Phil Ingrassia

Editor’s Note: The following column, authored by Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) President Phil Ingrassia and appearing in the March issue of RV Executive Today, touts the benefits of the ongoing education programs for dealer personnel provided by the Mike Molino RV Learning Center.

A new workforce study by the research firm ESI Trends released at the NADA convention this year shows dealerships that fail to invest in training have higher levels of employee turnover than those that make continuing education a priority. That’s consistent with many other studies on training and retention, both inside and outside of vehicle sales.

People who want to advance their careers are always on the lookout for opportunities for training and career development. Dealers who provide a set of tools to develop the leadership and management skills of employees can reap both immediate and long-term benefits through more engaged employees who are less likely to leave.

Dealer leaders at RVDA and the Mike Molino RV Learning Center have long recognized the need for continuing education. Last year, as the industry continued emerging from the downturn, RVDA surveyed young RV executives to gauge their interest in a variety of continuing education topics and year-round networking opportunities.

Even though seven in ten respondents were under 40 years old, 62% had been in the industry for more than 10 years. Many have firsthand experience in RV retailing but are looking for something more in terms of professional development. Leadership topics headed the list of professional development opportunities that they’re interested in exploring, followed by generational issues, increasing professionalism, personnel management, and advocacy.

Based on the survey results, the Learning Center is working to address these interests. In addition to programming at the convention, the Learning Center has developed webinars for young RV professionals, middle managers, and anyone interested in professional development.

Recent Learning Center webinars conducted by our partner KPA covered such topics as leading and managing millennials, developing effective HR policy manuals, motivating employees to take safety seriously, and appointment selling. More opportunities are in the works, both online and at the 2014 convention.

The Learning Center webinar programs are archived at www.rvlearningcenter.com, so if you miss the live events, you can access the information whenever it’s convenient for you. They’re free to attend live or to stream online later. If you have ideas for topics you’d like to see addressed, either at the convention or via webinar, let us know by calling RVDA headquarters or sending an email to [email protected].