Thought Leadership

Ford’s Future Fit Graduates Embrace the Changing Face of Automotive Retail

Today’s automotive dealership will be unrecognisable in a few short years.  As the world moves to electric and hybrid cars, and as the consumer buying process moves from the showroom floor and in-person sales to eCommerce, motor brands are shifting gear in how they upskill and prepare their people for the future world of automotive retail, and their changing world of work.


One such automotive brand investing heavily in the upskilling and reskilling of its people is the Ford Motor Company of South Africa (FMCSA) with an emphasis on preparing their people for the changing world of work in the automotive sector.  FMCSA recently celebrated the graduation of 38 colleagues from its head office and dealer network who embarked on an intensive 7-month programme with the Future Fit Academy, completing either the ‘New Manager’ development program and ‘Women in Leadership’ program.


“While technological, cultural and societal shifts have impacted the traditional dealership model, we’re also dealing with a world where every retail and service-based company has made the leap into eCommerce. This has huge implications in terms of leadership and management, customer experience, business process transformation, technology and people transformation.  It is this premise that underpinned the formulation of the development programmes with the Future Fit Academy to better prepare our people for what their future world of work will look like, how to remain relevant and add indispensable value,” explains Tracy Delate, GM Dealer & Consumer Experience at Ford Motor Company of South Africa.


Both the ‘New Manager’ development program and ‘Women in Leadership’ program were built by the Future Fit Academy around the bespoke requirements of Ford’s business, tying in with the changing landscape of automotive retail.


Dr Eric Albertini of the Future Fit Academy explains: “We integrated the organisational competency framework into the design of the learning journey, with customised modules that specifically address both the required learning outcomes, and align to the medium and long-term business strategy in an environment undergoing rapid change.”


The business-driven action learning programmes were delivered over seven months and included one-on-one coaching.  The courses were all instructor-led, delivered live, online by 12 subject matter specialists.  The online platform meant that learners from across the country could be accommodated and participate in the live sessions synchronously with facilitators as well as their colleagues, encouraging dialogue, debate and knowledge sharing across geographies.


“This was a jointly conceived learning and development programme by FMCSA and Future Fit Academy to scope and unpack the desired learning outcomes and outputs with input from the business and various key stakeholders.  A key factor in this successful L&D programme is that from the outset, there was a strong alignment between the development objectives of the employee and the strategic objectives of the business, with a clear view of what the expected outcomes are for the individual and business in terms of impact, performance and growth,” adds Dr Albertini.


A key focus of the FMCSA Academy is an intense focus on business performance, profitability and customer retention which is all underpinned by exceptional people development.

“Business success and growth is intrinsically linked to people growth and development.  It boils down to the capacity and capability of your people to deliver their very best performance not only today, but in a future world of work that is uncertain, volatile and constantly evolving. Part of these development programmes was to take our learners beyond the realm of thinking along the lines of pure technical skills only, and to also engage their behavioural skills, embracing change confidently to learn new, in-demand skills on a lifelong basis to transition into the future world of automotive retail successfully,” concludes Dr Albertini.

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