Despite a relatively positive outlook for 2019 overall, many NetPlus members were hesitant to call 2019 a complete success in our latest NetPlus Alliance Industry Outlook for distribution, an exclusive benefit for NetPlus Alliance members.
They shared fears as we rounded out the year: tariffs, local market deceleration, project delays and loss of customers appear to be at the top of the list.
But talent seemed to be the most pressing for many NetPlus members when asked what kept them up at night:
- “Promoting an engaging culture for retention, advancement and satisfaction of employees.”
- “Managing new staff to grow the company without sacrificing the relationships with customers I currently have.”
- “Staffing: retaining the ones we have and finding the ones we need.”
- “Finding qualified, affordable help. “
- “Filling leadership roles.”
It’s not surprising to hear that finding and keeping talent continues to weigh heavily on the minds of our members. I talked about hiring aptitude over experience to combat the skills gap in a recent post.
Employee recruitment and retainment has persisted as a common human resources challenge for distributors. What is worth noting, however, is that for the distributor members who reported favorable business growth in the third quarter, many credit that increase to the addition of salespeople to their team and the expansion of product lines and suppliers.
One distributor said: “We have added to our sales team and have a focus on increasing our prices.”
Another said that in addition to more sales capacity, they are adding to their product line and increasing inventory, which has sped order fulfillment. Adding new NetPlus suppliers has also set them up for growth for 2020.