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the Retailer Q4: 2021 | Quarterly magazine

SERVING AG, CONSTRUCTION AND OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT DEALERS ACROSS IOWA AND NEBRASKA

C O M PA N Y C U LT U R E Company culture should be at the heart of everything your dealership does, and it’s one of the most important parts of any successful workforce recruitment and retention strategy.


You Hold the Keys Confidently place people behind the wheel of your company vehicles with the help of driver screening tools and risk management resources.

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CONTENTS

3

5

EXECUTIVE INSIGHT

FEATURE COMPANY CULTURE

How can you be a better coach and leader? CEO Mark Hennessey recommends “sharpening your saw” in his latest column.

Company culture should be at the heart of everything your dealership does because it’s one of the most important parts of any successful workforce recruitment and retention strategy.

?

Q&A WITH INEDA FIELD DIRECTORS

14

16

EDUCATION EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION SURVEY

FEATURE OBSERVATIONS FROM THE FIELD

With competition for new employees at an all-time high, it’s more important than ever to keep up with industry changes regarding wages, benefits, and workplace trends.

We know one of the biggest issues facing our members today is hiring and retaining employees. Our Iowa and Nebraska Field Directors share what they’ve been hearing from YOU!

18 EDUCATION FRAUD PROTECTION AND AWARENESS There’s no doubt the digital transformation of the agricultural equipment industry has been a game-changer. But just as online equipment sales are on the rise, so are cyber scammers.

TABLE OF CONTENTS | 1


CONTENTS

OFFICERS: Tim Kayton Chairman

Scott Raber Vice Chairman

Fremont, NE

Scott Beach Past Chairman

Grinnell, IA

EDA DIRECTOR:

EMPLOYEE RETENTION CREDIT

24

Albion, NE

Ivan Dorhout

Rock Valley, IA

DIRECTORS:

27

EDUCATION EMPLOYEE RETENTION CREDIT

FEATURE INEDA HEALTHCARE PROGRAM

Find out if you are eligible for sizeable tax credits with the Employee Retention Credit.

The Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) is pleased to announce the INEDA Healthcare Program, giving equipment dealers access to a turnkey health benefits solution, designed specifically for you.

Kevin Clark Jay Funke Kent Grosshans Brian Koonce Matt Vande Hoef

STAFF:

Mark Hennessey Tom Junge Mark Othmer Donna Miller Will Rogers Cindy Feldman Gwen Parks Sydney Upah Gretchen Burch Channon Timm David Adelman Tim Keigher

Lincoln, NE Edgewood, IA Central City, NE Marcus, IA Hull, IA

President/CEO IA Field Director NE Field Director Operations Manager Director of Gov’t. Affairs Marketing Director Controller Mktg. Comm. Designer Admin. Svcs. Assist. Admin. Svcs. Assist. IA Legislative Director NE Legislative Director

CONTACT INEDA: 8330 NW 54th Ave. Johnston, IA | 50131-2841 E: info@ineda.com | W: www.ineda.com P: 515.223.5119 | F: 515.223.7832 TF: 800.622.0016.

Affiliated with:

28 EDUCATION EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION There is one employee retention method that can be implemented immediately, has no out-of-pocket expense, can make a huge impact for your business, and doesn’t require a lot of work on your part.

2 | TABLE OF CONTENTS

31 MARKETING VIEW Time is not moving faster— you are. Your hobbies are your choice. Your words are your choice. Your choice is urgency. You are choosing to rush.

SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION:

Individual subscriptions are available without charge to Association members. One-year subscriptions are available to all others for $30.00 (4 issues). Contact INEDA for additional information. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is furnished with the understanding that the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association, the publisher, is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. Changes in the law may render the information contained in this publication invalid. Legal advice or other expert assistance should be obtained from a competent professional.

Vol. 110 No. 4


executive insight College football is back and fans are filling the stadiums, cheering on their teams, becoming armchair quarterbacks, and second-guessing the refs’ play-calling on any given Saturday. Imagine you were the head coach of Nebraska, Iowa, or Iowa State football—what plays would you call, which players would be on the field, and what would you do differently? Now let’s transition from the football field to your dealership or branch location. If your employees were playing the role of armchair quarterback at your business, what changes would they implement to make it a better place to work? Would they want you as their head coach? Do they feel like they are on a winning team? Winning teams have coaches who maximize each player’s talents and put together a successful game plan to develop their players into a cohesive unit. Ask yourself—what is your game plan? Recently, I had the pleasure to speak with an individual whose passion is helping leaders maximize their individual and team potential. His focus is on transformational change— helping leaders be their best by fostering a company culture built on trust and open communication that brings alignment and cohesion. His message made me reflect on how I can empower my staff and be a better leader and coach. We have great leaders throughout our membership. I’ve heard from many of you that you want to develop more soft skills like leadership development, team-building, and team motivation. Too often, there is not enough time to spend on these soft skills. Your dealership’s primary focus is the operational aspects of your business. The Iowa State Cyclones have transformed themselves from a team that routinely found itself at the bottom of the Big 12 Conference into a nationally-ranked, Top 10 football team. How did this transformation happen? Was it incremental or transformational in nature? In Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the seventh habit is “Sharpening the Saw.” Covey uses the analogy of a woodcutter who was sawing for several days straight while becoming less and less productive. Furthermore, the process of the continuous cutting caused the blade to become dull. When the woodcutter tried to saw faster, it dulled the blade even more. Covey’s point is to periodically take time to sharpen the saw. He stresses that we must preserve and enhance the greatest asset that you have control over—you! In his analogy, you are the saw. By regularly investing in yourself, you become more effective in your life’s work and reap dividends on a continual basis. You feel better, your family feels better, your employees feel better, and you’re a healthier person, too. Push “pause” now. When will you find the time to sharpen your saw? How do you get started? What should you do? These questions will be answered at our Workforce Development Regional Workshop in Ankeny, IA and Grand Island, NE this November 2 and 3, respectively. This workshop is your opportunity to learn how to grow in your leadership and begin to build a transformational game plan, just as the Iowa State Cyclones have done with their football program. It will cost nothing but your time. Come prepared to roll up your sleeves and “sharpen your saw.” I look forward to seeing you there.

Chief Executive Officer

EXECUTIVE INSIGHT | 3


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How to Build Strong Company Culture at Your Dealership

W

hen you think about the elements that are most important to your dealership, what comes to mind? Surely you thought of profitmargins and closing big deals. While yes, these are both valuable assets to your dealership, let’s not forget about how impactful boosting strong company culture can be to an organization. Company culture should be at the heart of everything your dealership does and it’s one of the most important parts of any successful workforce recruitment and retention strategy.

What is Company Culture? Company culture is often defined as the set of shared values and goals that are established within an organization. It also encompasses the attitude and practices a company upholds. Company culture is oftentimes reflected in the attitude and behavior of a dealership and its employees. You’ll get a good first impression of a dealership’s culture based on how people interact with one another, the values they uphold, and the decisions they make regarding their dealership.

