The MHEDA Journal - Third Quarter, 2012 - (Page 29)

COVER FEATURE ONBOARDING Training and Engaging Technical Talent Four distributors discuss how they onboard technical talent. BY STEVE GUGLIELMO hen an employee joins a company, it can take a while before he or she is completely comfortable. Not only do new employees have to learn their responsibilities in their new position, but they also must learn the nuts and bolts of the company. What is its culture? What are the responsibilities of each department? Even remembering everybody’s names can be stressful. For technical employees, the challenges are doubly daunting. In addition to learning the ins and outs of the company, they must familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of dozens of pieces of complex equipment. The MHEDA Journal spoke with four distributors across different product lines to learn how they onboard technical talent and ensure the continued success that MHEDA distributors are known for. W Combining Sales and Engineering Advanced Equipment Company (Charlotte, NC) does not use the traditional integrator employee model. “Our model is still what a lot of people refer to as the ‘old business model,’” says President Daryle Ogburn. “Rather than have salespeople and engineers, we have technical sales engineers. The sales engineers handle a transaction from the prospecting stage all the way through the installation of a system. Every one of our employees is technical.” This model allows Advanced to keep overhead low, but makes the hiring and onboarding process even more important. “Training is very important to us, in good times and bad,” Ogburn says. “We may tighten the belt on other things, but never on training. My philosophy is that you should learn something new every day, because if you don’t you will be going backwards.” Advanced hires an array of talent; some employees come to the company with a technical degree and some have learned the industry through indoctrination, but all must bring a passion and a willingness to learn. “The first thing we do with new sales engineers is send them to all of our manufacturer trainings,” says Ogburn. “We also have sales training like Sales Boot Camp and Gary Moore’s Objective Based Selling. In addition to those sessions, we never refuse training of any kind. If an employee sees a training class that may be beneficial, we will always send them to that.” However, you can only learn so much in a classroom. That is why a large part of the distributor’s onboarding process is done in the field. “All of our new employees will go out on sales calls with experienced engineers,” says Ogburn. “They learn from each other. We don’t just push them out of the nest and expect them to fly. It is a learning process. We don’t hire anybody expecting them to fail, so we provide as much support as necessary while they learn the customers and learn our culture and our expectations. There is no set timetable.” Personal Development At Riekes Equipment Company (Omaha, NE) the onboarding process starts during the interview phase. “We have an in-house test to make sure that the fundamentals are in place,” says Duncan Murphy, president of Riekes. “But we really hire for attitude and aptitude to learn. Having the right attitude The MHEDA Journal | Third Quar ter 2 012 29

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The MHEDA Journal - Third Quarter, 2012

President’s Perspective
From the Desk of Liz Richards
Ask Your Board
MHEDA Member Profile
At Work
Best of the Best Distributors
Training and Engaging Technical Talent
For a Successful Onboarding Experience… Be Prepared and Make Time for New Hires
Analyzing the DiSC Results
Help Stamp Out Budgeting
Distributor Salespeople Reveal Their Greatest Challenges
When Sales People Become Bread Men
The Why and How of Twitter
Managing Interruptions: Be Polite, Be Honest and Get to It
MHEDA Convention 2012
New Members
Spotlight on Association News
MHEDA University Calendar
MHEDA Milestones
New Products
Index of Advertisers by Product Category

The MHEDA Journal - Third Quarter, 2012