The Great Resignation Is Here: That Means Challenges, But Also Opportunities
The fallout from the pandemic era includes the “Great Resignation,” and it is upon us. As we continue to experience some COVID upheaval, we are witnessing businesses and personnel change at warp speed. As high as 3% of total U.S. people employed reportedly resigned in the month of August alone. We need to ask ourselves how best we can prepare and manage this new reality.
In addition to the already chaotic labor situation from furloughs, layoffs, business failures and consolidations via acquisition, people are now voluntarily resigning for myriad reasons. Some mid-level employees are simply making some of the pent up moves delayed during COVID uncertainty and the then scarcity of new opportunities. Entry-level people are jumping to new higher paying jobs as pay scales are rising with labor shortages during the economic rebound.
The negative effect on the quality of life and work, with the increased demands of managing thru the pandemic, has contributed to career burnout. There is a new level of introspection as many are examining priorities, salary needs and lifestyles, and consequently altering their job and career paths for their revamped lives after the trauma of the pandemic.
The "Big Quit" is affecting us personally and professionally. We are all experiencing the downsizing of service levels and resources as consumers and sellers. It is perhaps prime time to consider and explore new opportunities for ourselves as unemployment is racing to a new low. The talent pool is filling up and the water seems to be more than fine.
As managers and stakeholders, we know some staff and colleagues will be entertaining and accepting new vacancies and offers. We need to mitigate the negative effects of these organizational changes. Obviously, everyone is considering adjusting compensation packages to retain the most valuable employees. New assignments, including promotions, are on the table and may be part of the answer to improving retention and moving your organization forward. Some loss is inevitable and concentrating on cross training now can help minimize what institutional knowledge is lost as employees exit in the short term.
From a selling perspective, buyers and contacts are more mobile than they have been in recent memory. The upside is when your trusted buyers end up in similar positions at new organizations and bring you into a new account organically. However, many buying positions and functions may or may not be filled or absorbed. Of course, all organizational changes from the outside are now much more difficult to nail down as many companies continue to work remotely. New gatekeepers, buyers and decision makers will continue to complicate and delay the selling and purchasing cycles.
Uncertainty and indecision goes all the way up to the C-suite, as new leadership will bring new direction and priorities. Promo may very well be at the bottom of the list as everyone finds his or her new way. Moreover, who would have thought that slashed marketing budgets, or spend in general, would become the most normal obstacle to overcome.
Just like most challenges, there can be new rewards for overcoming more obstacles. As in other historical downsizings from national economic jolts (think 2001 and 2008), organizational voids are an opportunity to dig deeper into accounts and offer more assistance and value to inexperienced and overtaxed buyers and decision makers. Providing the best solutions for their business challenges, while helping them learn the process, is where your experience serves everyone well.
These new situations and consultative selling opportunities may also lend a hand in securing you a place closer to the planning processes of clients who will in turn place more value on your sales, marketing, industry and product expertise—now and going forward. This may not be the time to quit after all.
Mark Jenkins, managing director of Pioneer Balloon Co., has been involved in the promotional products industry for more than three decades. He has led the national sales and marketing efforts of three different suppliers. Jenkins is a road warrior, traveling nationally an average of 36 weeks per year, visiting distributors and participating in trade shows, sales meetings and industry events. A former PPAI board member and chair, he has been active in volunteering, bringing his industry knowledge, perspective and leadership to the table. Visit his website here.