Plus, creating a winning culture within your dealership improves your recruitment marketing efforts and leads to higher retention rates, while also leaving your current employees with a sense of empowerment.

Why is company culture important? Because company culture is essentially your dealership’s personality, it’s important to build one that is strong and accurately reflects your dealership. Candidates interested in joining your team will pay special attention to the salary and benefits that are being offered, but they’ll notice

FEATURE COMPANY CULTURE | 5


culture, too. Your dealership’s culture will set the tone and expectations for the work environment and is a key factor in how employees feel about working for a business.

77%

of adults would evaluate a company’s culture before applying to an open position. Source: Glassdoor

Kevin Clark, President and CEO of AKRS Equipment, one of the largest John Deere dealers in the country, said AKRS wants to ensure the benefits it offers to employees extend beyond health insurance and retirement plans. By offering flex scheduling, AKRS is allowing employees to work hours that fit into their schedules without sacrificing the quality of customer service— and so far, the response from technicians in their test pilot

6 | FEATURE COMPANY CULTURE

program has been very positive.

1. Team culture

“The pandemic has fastforwarded the momentum of the need for flexibility,” Clark said. “There’s a common misunderstanding that flexiblity equals poor work ethic. As a family-oriented company, we want parents to be able to attend their kids’ baseball games without fear of negative consequences—which also then reinforces community spirit.”

Having team culture means that your company or dealership’s primary focus is all about mentorship and teamwork. Your company motto is probably something similar to “we’re all in this together” as team culture is very people-focused in the sense that your dealership wants everyone to feel like they’re one big happy family.

The four types of company culture The four types of company culture were developed by Robert E. Quinn and Kim S. Cameron of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. After investigating the qualities that make businesses effective, and listing out 39 attributes, they were able to narrow the types of company culture to four that are the most popular and widely accepted across varying industries.

In team culture, the work environment is extremely collaborative, every individual is highly valued, and communication is a top priority. A clear benefit of establishing team culture at your workplace is that it often leads to high employee engagement. However, the flip side is that this “familystyle” culture is difficult to maintain as your company grows and hires more people. Because of this, it’s often found in startups and smaller companies.


“It’s very important to AKRS that we don’t lose our identity as we continue to grow,” Clark said. “We want to maintain the the family-oriented feel and trust of a small company while providing the excellent benefits, scalability, and efficiency of a large corportation. We like our stores to be engaged in their local communities and don’t want customers to feel like they’re in a corporate-dictated environment when they come into one of our stores.” As a dealership evolves from a mom-and-pop shop to a multistore organization, maintaining a team culture can be difficult. One way AKRS reinforces community spirit among its 27 locations is by allocating a marketing budget for each store manager to spend within their local community—sponsoring a local youth baseball team or hosting a booth at the county fair, for example.

2. Adhocracy culture

from any mistakes.

Adhocracy culture is centered around taking risks and being innovative. Dealerships that exhibit adhocracy culture are always looking to come up with the next big thing. They value individuality in the sense that they encourage their team to think outside the box and exhibit creativity with every idea they bring to the table.

“We encourage our team to use our guiding principles to make their own decisions and move forward but not be afraid to make mistakes,” Ostrander said.

A benefit of having this type of company culture is that it often leads to high-profit margins as employees are always motivated to achieve sky-high goals. However, taking risks is always going to be, well, risky. There’s always a chance that one of these ideas won’t work as planned and could hurt the business in the long run. Jeremy Ostrander, CEO of AgriVision Equipment Group, said part of the culture AgriVision strives to promote is giving its employees the autonomy to take risks and learn

3. Market culture Dealerships that exhibit market culture are centered around competition and growth. Being profitable is front and center as a top priority and everything is evaluated with the bottom line in mind. The main objective of these companies is centered around meeting a quota, reaching a specific target, and getting results. A clear benefit of having market culture is that they are often profitable and achieve success. This is because the entire dealership is laser-focused and everyone is working toward the same objectives. However, a downside is that the focus is never on internal satisfaction, so it can be difficult for employees

FEATURE COMPANY CULTURE | 7


to have a sense of purpose outside of being a cog in a machine. Companies with a market culture have the goal of being the best of the best, meaning you’ll find it at larger dealerships where well-known leaders are at the top of the pack. 4. Hierarchy culture Last but not least, hierarchy culture is centered around structure and stability. Dealerships within this culture adhere to traditional corporate culture, meaning there’s a clear chain of command with various tiers of management that separate employees from leadership. A benefit of having hierarchy culture in the workplace is that they often have a clear and welldefined process that keeps the main objectives of the dealership top of mind. However, because this culture is so rigid, it leaves little room for employees to be creative and employee feedback often slips through the cracks.

How to build or improve company culture Regardless of which type your dealership is looking to build—or which type you have that you’d like to improve upon—creating a positive work culture isn’t easy. Establish and implement core values When you’re hiring for open roles at your dealership, candidates will always look to see what your core values are, so it’s important that you take the time to make them stand out. Keep in mind that your values are just words unless you take the time to put them to action.

8 | FEATURE COMPANY CULTURE

If one of your values is that your dealership values loyalty, curiosity, and integrity, how do you plan to back them up?

culture that can be a little tricky is that it’s hard to measure and track the effectiveness of your company culture initiatives.

“As we merge and grow, one thing that happens if we’re not intentional about creating the kind of culture we want is we’ll end up with a melting pot of cultures that are not desired,” Ostrander said of AgriVision. “It’s not a single event or shortterm—it’s a living, breathing, ongoing, every day effort. If it’s not something talked about and lived out in every meeting and every conversation, it drifts.”

In order to help nail this down and improve company culture, always involve your employees in the process. You should stay in constant communication with your staff and ask for their opinion of their success through an employee engagement survey or tracking system.

When put into practice, your core values become more than words. They become what healthy company culture is built on. Set realistic company culture goals The goals you set in regard to your dealership’s culture are going to be a little different than your usual KPIs. The goals centered around culture will pertain to the fundamental ideals behind your company. Think about why the dealership was founded in the first place. Your company culture should reflect that while showing what the dealership is working toward. It should have an almost inspirational message behind it or feel like the dealership’s overall mission statement. “We both hire and fire based on culture and values,” Ostrander said. “You can teach the rest of the business. When you watch employers compromise on culture, then you will watch their business struggle.” Get everyone involved The element about company

“People attract people who are highly aligned with their own core values and guiding principles,” Ostrander said. “The team has to be willing to call someone out when they’re not aligned with our values and reward them when they are.” One way AgriVision recognizes employees who exemplify its guiding principles (integrity, results, servant leadership, innovation, and commitment) is with a coin that can be handed out on the spot to recognize an employee for doing something special. The company also rewards a few employees who are living out its guiding principles each year by giving away trips for two to Mexico, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. “These are fun ways to acknowledge people that stand out in their alignment with our culture,” Ostrander said. Make diversity a priority A top priority for any dealership should be taking the time to invest in creating a team that accurately reflects the culture of your community. Too often people get caught up in finding candidates that remind them of themselves or have the exact same qualifications that they do.


