Benchmarking the Development of Dealer Employees | Agricultural equipment

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Workforce development has become an increasingly important topic for the agricultural equipment industry in recent years. While much attention has been paid to the challenge of finding and retaining qualified service technicians, the problem of workforce development is much larger than that. Training employees for future senior and mid-level leadership and management positions is a challenge for dealerships.

WEDA surveyed dealership CEOs, extending the invitation to 70 dealer organizations, to compare the development needs of industry employees. Of these 70 dealers, 63 responded and represented 549 locations in the United States and Canada. The average number of locations per concession was 8.7. By brand, 38.1% were Deere dealers, 23.8% were Case IH, 15.9% were Kubota, 11.1% carried New Holland, 7.9% were AGCO and 3.2% responded “other “.

“When we take a look at the landscape of our distribution channels, we find that due to consolidation, as well as growth, retirements, business evolution, new customer demands and a variety of other things, having the right people doing the right job is critical to our success, ”says Michael Piercy, vice president of dealer development at the WEDA Dealer Institute. “And I would take it a step further and say today that it’s not just about having the right person to do the right job, it’s also about making sure the right person has access to the right training to do the right job. “

Summarizing what the survey results showed, WEDA CEO John Schmeiser said, “At the end of the day, dealers feel they need to do more, they need a better plan, but they don’t. ‘have no strategy except to fill a hole when it opens. And that this challenge, this necessary requirement of your business is more difficult today than it ever was.

How strong is your bench?

Team size refers to the ability of an organization’s staff to take on positions of greater responsibility when required. Michael Piercy, Vice President of Dealer Development with the WEDA Dealer Institute, says: “We know and understand that bench strength has always been an issue, but is becoming increasingly vital to sustainability. of the success of an organization. ”

Dealer feedback included:

“There is a lack of experience, maturity and responsibility. The ability to take the next steps. Most managers are not qualified to train.

“We have had a shortage of bench strength for over 20 years, and this has been and continues to be a concern.”

“Our bench is far too empty. We have great employees, but not too many who can advance their careers to high level management positions, unfortunately. They lack management leadership skills.

Where is the greatest immediate need?

Unsurprisingly, when asked where their immediate senior or middle management needs were, 66.1% of dealers indicated that service managers were their number one need. He was closely followed by the store manager / general manager (40.3%),
parts manager (30.6%) and sales manager (25.8%).

Dealer feedback included:

“We need more training at the highest levels. “

“Precision is still a difficult role to fulfill, it takes a long time to train people to be effective in this role. “

“Service Management continues to stay at the top of the list, we believe that the role of Service Manager is the most difficult role in the organization and the most difficult to fulfill effectively. We also found it difficult to effectively replace sales leadership roles. “

Main skills development needs

Looking at dealers from all brands, leadership skills were ranked as the # 1 need for skill development by 77.4% of dealers. Operational Best Practices ranked second at 52.5% and Financial Understanding was third at 60.7% of dealers.

Best sources of training

Just over 47% of dealership CEOs say there are adequate sources of training. When asked what their preferred source of training was, 50.8% said in-house training / preparation by existing employees was their first choice. One-third of CEOs said they prefer independent training and consulting firms. Comments suggest, however, that a mix of in-house, third-party, and manufacturer training is necessary for successful employee development.

You want to know more ?

  • Watch the webinar – Workforce Development, Identifying Today’s Challenges for the Next Generation of Leaders – at Farm-Equipment.com

  • If you would like a copy of the survey as well as individual line breakdowns – AGCO, Case IH, John Deere, Kubota and New Holland results compared to industry averages are available from Western Equipment Dealers Assn. Contact Michael Piercy ([email protected]) or John Schmeiser ([email protected]) for more information.

Where is the greatest long-term need?

Similar to short-term needs, department managers rank first (57.1%), followed by store manager / general manager (54%), sales manager (38.1%), the parts manager (34.9%) and the after-sales service manager (31.7%). “We have also seen differences where HR managers are more in the longer term. Precision ag manager also saw an increase in the long term, and the other CFO also saw an increase in long term needs, ”notes John Schmeiser, CEO of WEDA.

Dealer feedback included:

“Training at the highest level will be our long-term need. What we need are the most difficult positions to fill. Expectations for these types of jobs have increased. And then it gets harder to promote from within due to the lack of skill sets.

Self-checking: how are you?

CEOs were asked if they were doing enough to develop people to advance to senior or mid-level management positions. More than half (55.6%) said no and only a quarter said they were doing enough. Another 19% were not sure whether they were or not. “The responsibility for monitoring the development and training that people receive seems to be a real sticking point,” notes Piercy.

Dealer feedback included:

“It seems that fewer people are interested in developing their skills unless the dealership continues to pay them for the time they learn. I believe in the past a lot of people would invest their time to improve their skills. “

“We do a lot to try to grow, but accountability is a big challenge. “

Training investments

“One of the most interesting questions we asked was the financial investment their dealer group made each year in training. This question was very revealing when we did the decomposition line by line. But overall, we have just over a quarter of survey participants who invest more than $ 250,000 in training, but over 50% invest less than $ 100,000, ”says Schmeiser. Dealers have been asked to respond based on pre-COVID investment levels.


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