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[Author: Andrew E. Goodman, President/CEO, 03.2017 | Keywords: Executive Insight, Recruiting]

The critical issue of recruiting and training top notch service technicians has been addressed in past issues of The Retailer. Traditionally, these articles focused on recruiting community college students or graduates trained to service equipment. However, as equipment continues to become more technically advanced, it is more important than ever for service technicians to get the appropriate training offered at many of these fine community colleges.

The service department is not the only department that has become more technically advanced. Computer systems have infiltrated almost every aspect of the dealership – from accounting functions and inventory control, to human resources, sales and compliance – the list goes on and on. Even social media has invaded the dealership with many utilizing this new avenue to reach customers. It remains likely that we will continue to see more dealerships adding complete Information Technology (IT) departments to provide support for dealership systems, as well as operating systems used by customers.

All of this technology, coupled with the fact that dealerships today are significantly larger than those of years gone by, has resulted in a growing need for more employees and managers with superior technical knowledge. To satisfy this need, dealerships should not only look at community colleges, but four-year colleges and universities as well, to recruit graduates to fill both current and future needs. I encourage you to reach out to college placement offices, work with college career centers and consider starting a mentoring program for students looking for career opportunities in the equipment industry.

In addition, look internally to promote current employees who have the characteristics of a good supervisor or manager, but may lack an educational component needed for advancement. Investing in these employees through a tuition assistance program at a four-year college or university could pay huge dividends in the future.

INEDA’s scholarship program is a great way to start your recruitment efforts. Currently, if a dealership contributes $1,000 to a student’s education, INEDA will double that with a contribution of $2,000 for a grand total of $3,000 per year for the student. For more information on the scholarship program, call our office at 800.622.0016.

Dealerships often compete against other businesses to get the best employees. Many from other industries subsidize or pay for the education of potential employees. If equipment dealerships are going to remain competitive in the marketplace, they must seek out and sponsor the best students. It is an investment in the future success of your dealership.