Having a diverse workforce does more than improve your company culture—it pays in the long run. The advantages of having people from different walks of life working for your dealership are abundant. They offer a different perspective, fresh ideas, a variety of skills, and they bring something new to the dealership’s culture. Diversity within a team is something more and more employees are saying is important to them when looking at company culture.

67%

of employees say that diversity is an important factor when they look for a job. Source: Glassdoor

As an HR professional, recruiter, or hiring manager, if you’re struggling with your company culture and looking for a quick way to improve, take some time to reexamine your hiring structure and process. Make it a priority to hire qualified people different from those who already work for your dealership while still finding the right cultural fit for long term success. Clearly define and encourage career development This is especially important when dealing with young recruits who are just starting out in their careers. Many employees will only stay in a job long enough for them to learn everything there is to learn before moving on and taking their skills elsewhere. Are you offering your employees room and space to grow?

If not, you could be inadvertently pushing them out the door. In fact, the number one reason employees leave a job is due to lack of development and career growth. Career development is more than just offering someone a raise. There are several options you can give employees that go beyond the more traditional way of thinking about career development. • Create a mentorship program to pair newer employees with more senior staff. • Reimburse employees for attending work-related conferences and training sessions. • Create a tuition reimbursement program. • Put an ambitious employee in charge of a new project. • Encourage cross-departmental

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FEATURE COMPANY CULTURE | 9


collaboration. • Start a lunch-and-learn program where employees can learn from each other. You can start small by offering one or two of these programs before expanding to something more complex. Remember that when it comes to company culture, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You need to decide what works for your dealership’s budget, time, and resources. Encourage innovation and spontaneity As you implement cultural changes to your dealership, you’re going to have employees who are excited and want to get involved. It’s in your best interest to not only listen to these employees, but also to engage them in the process. These employees can act as ambassadors of your new company culture initiatives and provide feedback from fellow employees as you try new things. You may even consider designating them a special role for new company culture ideas that you roll out in the future, which will help maintain a competitive advantage when recruiting new individuals to join your company. This will help engage them and make them feel valued. Looking for ways to accomplish this? Here are five ideas you can do to encourage innovation: • Hold a contest for the best new idea in the dealership every quarter. • Create a suggestion box that anyone can submit ideas to. • Have a team brainstorming

10 | FEATURE COMPANY CULTURE

session once a quarter to get new ideas flowing. • Dedicate a whiteboard space for people to write and share new ideas. • Create a culture committee where employees can plan potlucks, luncheons, holiday parties, and more. It’s important to provide people a way to suggest their ideas anonymously. It’s common that some of your teammates or employees may not be motivated by recognition and would rather quietly offer their suggestions without the fuss and fanfare. Be careful not to alienate those people when you’re creating your company culture initiative. Be transparent as things change As dealerships grow, so do their policies. A dealership with 30 employees might not be able to afford the same resources when they grow to 200 people. For example, frequent office lunches and snacks may become a financial strain, and you may decide this is no longer in the budget. Or perhaps company outings have become too expensive and it’s time to reevaluate if they should continue. These changes aren’t necessarily negative. They’re a natural reaction to company growth and change. One way to avoid trouble or discontentment with these changes is by communicating them clearly, honestly, and making them true for everyone. Failing to communicate these changes in a clear way with your team can leave your employees with mixed messages. Veteran

employees will be upset that new rules and changes are unclear, and new hires will be upset that they’re following rules other employees are exempt from. Various managers, depending on their personal convictions, may enforce the rules differently among their teams, leaving employees feeling unfairly treated. The best way to avoid this is to enact changes across the board, holding every employee or team member to the same standard. Your team members should never feel like they have to guess what’s okay or feel like they may be punished for disobeying rules they don’t fully understand. Bypass some of the tension associated with rule development by remaining open and honest with your employees about why these changes are necessary. Building strong company culture at your dealership is easier said than done. Once you gather your HR department to work together and get the leadership on board, and the extra care and attention you give to improving the culture for your employees will be worth it in the end.  Source: Mara Calvello, G2


Iowa & Nebraska Regional Workshops This workshop will provide you with ideas and resources for improving employee retention and company culture at your dealership or business.

About the Workshop

We know finding and keeping employees is one of the biggest challenges our equipment dealerships are facing right now. At the workshop, you will learn from experts how to create a proactive strategy for retaining your employees. This free, one-day workshop is targeted toward HR professionals, hiring managers, managers, decision makers, leadership and executive teams, and anyone interested in improving employee retention rates at your dealership.

Meet the Speakers

Aaron Kampman CEO at Align

Kaitlyn J. Niechwiadowicz Manager of Talent Development at Enova

REGISTRATION 515.223.5119

Ben Gano Director of Talent Strategy at Enova

Tuesday, November 2, 2021 (Iowa) Wednesday, November 3, 2021 (Nebraska) FFA Enrichment Center, Ankeny, IA Fonner Park, Grand Island, NE

FREE to all INEDA members and their employees. RSVP required by October 22. COMPANY CULTURE | 11 FEATURE


ne AROUND

NEBRASKA

COMPANY CULTURE: PLANNED OR PERCEIVED?

E

very business, whether intentional or not, has a culture. Company culture is defined as the shared values, attributes, and characteristics of an organization. It is evident in the way an organization’s employees interact with each other, the values they hold, and the decisions they make. Company culture encompasses a variety of elements, including work environment, company mission, leadership style, values, ethics, expectations, and goals.

MARK OTHMER, Nebraska Field Director [marko@ineda.com]

business groups that, over time, had developed their own culture for each of the integrated locations. The new multi-location company will have a major challenge ahead of itself to integrate employees of a different company culture into the planned culture of the new organization. This is not always successful with each employee. Sometimes the new company culture is not compatible with an employee of an integrated or merged business, and a different direction for the employee will be necessary, whether being transferred to a different location or termination. Unfortunately, in today’s world of tight labor markets, termination can cause another set of problems, but managers of the organization will need to weigh which is more important: creating the right company culture or finding and training a new employee.

