executive insight

Recruiting remains one of the greatest challenges facing dealerships today. Our industry has always had a chronic need for personnel, especially skilled technicians. One of the main reasons for this problem is that most dealerships are located in small communities with a small pool of candidates from which to choose.

When it comes to dealerships, recruiting locally is often the best option because many candidates want to live where they were raised or have family. As a result, it has become increasingly difficult to recruit people who have no connection to the local area. To at- tract good candidates, dealers should tout what their communities have to offer candi- dates and get involved with community improvement efforts.

Many dealerships have had success recruiting locally. Some have developed close work- ing relationships with local schools. Local teachers – and especially guidance counsel- ors – should be invited to dealerships so they can see what opportunities are available for students. Another successful idea is to invite guidance counselors and a class or group of students to lunch at the dealership where you can talk about the opportunities available at the dealership. Some dealerships have even implemented apprenticeship programs where high school students work in the dealership, gaining a better under- standing of the industry.

The best candidates are often those who receive a secondary degree after high school, whether a two-year technical program or something more advanced. Since the cost of these programs can run very high, INEDA’s scholarship program is the perfect incentive for a talented prospective employee. I strongly encourage you to participate in the INEDA scholarship program, which offers a two for one benefit. For example, if a dealership contributes $1,000 toward the student scholarship, INEDA will match it with $2,000, for a total scholarship of $3,000. Note: there are some minimum requirements for students to be eligible to participate in the INEDA scholarships program.

Another area that has impacted recruiting is the current image of the equipment industry. Equipment dealers are competing against several other industries for reliable workers and I’ve heard many stories about dealerships losing candidates to car and truck dealerships, the wind industry, manufacturing, agronomics and government institutions.

Our industry can do so much more to create a positive image that will help promote recruiting. Think about the advertisements you have seen on television or in publica- tions that simply promote an industry. An effort like this would take greater cooperation among our industry leaders, especially the major manufacturers. I feel a comprehensive national marketing campaign would enhance the entire equipment industry. While there is a cost involved, it would pay off in the long run by helping recruit the best and bright- est to our industry.

As the competition for talented employees becomes greater, dealerships will have to be- come more creative and develop long range plans to ensure they are able to meet their recruiting needs going forward. You can rely on INEDA to help with this challenge.


2 | The Retailer Magazine | Mar/Apr

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