Taking pride in a job well done brings with it a sense of satisfaction and validation that the blood, sweat and tears poured into a task were worth it. In my experience, pride is also born out of passion. 

We’ve all either worked with or known someone who readily accepts the accolades, without owning the accountability for their actions, especially when something goes wrong. Having recently completed our third sold out Precision Farming Dealer Summit, I truly value the willingness of our staff to put problem-solving ahead of personal attention. 

This is fueled by a passion to continuously perform at a high level, exceeding expectations to ensure that everyone who made the investment to attend is getting their money’s worth.

There is a clear parallel to be drawn with the responsibilities of the precision farming managers, specialists and salespeople who filled the room. On a daily basis, they have the obligation to put customer service ahead of personal gratification, regardless of the situation. 

But one of the conversational themes that emerged during the Summit, was the challenge of preparing precision employees for their career and proactively preventing premature burnout. It’s not a new struggle for dealerships, but one which appears to be intensifying as computer expertise, data analysis and technological proficiency are widely desirable skill sets in a competitive job market. 

“How can you replace someone generating $1 million in precision revenue? You can’t…”

During his general session presentation, precision ag recruiter T.J. Stauffer broke down the hierarchy of today’s precision specialists, noting that it often takes 2-3 years for a precision specialist to begin to be competent and at least 5 years to become a precision “Jedi.” 

However, few endure to become true technology gurus within a dealership let alone survive 2 years. “How can you replace someone generating $1 million in precision revenue?” Stauffer asks. “You can’t.”

But there are ways dealers can offset the loss of experience and avoid a cycle of turnover. This begins with understanding the primary reason why specialists quit: a lack of support. 

While some precision technicians relish the role of a “lone wolf,” the solitary approach isn’t one that today’s generation of specialists are seeking. Citing the increasingly millennial make-up of specialists, Stauffer suggests they tend to value job flexibility over financial compensation, mentorship over managerial manipulation and progression over promotion. 

“Meaningful work is what today’s specialists are looking for,” Stauffer says. “If they feel like they belong, it no long becomes a job.” 

Inspiration can take many forms, but precision managers are challenged to tap into the passion of their new hires if they want to keep them employed.

Editorial Advisory Board

Keith Byerly - Advanced Cropping Systems Manager, Central Valley Ag, Randolph, Neb.

Heather Hardy - Precision Ag Coordinator, H&R Agri-Power, Hopkinsville, Tenn.

Adam Gittins - General Manager, HTS Ag, Harlan, Iowa

Layne Richins - Precision Farming Manager, Stotz Equipment, Casa Grande, Ariz.


PFD Winter 2018 Contents