A company’s culture may be expressly and deliberately cultivated, or it may simply result from the accumulation of decisions made over time. With a strong company culture, employees understand the expected behaviors and outcomes and act accordingly. Some companies have a team-based culture that emphasizes employee participation I feel that I speak with some experience on this on all levels, while other businesses have a issue, although it was many years ago. I was part of culture where formal, traditional, or hierarchical an operation that purchased a second location but management is valued. When you work at a failed to realize the culture differences between the company with a traditional management style, your two organizations. I blindly believed that it would job responsibilities will be clearly defined, but there be easy to instill operating procedures, employee may not be opportunities to advance without going actions, customer reactions, and business processes through a formal promotion or that I had used for years in my transfer process. At a more casual organization. I soon realized “What a company plans for workplace, employees often have that the employees of the their culture is not always the the opportunity to take on new new business location were one that is perceived by their projects, and additional roles, as accustomed to working under employees or customers.” time permits. the watchful eye of a supervisor What a company plans for their culture is not always the one that is perceived by their employees or customers. Oftentimes in today’s farm equipment world, a multi-location business becomes the accumulation of many former smaller

12 | NEBRASKA FIELD REPORT

and expected the supervisor to make all decisions on day-to-day operations. My organization had discarded that mode of operation years ago and tried to explain to the the employees that they were allowed to make decisions and


changes in their daily routines and operation within a set of guidelines we provided from the management team. Some employees thrived in this new management style; some not so much. In this situation, there is often a problem with employees reverting to old procedures and encouraging fellow employees to do the same, causing conflict and indecisions. Obviously, this would derail the planned company culture, and more so, affect the perceived company culture. Perceived company culture is a whole different animal, and once again, after walking into dealerships for nearly 25 years, perceived company culture is immediately identified. It’s unfortunate that someone can walk into a business and feel uncomfortable about being there, but I can attest that this can be true in almost any type of business, including equipment dealerships. If the team is not accepting of the planned company culture, the perceived culture becomes the identifying factor and will unquestionably cause conflict and confusion in operations and customer relations, not to mention employee productivity and satisfaction. It is vital for for planned company culture and perceived company culture to be cohesive. This is a big challenge in today’s farm equipment business world, as many organizations are an accumulation of former smaller dealerships or groups of dealerships. It is very important for managers to keep a watchful eye on the culture of each of their locations, making sure their planned culture and the perceived culture are one and the same. I’m sure you will be hearing more from INEDA on company culture in the future. Our regional workshops on workforce development coming up in November in Ankeny, IA and Grand Island, NE will include more information on the issue of company culture and how you, as a manager, can boost the culture of your team. 

nebraska SALES TAX spotlight Q. Do farm tractors, combines and implements have to abide by axle weight limitations identified by the Nebraska Department of Transportation?

A. Mostly no. INEDA and several other organizations

worked to pass LB977 in the 2016 session of the Nebraska Unicameral. This bill provided for a complete exemption from axle load limitations on farm tractors and implements being driven on or towed on Nebraska roadways, as long as they are not on the Interstate Highway System. There is an exception, though. Local municipalities and counties are allowed to restrict travel of such equipment on sections of roadway that are vulnerable during certain times of the year—specifically, during spring thaw when road foundations may become compromised. This restriction is limited in length of time to 180 days. Also, load limitations on bridges and culverts must still be maintained.

NEBRASKA FIELD REPORT | 13


1. What percentage of survey participants indicated that they close their dealerships on Saturdays in the winter or off-season?

?

QUIZ: TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE ON INDUSTRY WORKPLACE CHANGES

C. 29%

B. 19%

D. 38%

?

Questions 5-7: Hourly Wages See Big Jump

C. 17.8 days

Dealers continue to raise customer labor rates in order to help offset the increase in employee costs (wages and health insurance).

Question 10: Health Insurance

The cost of health insurance is one of the most discussed issues for dealers. 14 | NEBRASKA GOLF OUTING

D. 59%

A. 10%

A. 14.2 days

Question 9: Customer Labor Rates

B. 41%

?

With the difficulty finding employees who want to work on Saturdays, dealerships are starting to take new measures.

Dealers are willing to pay more for top technicians who produce results.

C. 50%

2. What percentage of survey participants indicated that they reduce their work week during the off-season?

Questions 1-4: Changes in the Work Week

Question 8: Top Technician Productivity

A. 32%

?

With the competition to hire new employees at an all-time high, it is important to keep up with changes regarding wages, benefits, and workplace trends within the equipment dealer industry. This short quiz based off the 2021 INEDA Employee Compensation/ Productivity/Benefits Survey results will test your knowledge of industry workplace changes.

With a very tight labor market, it’s not a surprise that the hourly rate of many positions took a larger leap in 2021 than 2019. Some notable hourly rate jumps occured with technicians, service writers, truck drivers, parts counter personnel, and office personnel.

?

B. 16 days

3. How many days of PTO does the average dealer offer employees that have been employed for 10+ years?

D. 19.2 days

? 4. On average, how many fewer hours are employees working per week?

A. 1 hour B. 2 hours C. 3 hours D. 4 hours

?


5. On average, how much is an entry-level technician paid per hour?

?

A. $15.81

9. What was the median customer labor rate in 2021?

B. $17.00 C. $18.30 D. $19.51

A. $110/hr

?

B. $119/hr C. $129/hr D. $135/hr

? A. $19.50

? 6. On average, how much is a parts counter employee paid per hour?

B. $20.50 C. $21.50

10. For health insurance, what is the average individual deductible amount?

D. $22.50

?

?

A. $2,100

C. $3,169

B. $2,644

D. $3,688

7. Which employee position had the largest increase in hourly wage between 2019 and 2021?

? A. Entry Level Tech

C. Top Tech

B. Truck Driver

D. Office Manager

?

8. What was the average annual sales amount for a dealership’s top technician?

A. $178,203

C. $215,998

B. $198,456

D. $241,991

?

The 2021 INEDA Employee Compensation/ Productivity/Benefits Survey results are now available! The survey results can be purchased for $275 (money-back guarantee if you don’t feel the survey provides value to your dealership). This survey also includes select business operational figures. The next survey will be conducted in 2023. How up to date are you with industry workplace trends? Compare your answers with the correct answers below. If you got 7-9 answers correct, you have a strong understanding of the changes affecting equipment businesses. If you got 5-6 answers correct, you should consider purchasing the survey results to grow your knowledge. If you got 4 or fewer correct, you’ll want to call INEDA and order the results today! Contact Tom Junge at tomj@ineda.com to order.  Answers: 1.B; 2.C; 3.D; 4.B; 5.D; 6.C; 7.C; 8.D; 9.C; 10.C

EDUCATION EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION SURVEY | 15


Q&A

WITH INEDA FIELD DIRECTORS The Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) is fortunate to have two field directors on the road visiting dealers and distributors. One of their roles is to listen to members’ needs and concerns and provide immediate solutions. One of the main issues facing members today is hiring and retaining employees, so we sat down with our field directors to find out what they’re hearing from dealers on the topic.

Q:

What unique employee retention tool(s) have you seen being used by dealers?

MARK OTHMER Nebraska Field Director [marko@ineda.com]

Some dealers will purchase life insurance policies on key employees and agree to sign it over to them after an agreedupon time of employment. These could be term policies with cash values that the employee can choose to cash out or keep in place. TOM JUNGE Iowa Field Director [tomj@ineda.com]

I heard of one situation where a 55-year-old key employee was considering leaving. The dealer and employee came up with a 10-year agreement where he would put $3,000 into a fund and write the employee a check for $30,000 at the end of the period. The employee immediately thought about how he and his wife could use the money for traveling.

