Every employer in every industry faces the challenge of attracting and retaining quality employees. To make things more difficult, the Millennial generation (which makes up the largest and fastest-growing segment of the U.S. labor force) has earned the common, albeit sweepingly general, label of “job hoppers,” indicating trends of reduced loyalty to employers and a resulting willingness to change jobs frequently.
Whether job-hopping is a generational trait or simply a general tendency of young workers may be a subject of debate. But even a quick internet search reveals a limitless volume of studies and articles offering employers tips, best practices, and analyses all aimed at answering the question: what makes Millennial employees want to turn jobs into careers?
RDO Equipment Co. went straight to the source and asked several Millennial team members who have been with the company for at least seven years to share their stories and tell how they’ve found their place at RDO.
Merissa Kann – Warranty Center Manager – Moorhead, MN
Merissa began her career with RDO out of college. With an accounting background, she found a place on the company’s internal audit team, a group tasked with ensuring adherence to company processes. In this role, she traveled to RDO’s many store locations, working directly with local staff.
With her involvement in the nuts and bolts of the company’s operations, Merissa was exposed to the ever-evolving nature of RDO’s business and the associated opportunities to learn, adapt, and play an integral role in making improvements—one of the biggest things about the company that she values to this day.
“I think that’s what keeps it fresh—knowing that you can make change for the better and don’t have to be afraid to ask about it,” she said. “There may be people in other work environments who don’t speak out about things they don’t like or about new opportunities, but I feel like I’ve always been able to do that here.”
After seven years with the internal audit team, Merissa looked to take the next step in her career and sought out new challenges.
“When I saw the Warranty Center Manager position, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. It would give me the ability to manage people, which is something I’d always wanted to do, and my knowledge and background of all the processes that I’d learned with Internal Audit made it a logical transition.”
Today, Merissa is fresh off her 10-year milestone and has spent the last three years as Warranty Center Manager. For her, one of the best parts of the job has always been working alongside her fellow team members.
“One thing that makes this a great place to work is the people,” she said. “I’ve been able to meet so many people from around the company and build relationships. There’s a family feel here, and I can reach out to others if I have a problem and I know they’ll do the same.”
Alex Page – Customer Service Advisor – Lakeside, CA
Like Merissa, Alex enjoys the variety in his work, and as a Customer Service Advisor (CSA), he values the level of trust he’s given by leadership.
“I have a lot of freedom in what I do here,” he said. “There are days when I’m on my laptop doing quotes, and there are days when I’m swinging a 20-pound sledgehammer with a technician out in the field,” he said. In his role, Alex serves as a point of contact for RDO customers, working both proactively and reactively to keep machine downtime to a minimum.
Alex has also been able to steer his career in a direction that best suits him. He began with RDO Equipment Co. in 2006 as a Service Technician after completing the diesel program at San Diego’s Miramar College. He spent six years working in the Lakeside shop before he sought a change.
“When the CSA position came up, I figured it was a good transition,” he said. “I could still be pretty involved with the service side, which is what I already was starting to know, and I was confident that I could always go back to the shop if things didn’t quite work out.”
Now five years into his CSA role, Alex not only enjoys the day-to-day variety of his job but also values his access to machines and his ability to stay engaged with the service side of the business, which helps him stay up to date on the equipment and technology that customers are using.
Additionally, Alex finds security in RDO Equipment Co.’s diverse business and has always been impressed by a company culture that supports team members.
“I’ve always felt that you’re a lot more than just a name and a number here.”
Mike Pelletier – Service Technician – Minot, ND
The freedom and encouragement to learn as much as possible is an aspect of the RDO Equipment Co. culture that can pay direct dividends to team members’ careers, a fact that Mike readily attests to.
Mike was introduced to RDO at a career fair while attending WyoTech in Laramie, WY. At the time, RDO was providing relocation assistance for technicians in Minot, and as an East Coast transplant, this enticed Mike enough to join the company and make the move.
As a part of RDO Equipment Co.’s Access Your Future (AYF) program, Mike was also eligible to receive an educational incentive upon completing the diesel technician program and joining the company.
Now eight years into his career, Mike values his work environment, where his teammates are always willing to help each other and where the collective experience and knowledge has helped everyone learn and grow. But what stands out most to Mike about RDO is the value the company places in his career.
“I’m a firm believer in the Career Path Level system here,” he said. “I’ve seen first-hand that if you have the right work ethic, it pays off.”
The Career Path Level (CPL) program is an initiative for RDO Parts Specialists and Service Technicians, offering regular opportunities to enhance the skills and knowledge needed to perform their roles and advance their careers. It’s part of a culture designed to support team members in doing their best work and grow as experts in their field.
For Mike, the opportunities to learn have been plentiful and limited only by his own time and desire.
“I keep pursuing more training, and Leadership keeps letting me participate,” he said.
Ricardo Castillo – Parts Specialist – Othello, WA
A job in the equipment business gave Ricardo a way to continue applying the skills and knowledge he obtained while working potato and wheat harvests during summers while attending high school and college.
Ricardo began in the freight department with Evergreen Implement in Othello, WA, in 2012. He quickly moved into the parts department where he’s spent the last seven years building relationships with local farmers and supporting their parts needs.
When RDO Equipment Co. acquired Evergreen Implement in 2018, employees at the five Evergreen stores in Washington’s North Columbia Basin faced a situation of uncertainty.
“You really don’t know what’s going to happen,” Ricardo said of the initial reaction to the acquisition. “We’ve all heard the horror stories about when a company gets bought out.”
But according to Ricardo, RDO Equipment Co. made immediate efforts to not only ensure Evergreen Implement employees had the information and reassurance they needed during the transition, but to make them feel welcome and to value the knowledge and experience they brought to the team.
“The transition was smooth,” he said. “We had a lot of help from the surrounding RDO stores like Pasco and Hermiston.” Ricardo learned that the supportive environment was no short-lived experience, but rather, an integral aspect of RDO Equipment Co.’s culture.
“A lot of the team members who are in the Othello store now who had been with RDO before the acquisition have uplifted us and given us confidence,” he said. “They’ve valued the years and the hard work I put in before the merger. In RDO’s eyes, I’ve been a part of the company for seven or eight years.”
Along with a robust support network came a new world of available opportunity.
“That’s one big difference—there’s a lot of room for growth,” Ricardo said. “There are so many opportunities, not just here in Washington but everywhere. There are people to talk to who are in those positions who can help you learn more about whatever role you’re interested in. If you want to move, you can pretty much go anywhere you want and try something new or even stay in your current location and try something else.”
Finding the ideal employer can be a stressful ordeal of trial and error and a balancing act between the realities of seeking income and maintaining personal satisfaction. With a variety of roles, a culture of support, and a world of opportunities, RDO Equipment Co. is a place where employees from all generations become team members, and where team members can build careers, perform at their best, and find their place.
Visit rdoequipment.com/careers to learn more about current openings, culture, benefits, and much more.