Jared Nobbe

Jared Nobbe, Wm. Nobbe & Co. facilitates the dealer-to-dealer roundtable on “Strategies for Retaining & Rewarding Key Personnel”

Jared Nobbe, Wm. Nobbe & Co. Inc., Waterloo, Illinois moderated the “Strategies for Retaining & Rewarding Key Personnel” dealer-to-dealer roundtable during the Dealership Mind Summit. This topic was so highly attended that it had dealers standing on the landing below to better listen to the specific ideas and comments from the group.

Myriad ideas — and a great many pros/cons shared by experienced managers —were exchanged during the session, some of which will be shared in future editions of Farm Equipment. The array of questions showed how important the topic is in today’s dealership world: “How can we fairly reward and encourage our senior techs in mentoring the young ones? What is the best way to handle year-end bonuses? Is anyone having luck with professional recruiters?”

A lot of individual suggestions resonated, including a dealer who’s had good luck recruiting crop input people (co-ops and fertilizer companies) to his equipment dealership. “They’ve been well-trained and are welcome on the farms but many are getting burned-out during the season,” he says. There was near consensus that the best way to connect an employee to the business is to firmly connect the spouse to the business. One exec expressed that a good measure of whether a store manager is communicating properly to all employees is how many show up for the company Christmas party.

Shared below is the summary that Nobbe presented back to the group on his key takeaways from the exchange.

“First is to provide career paths for employees,” he says. “When an employee starts, give them an understanding of where they can be 10 years down the road, 15 years down the road. So they don’t view it as a dead-end job or get stagnant in it.

“Second, bringing the organization together is important. We decided that employee events where you bring in the entire organization together to co-mingle, whether you put them up in a hotel and have an event or just have a picnic, is much more effective than doing any kind of bonus maybe to promote employee morale and get connectivity in your organization.

“Finally, the question came up with those top employees that we really can’t go without or would be very difficult to lose. Some good ideas came up on how to retain them. Some key man life insurance policies and looking at what you could do there and some stock options that that person can see some benefit from for the work that they’ve done.