16 | FEATURE OBSERVATIONS FROM THE FIELD

Q:

How have dealers worked with guidance counselors and educators to recruit new young employees?

Dealers have luck working with FFA organizations and sponsoring agriculture MARK and industrial OTHMER arts teachers. More of these educators are understanding the opportunities for students in the trades than we’ve historically seen. One dealer got their local school district on board by sharing the importance of keeping students TOM employed in the JUNGE local community after graduation. If the school sends all of their students away to a four-year university, there won’t be any young people left to sustain the community and the school district.

Q:

Where else have you seen success in dealership employee recruitment?

One thing successful dealerships have in common is that they have implemented a TOM JUNGE grassroots effort to recruit new employees from within their community. They have open communication with high schools and identify students early. If the student wants to be a technician, they help sponsor them in a tech program. The key is recruit locally. A dealer who worked in HR once told me that 90% of people look for jobs based on proximity of their hometown. They may leave for a while, but they eventually end up back near their hometown or spouse’s hometown. Their dealership wouldn’t recruit anyone whose hometown was more than 50 miles from their business.


Q:

It seems that more employees don’t want to work Saturdays. Are dealers changing their work week?

Dealers are identifying the times in spring and fall (usually four weeks each) when they MARK need to be open OTHMER on Saturdays—and sometimes even on Sundays— and then closing on weekends for the rest of the year. Other dealers will rotate Fridays off for the employee who is responsible for working on Saturday. Dealers need to talk with their employees, express the need for being open on weekends, and listen to what employees want in exchange. Usually they can reach an agreement. More and more dealers are closing on Saturdays during the off-season. Before making these TOM decisions, they JUNGE reviewed tech billing and parts sales to see if the decision made sense. Others are keeping one staff member from each department at work on Saturdays during the off-season. A few have cut back their workday by 30 minutes per day. One dealer told me, “I have no problem closing on Saturday, but I don’t want to be the first one, and I don’t want to be the only one.”

Q:

Dealers tell us that customers are more demanding and want 24/7 customer service, but the workforce only wants a 40hour week. How should dealers respond?

Customers are definitely becoming more demanding. Quite often, technicians MARK give their phone OTHMER numbers to customers which allows customers to call them directly at any time. Because of this, some customers will expect 24/7 service without a charge. This happens a lot, and dealers are struggling with how to control it. Some dealers are negotiating “after hours service contracts” with customers so everyone knows the charges up front and technicians know what they will be paid up front. It is a tough problem to tackle. When I worked at a dealership, there were really only TOM two customers that JUNGE would appear in our driveway on a Sunday. Most farmers would wait till Monday. I’m seeing dealers handling this by implementing an emergency call fee that they split with the tech carrying the service cell phone for the weekend. With this fee, many of the “emergencies” suddenly aren’t as urgent anymore. Some dealers are also communicating to customers that if they don’t back off on weekend hours, they will not have any experienced techs to service their equipment even throughout the week.

Q:

What changes are you seeing regarding the structure of the employee work week?

I just recently talked to a dealer that is experimenting with a four 10-hour workday and rotating staff. TOM JUNGE Early reports show that some employees like it and others don’t. Typically, Saturday employee productivity is poor. Dealers want to see if overall production will improve if employees know they only have to work 40 hours a week. Another dealer said he lost an employee to a competitor that allowed him to work four 10 hour days. He was a good employee and considered offering the same but didn’t know how to handle inquiries from other employees. Some are trying to rotate employees on Saturdays, but at peak times, it might still be all hands on deck. For some employees, time off is just as important as wages, so I’ve heard some dealers considering letting employees earn extra PTO (Paid Time Off) that can be taken in the off-season. I don’t think limiting employees to 40 hours is necessary, and I actually believe most employees MARK are looking to work OTHMER more hours in the busy seasons. Rotating staff on Fridays and Saturdays can work, but supervision of employees each day needs to be the same, so service managers will have to rotate on those days also. If there is only one service manager, there needs to be a second in command who rotates with the service manager. 

FEATURE OBSERVATIONS FROM THE FIELD| 17


Fraud Protection and Awareness Avoid online equipment scams FARM CREDIT SERVICES OF AMERICA, AgDirect Learning Center/Fraud Protection

There’s no doubt the digital transformation of the agricultural equipment industry has been a game changer for manufacturers, dealers, and producers alike. Online equipment sales are on the rise, but just as the e-commerce landscape has expanded and become more sophisticated, so have cyber scammers. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the world’s leading researcher and publisher covering the global cyber economy, global cybercrime costs are expected to grow by 15% over the next five years. “Fraud is becoming more prevalent across every industry, and while these cases aren’t new in the agricultural

18 | EDUCATION FRAUD PROTECTION AND AWARENESS


EDUCATION FRAUD PROTECTION AND AWARENESS | 19


equipment space, fraud is ever-evolving,” said Kathy Christiansen, vice president of credit service and support with AgDirect. “Historically, equipment buyers and sellers have preferred in-person deals to online transactions, but in today’s digital day and age it’s critical to protect your personal and financial information and stay aware of potential risks that may cause you or your business harm.”

What to watch for Identify theft, counterfeit checks, and fake dealers are some of the common ways fraud is occurring in the ag equipment industry today. For example, a scammer may pose as a buyer and use stolen information to make a machinery purchase. “In cases of stolen identity, it’s important to verify the purchaser and ensure you know who you’re doing business with,” said Mike Spence, an AgDirect litigation officer. “We typically see fraud taking place in the used equipment sector, but if the logistics or location of the deal don’t pencil out—for instance, a California buyer looking to make an equipment purchase in New Jersey—that could be a red flag.” Another area of caution includes the use of counterfeit checks. However, with increased financial controls across the lending industry this potential threat is becoming less of an issue. Fake dealer websites pose yet another major problem for producers on the market for machinery as well as dealers with a legitimate online presence. In such cases the website may be set up with listings of tractors and other heavy machinery lifted from other sites or pictures of a nice-looking dealership pulled from an actual lot. “Usually when dealing with fake dealerships, phone calls go unanswered or are forwarded to a voicemail which can be a sign the calls are being monitored,” said Spence. “Other times a conversation between the buyer and a fake representative builds some confidence in the sale and falsely puts buyers at ease to go through with the transaction.”

Protection and prevention The promise of low prices or the sale of a rare piece of equipment are two triggers that are often used to target buyers in fraudulent schemes. Both scenarios can cause buyers to fall victim to bait and/or switch tactics:

20 | EDUCATION FRAUD PROTECTION AND AWARENESS

• Bait: A too good to be true ‘for sale’ price can mislead the purchaser to think they are getting a good deal and will be rushed to close the transaction. In reality, there is nothing tangible for sale—just a phony transaction.

