Just Add Training - Best Practices
Construction Equipment Distribution magazine is published by the Associated Equipment Distributors, a nonprofit trade association founded in 1919, whose membership is primarily comprised of the leading equipment dealerships and rental companies in the U.S. and Canada. AED membership also includes equipment manufacturers and industry-service firms. CED magazine has been published continuously since 1920. Associated Equipment Distributors
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Just Add Training

Written By: Mary Seaman

Article Date: 10-03-2005
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

Lashley Tractor is using AED's LMS system for employee training.

Lashley Tractor Sales believes growing your own managers is one sure way to retain quality employees and they're doing just that.

Three years ago, when Lashley Tractor, headquartered in Lithonia, Ga., had an opening in service management, General Manager Jeff Lashley was unable to find a suitable candidate inside the dealership and filled the position from outside.

"While the new manager is working out well," says Lashley, "moving an employee up from inside makes it that much easier to retain that employee.". When the position became available, it was offered within the dealership and four employees applied. According to Lashley, through the process, each of the employees did an excellent job of representing him or herself, but they lacked the training required to do the job.

While the company did hire someone from outside for that position, Lashley began to put together a training program to help employees further develop the skills necessary to either grow into a management position or expand their responsibilities.

Another reason the dealership developed a formal training program was because the company is moving closer to adding another location.

"We realized we have the talent pool to support everything we'd like to do," says Lashley, "and we'd like to give some folks time to develop into more responsible roles."

Plus, he says, the training program will help the company recruit from outside because they will be able to show the growth opportunities that are available.

Leadership Challenge Team

Employees in the training program, called the Leadership Challenge Team, are training with an industrial psychologist to develop the people skills needed for effective leadership.

Jeff Lashley is teaching the dealership side, including parts, service and rental management. Lashley is using AED University training modules and has enrolled 10 employees in AED University's Learning Management System, an online management tool designed to help supervisors and employees plan, select, coordinate and track their educational experiences.

The Leadership Challenge Team began their AED University training with the Financial Management 101 self-study module, which teaches financial basics, explains how to interpret financial information, and provides key financial measures that can be applied throughout the organization.

"I enjoy teaching the module," says Lashley. "It's good for me, too, because when you teach something you learn it a little better yourself."

Employees involved in the Leadership Challenge Team fall into two categories: current managers or prospective managers. The prospective manager group includes those employees who were not selected for the service manager position, and other employees Lashley feels have the potential to be good managers.

"The current managers will be able to get more exposure to other departments," says Lashley.

Although the program started only recently, Lashley said it's going well.

"The first financial module went very smoothly," he says. "At the end of the hour, I felt everyone understood what we covered."

Using the Learning Manage­ment System is easy, and the presentation has been effective, says Lashley. In addition, he says, when he's had questions, AED Foundation staff members have been very helpful.

"The self-study modules are focused on getting the important information across," says Lashley, "and it doesn't cost as much as having someone come in to train your employees."

Future Plans

The Leadership Challenge Team's training will not end with financial management. Lashley plans to train the employees on all of the financial, parts and service modules available through AED University.

"What I see with this training is that someone going through it will come out a more knowledgeable and effective employee," says Lashley. "Looking into the future, we're going to need a more independent workforce that understands these things and can make good decisions on their own."

Lashley says one of the reasons they are members of AED is because of the educational benefits.

"We rejoined AED to support the association," says Lashley. "Secondly, as far as member benefits, education is first and foremost.

"Costs are so high in trying to get everyone to an offsite training program. It's nice to be able to have a package of training you can do onsite."

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