I learned the business, starting in the accounting office. After studying business at Wake Forest University, I returned and learned operations, rotating through various departments. Eventually, I helped develop the Haley rotational program to train new managers in a well-rounded manner, emphasizing empathy for all aspects of our business.

That's a unique approach. How did you implement this new training method in your team?

Initially, there was resistance, wondering why train newcomers unfamiliar with automotive. However, the value these trainees brought changed the managers' perspectives. They're hardworking and motivated. My role involves closely mentoring each trainee and customizing their journey based on their strengths and interests.

How does this program affect team dynamics?

It's been enlightening. We've seen the importance of comprehensive onboarding and training. The program has also helped us understand and address retention issues better.

Could you share some outcomes or statistics indicating the program's impact?

Most of our trainees have continued with us, taking up various managerial roles. Although we've had a few who left for personal reasons, the overall retention and progression have been positive.

It sounds like a rigorous but rewarding program. How would you suggest somebody who can't go all in try some of this in their store?

It's vital to go all in. The program requires significant time and effort from everyone involved. We focus on recruitment and identifying potential managers who can thrive in this environment. We also organize formal meetings, happy hours, and volunteer events for our trainees to build a sense of community and learn from each other.

Can you share an example of your community involvement?

A standout event is the Richmond Cattle Barons Ball for the American Cancer Society, where we're the presenting sponsor. Our trainees play a significant role in setting up and participating in the event. It's a rigorous yet rewarding experience for them.

That's fantastic! I think that wraps up my questions; thank you for talking with me and sharing this innovative hiring/training method. I think our readers will benefit greatly from your willingness to experiment and invest in folks.

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