• Switch: A legitimate transaction is about to occur, and all of a sudden, the wiring instructions change. The bad actor has compromised one of the buyer’s email accounts and is waiting for an opportunity to interject new wiring instructions at the last minute. “Scammers know how to take advantage of a situation and feed on the emotion involved with making a big machinery purchase,” said Tracie Archer, another litigation officer with AgDirect. “It can be easy to get caught up in the sense of urgency of the moment or feel like you’re missing out on a good deal.” “If the deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is,” she added. “Slow down if you’re feeling pressured, and if something doesn’t seem right it’s okay to take a step back and ask more questions.” Here are some of the steps you can take to protect you and your business against online equipment scams:

• Ask Questions » Are you comfortable and confident in the buyer or seller? » Have you worked with the buyer or seller before? » Have you worked with the buyer or seller in person? Or have you only interacted with them online?

• Investigate » Google the seller by name and keep an eye out for any reports of recent scams in your search results. » Reference the Better Business Bureau or your Secretary of State website to verify it is a recognized business entity. » Pull up the address of the seller on Google Earth, or better yet visit the seller in person to confirm a brick-and-mortar location exists.


• Consult with Others » Read online comments from other buyers or reach out to other known buyers who have made a purchase with the seller before. » Leverage the knowledge and relationships of your nearest AgDirect territory manager to determine whether the equipment is coming from a reputable seller.

AgDirect offers competitive rates and terms for both new and used equipment purchases. Check rates, quote payments and compare options with our free AgDirect Mobile application, or learn more about AgDirect equipment financing by locating your nearest AgDirect territory manager or contacting the AgDirect financing team at 888-525-9805. 

“Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the buyer to do their due diligence when making an equipment purchase online,” Christiansen said. “Before you trust a sale, verify the buyer or seller is legit,” she advised. “At the end of the day, it’s your equipment and your credit, so don’t be afraid to say no if you have a bad feeling about the deal.” AgDirect maintains high security standards and uses countermeasures to ensure that all personal and financial data remain confidential. The Federal Trade Commission and Federal Bureau of Investigation offer additional tips and resources for avoiding and reporting cyber scams and other fraudulent activity.

EDUCATION FRAUD PROTECTION AND AWARENESS | 21


INSIDE OUT:

EDUCATION

PROACTIVE STEPS TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN TALENT IN THIS TIGHT LABOR MARKET TY BURKE, Partner, The Accel Group [tburke@acceladvantage.com]

Y

ou don’t have to look hard to find news on the current state of the U.S. labor market. Local newspaper headlines report on the tight labor market and continue to express a gloomy remainder of the year. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) predicts an employee turnover ‘tsunami’ when the pandemic ends.

22 | FEATURE ATTRACT AND RETAIN TALENT

They also stated that more than half of employees surveyed in North America plan to look for a new job in 2021. With this type of future uncertainty, my mind, oddly enough, goes to a children’s book. Bestselling author Jon Gordon recently released The Coffee Bean. In this book, he teaches readers that life is often difficult. Life can be harsh and stressful, feeling like a pot of boiling hot


water. He notes that the environments we find ourselves in can change, weaken, or harden us, and test who we truly are. For example, we can be like the carrot that weakens in the pot or like an egg that hardens. Or we can be like the coffee bean and discover the power inside us to transform our environment.

time to shore up your onboarding materials and impress. This is your opportunity to help a new team member become engaged in your culture and the company’s success. Data proves that first impressions matter. Poor onboarding procedures lead to a loss of productivity and a shorter stint within your organization.

During times like this, organizations have the power inside their four walls to transform the environment and overcome the challenge at hand to attract and retain employees. Like the coffee bean, transformation comes from the inside out.

Employee referral programs

One piece of this transformation can be to focus on a robust employee benefit program that is attractive to your workforce. Here are some practical steps to consider as a part of your transformation.

Survey your existing employees There is no one size fits all approach to selecting benefits for your workforce. Conducting a survey can help you understand how your current benefit program is perceived and spot trends to act on. Additionally, this is a great way to engage with your employees and help them feel valued. Engaged employees perform better and stick around longer.

Annual reviews

Use your current team to be ambassadors for your organization! Establishing an employee referral program is a great way to attract new hires and reward current employees. Employees with strong friendships at work are more loyal and engaged on the job.

Exit interviews Conducting an exit interview provides the opportunity to gain insight on the reasons why an employee is leaving your organization. Look at them as a tool to reveal patterns and trends in areas that you may need to improve upon. High turnover is costly. My final recommendation is to work with a trusted advisor to optimize your benefit offerings and assist in each of the areas above. The journey is worth it. Lastly, be a coffee bean! Transform your organization from the inside out! 

If you are not currently doing one on one visits with your staff, I would encourage you to do so. This is a great time to provide a continual reminder of the existing benefits you offer. We find that many individuals only pay attention to the benefits that they believe pertain to them during the time of election. As we all know, life has a way of changing quickly. Keep the benefit offerings and their elections top of mind.

Cost containment and options The buck stops here. Work to get to a place where you feel good about the benefits you are offering as well as the cost associated with them. Henry Ford said it well, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” There are options out there to meet your budget as an employer and satisfy the needs of your team. Some organizations can achieve this overnight; for others, it is a multi-year approach.

Onboarding strategies Engage new hires before their start date. Take the

FEATURE ATTRACT AND RETAIN TALENT | 23


EMPLOYEE RETENTION CREDIT MICHELLE THORNBURG, Koski Professional Group, P.C. [mthornburg@koskicpa.com]

Y

ou may have heard about the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) but thought it wouldn’t apply to your business. The ERC was extended through December 31, 2021 and the qualifying requirements to claim the credits were reduced. As a result, you may be eligible for sizable tax credits. You previously could take either the PPP loan or the ERC, but not both. This was changed so you can take both the PPP and the ERC, but you must use different wages for claiming each. There are two ways your business can qualify for the ERC. Either you had to (1) fully or partially suspend operations due to a governmental order, or (2) have a decline in gross receipts.

Decline in Gross Receipts The qualifying decline in gross receipts is evaluated by quarter. The gross receipts amount to use in your comparison is based on your tax accounting method (cash or accrual).

Quarter

Requirement

2020 (ALL Qs)

50% decline in a specific quarter compared to the same 2019 quarter*

Q1 2021

Either 20% decline in Q1 2021 vs. Q1 2019 or Q4 2020 vs. Q4 2019

Q2 2021

Either 20% decline in Q2 2021 vs. Q2 2019 or Q1 2021 vs. Q1 2019

Q3 2021

Either 20% decline in Q3 2021 vs. Q3 2019 or Q2 2021 vs. Q2 2019

Q4 2021

Either 20% decline in Q4 2021 vs. Q4 2019 or Q3 2021 vs. Q3 2019

24 | EDUCATION EMPLOYEE RETENTION CREDIT


*If you qualify in one quarter in 2020, then you automatically qualify for each of the next calendar quarters in 2020, until the quarter after your gross receipts exceed 80% of the same 2019 quarter. Note: If you have affiliates (one or more people have control over multiple entities), then all affiliates must be added together in order to determine whether you qualify for the ERC.

Maximum Credit 2020*

2021

Maximum Wages

$10,000 per employee for the year

$10,000 per employee per quarter

Credit Amount

50% of wages + employer health exp.

70% of wages + employer heath exp.

*2020 credits are only eligible on wages paid between March 13, 2020 and December 31, 2020. The wages of a majority owner, spouse, children, siblings, and other relatives of the business owner are not eligible for the credit. The 2021 credits are more generous than the credits for 2020 and can provide a big boost to your cash flow. For example, if you have 25 employees, paid each of them $10,000 or more during Q1 2021 and qualify, your credit would be $175,000 ($10,000 x 70% x 25) plus 70% of the employer share of health coverage paid in the quarter. Additionally, you would then also qualify for the credit in Q2 2021. For credits on 2020 wages, if your business (and affiliates) had more than 100 full-time employees in 2019, the business (and affiliates) is considered to be a large employer and only wages being paid where the employee is not actually working are eligible. For 2021, this large employer threshold changed to 500 full-time employees in 2019. So, many small businesses will be eligible for credits on employees, whether the employees were actually working or not. Wages for which you received paid family and sick leave credits or employees for which you receive Work Opportunity Tax Credits are not eligible for this credit.

How to claim the credits The credits must be claimed on

Providing tax, accounting and consulting services to equipment dealers for over 30 years. Sales/Acquisitions of Dealerships Succession Planning Strategic Planning Financial Statements & Tax Returns

Randy Koski

Michelle Thornburg

Adrian Lape-Brinkman

Insightful Guidance ~ Proactive Solutions 10516 Burt Circle, Omaha, Nebraska (402) 445-4040 www.koskicpa.com

EDUCATION EMPLOYEE RETENTION CREDIT | 25


your Federal Form 941 payroll tax return for the specific quarter(s) in which you qualify. If you have already filed a quarter for which you qualify, you can amend the return to get the credit. You have three years from the original due date of the quarterly return to file an amended return and claim the credit.

Documentation You must retain documentation of your calculation for at least 5 years from the date on which you file claiming the ERC.

Tax Implications You will have to reduce your eligible payroll expenses on your income tax return by the credit that will be claimed. The cash received will outweigh the income tax resulting from the reduced expense deduction.

Planning Opportunities Planning is extremely important for the remainder of 2021 to help ensure qualification for the ERC, to maximize the ERC in conjunction with your PPP loan forgiveness application, and to maximize the amount of credit the employer can receive. Evaluation of timing on revenue, payment of wages/bonuses to employees, and employee wages to claim for PPP forgiveness must be considered. If you have questions or would like to talk about whether your business may qualify, please contact Matt McNary or Michelle Thornburg at Koski Professional Group (402-445-4040).  Disclaimer: The above information is intended to be current as of the date published but may or may not reflect the most current tax law. This information is intended to be general tax information and is not intended to be tax advice. If you would like to discuss how it may relate specifically to your business, please contact Koski Professional Group.

26 | EDUCATION EMPLOYEE RETENTION CREDIT


Introducing a New Healthcare Program for Equipment Dealers

T

he Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) is pleased to announce the INEDA Healthcare Program, giving equipment dealers access to a turnkey health benefits solution, designed specifically for you.

Your success is our success With skyrocketing healthcare costs, dealers need affordable health benefits that give them the ability to remain competitive in this tight labor market. Dealers have expressed great interest in finding a healthcare solution that is easy to navigate, provides value to their employees, and offers ongoing stability of healthcare coverages and rates. We believe the INEDA Healthcare Program is a strategic move in the right direction. The INEDA Healthcare Program will be offered to you by leveraging the purchasing power of the INEDA member network.

We believe many dealers will see significant premium savings in comparison to their current benefit offerings. In addition, the INEDA Healthcare Program will provide those enrolled with value added resources and services. This includes a team of dedicated benefit advisors assisting members and their employees with the enrollment process and ongoing support, as well as a comprehensive wellness program to help lock in future rates. The INEDA Healthcare Program will give you and your employees (including dependents) the option to choose between different United Healthcare medical plans and ancillary coverages such as dental and vision insurance. In addition, those enrolled will receive 24/7 telephone access to a physician free of charge. These products will be wrapped with an extensive regional and national network of providers. Even if your renewal date isn’t until the end of the year, now is the time to act to see what

INEDA’s Healthcare Program has to offer. It costs nothing to learn about the program or even acquire a quote, yet very likely will save you thousands in insurance premiums, set limits on your annual insurance costs, and promote the wellness of your employees. If you want to hear about the unique features of INEDA’s Healthcare Program, such as premium surplus refund if you have low claims, wellness initiatives, etc., please contact Gretchen Burch at gretchenb@ ineda.com or 800.622.0016 to set up your appointment. If someone else within your organization handles your health insurance benefits, please share this information with them and kindly request they contact us.  Please note at time of enrollment, your company will be required to become a member with INEDA to participate in this program and other benefits provided to its members.

FEATURE INEDA HEALTHCARE PROGRAM | 27


EDUCATION

A LITTLE RECOGNITION CAN GO A LONG WAY WILL ROGERS, Director of Government Affairs, [willr@ineda.com]

L

et’s face it, employees aren’t falling out of the sky and workforce retention has become just as important as recruiting. Every dealership needs to hang on to every employee that they have, if possible, because replacing employees has become tremendously difficult. That is why you and your management team need to have a proactive strategy for employee retention.

28 | EDUCATION EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION

There are dozens of ways to increase employee retention, including reward programs, longevity bonuses, incentives, perks, mentorship, compensation, flexible work arrangements, training and development, and more. And while many of these should be considered a part of an overall retention strategy, there is one method that can be implemented immediately, has no out-of-pocket expenses, can make a huge impact for your business,


and doesn’t require a lot of work on your part.

Be consistent and make it a habit

Start an employee recognition program

However you decide you want to recognize your employees dedication to your dealership, make sure that you make it part of your routine. Schedule your calendar with each employee’s birthday and work anniversary, and set aside time each week to visit with every employee. Make gratitude a part of your culture. And if you don’t think you have the time, then find someone in your dealership who can help.

Recognition doesn’t mean that you lavish your employees with expensive gifts or money. Instead, recognizing your employees can be as simple as showing gratitude by routinely thanking them for being a part of your dealership. For example: At least once a week, walk through your dealership and spend 2-3 minutes with each employee. Ask how they are doing and ask about their family. Ask about their weekend plans or what is going on in their lives. Then say something like: “I appreciate you being a part of our team.” And when you say it, be sincere. In addition to verbally thanking your employees, here are some additional steps for developing your own recognition program.

Ask each employee how they want to be recognized and make this a part of the hiring and onboarding process If you conduct annual reviews, use this opportunity to ask your current employees how they like to be recognized. Do they want to be recognized publicly or privately? There are some employees that will enjoy being publicly recognized for a job well done or reaching a milestone. Other employees would rather have a root canal than be praised in public. In this situation, make sure to respect their privacy, but still make sure that they know that you appreciate their commitment.

Choose which occasions you want to acknowledge The easiest ones to start with are birthdays, work anniversaries, or completion of a certification. Start by sending your employees a card or email. Bring in their favorite donuts or treats and put them in the breakroom. If it is an employee’s work milestone (like a 5, 10, or 15 year work anniversary), make sure you recognize their commitment and longevity to your company. Your other employees will take note of how your honor someone after decades of dedication to your dealership. Other ideas you might want to consider for recognizing your employees: create an employee of the month program, share positive customer feedback with your team, and post on your social media recognizing your employees.

If you proactively take steps to recognize your employees hard work and dedication to your dealership, you are going to find it a lot easier to retain your best employees. Have a question? Call Will Rogers at 515.669.1648 or email willr@ineda.com. 

SAVE the DATE IOWA REGIONAL WORKSHOP: EMPLOYEE RETENTION

NOVEMBER 2

2021

FFA ENRICHMENT CENTER ANKENY, IA

NEBRASKA REGIONAL WORKSHOP: EMPLOYEE RETENTION

NOVEMBER 3

2021

FONNER PARK GRAND ISLAND, NE

EDUCATION EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION | 29


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MARKETING VIEW

CINDY FELDMAN, Marketing Director [cindyf@ineda.com]

MARKETING

‘It’s very time sensitive’: Why a fast-paced work environment hurts all employees

A

t work, expectations around pace are so ingrained in us we often do not see them. The unspoken default is that faster is better and work is a competition where speed is a prime category to be judged. Any gap in real-time responsiveness signals a problem. Waiting is weakness. With every email, ping, and all manner of attention grabbers, we feel the Pavlovian pull to meet the expectation now. 

This phenomenon is called “hallucinated urgency,” which causes us to constantly and thoughtlessly race through the day and interrupt our colleagues. Under pressure, we value our own burning needs more than the time we steal from others. But our theft is shortsighted. We ignore that what goes around comes

MARKETING VIEW | 31


around. Our interrupting makes the behavior more expected and accepted, and therefore causes interruptions to come right back around to us.  In conversations, our hallucinated urgency quashes any chance we’ll think before responding or that we’ll tolerate a reflective pause from others. If a fire drill hits us—a daily occurrence in too many companies—we dare not step back to clarify the scope of work, who should be involved, the timeline, or the precise parameters of the request. We’re more likely to clear our desk with a dramatic sweep of a forearm and “go, go, go,” ignoring the possible rework our haste may create. This barrage of urgency will kill any deep work we attempt, and we tell ourselves we have no choice.  But it’s an illusion. Time is not moving faster— you are. Your hobbies are your choice. Your words are your choice. Your choice is urgency. You are choosing to rush. And your boss and team can write a story that blankets everything with a light dusting of mania, but you don’t have to buy in. In fact, by opting out of this particular form of social conformity you serve yourself and your company better. There is one small action you can take that will pop the bubble of urgency and snap you back to lucidity: Take a strategic pause.

32 | MARKETING VIEW

A Truly Urgent Profession To look at an example, let’s contrast our daily illusion of urgency to a place where urgency couldn’t be more real—an emergency room. How could ER nurses, working in the grip of true urgency—the life-and-death, no-more-chances kind of urgency— make some things more important than others? This heroic job requires a precise emotional stance, being affectionate and connected with patients but not so much so that grief crushes you when things go wrong. White space, the open thoughtful pausing which is defined as “time with no assignments,” could help them hit that balance. Would it be possible, among the alarms, pager alerts, vitals tests, and patients in crisis, to take a strategic pause when they needed one? Yes, it was. During their time together, they focused on identifying moments where they could push through on adrenaline alone, and others where taking a pause was critical—where “white space” could give them grounding to do their work better. They realized that a nurse’s elaborate hand-washing routine was plenty of time for a long, cool sip of mental white space. They found that while walking, arms loaded, down a hundred hallways a day, they could allow their bodies to stay in motion while their minds took a small recuperative pause. 


This gives me a perspective-building reminder of what “urgent” truly means. Is there blood? Is there a pulse? These are questions of urgency. Did my report go out? Does this deck have enough data? Maybe these concerns are not as pressing.

Categories of Urgency

discomfort with ambiguity, or the hyperactive default pace of the activity can all be part of the mix. Even positive emotions can be the fuel, such as excitement or intrigue. The motivation is more emotional than logical. Where and when can you get YOUR needed “white space?” 

Using the pause to refute the expectations of hallucinated urgency allows us to have authority Adapted from A Minute to Think by Juliet Funt. over our choices. One person, one team, and one Copyright © 2021 by Juliet Funt. interaction at a time, we can shift away from a culture of now and spread “Time is not moving faster— the practice of purposeful urgency instead. We take you are. Your hobbies are your a strategic pause when the choice. Your words are your river of work flows too fast, choice. Your choice is urgency. and in doing so avoid taking You are choosing to rush.” someone else’s definition of urgent and making it our own. Using this thoughtful margin to manage the call of urgency, you’ll also strengthen your crucial skill of impulse control—the ability to stop yourself before taking action on an immediate desire. Then place any item before you in one of three urgency categories:

1. Not time sensitive: It seems obvious but it’s rare for us to acknowledge that a need can be “not time sensitive.” Referencing this category out loud to a team, an assistant, and of course yourself does wonders for everyone’s ability to prioritize. You’ll have to be very explicit to help someone else see that an item is not time sensitive, as they won’t expect this categorization at work.

2. Tactically time sensitive: Here speed to action is tied to a business result. If during your wedge of white space, you identify tactical time sensitivity, this is where your business and your career are furthered by going fast. But even though you’ve identified an item as urgent, urgency is not an emergency—and can still be approached calmly. The more progress you make being reductive, the less drag you’ll have, and the easier it will be to pour on a chosen burst of speed for high-value needs.

3. Emotionally time sensitive: In this  category,  needs are masquerading as tactically time sensitive but, really, they are not. The compulsion to prioritize them comes from elsewhere. Curiosity, anxiety, worry, control,

MARKETING VIEW | 33


Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association 8330 NW 54th Ave. Johnston, IA 50131-2841

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Happy holidays from your friends at AgDirect . ®

AgDirect is an equipment financing program offered by Farm Credit Services of America and other participating Farm Credit System Institutions with lease financing provided by Farm Credit Leasing Services Corporation.

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Q4 2021 Retailer Magazine  

The Q4 2021 Retailer Magazine by the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA). Learn how to improve the culture of your company o...

Q4 2021 Retailer Magazine  

The Q4 2021 Retailer Magazine by the Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA). Learn how to improve the culture of your company o...

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