Talent acquisition and retention have always been popular educational topics for keynotes and workshop sessions at various industry events in distribution, but labor has taken center stage in 2022. While supply chains have smoothed out throughout the year and distributors have taken advantage of historic inflation, the labor situation has improved only incrementally for distributors. Most firms are still struggling to find the perfect formula for attracting talent to fill labor gaps and getting them to stay in a time when employees have more leverage than ever. (Read more in MDM’s latest Premium Monthly.)
It’s been interesting to see such an emphasis on talent thought leadership and best practices during the busy fall industry events season, and MDM Premium content reflected that in November. My Nov. 2 “Are You Hiring Honestly?” piece recapped an informative session from the ISSA Show North America that focused on transparency in the recruiting and onboarding stage — and making sure you’re not just talking the talk about your workplace culture when wooing new candidates. And my Nov. 21 piece stems from the B2BOnline event a week earlier in Orlando, recapping a lively debate about in-person vs. hybrid vs. remote work and the state of hybrid work for distributors.
Given the demand for flexibility from employees across all industries, I can’t help but wonder what percentage of distributors are actually requiring all employees to work on-premises every day, and what policy changes may be in store for the start of 2023. The economy remains a conversation piece, as distributors are keeping a close eye on factors impacting customer demand and frequently checking in with suppliers on what they’re hearing from the field. In a Nov. 16 piece, I discussed the wholesale trade data released Nov. 9 from the U.S. Census Bureau, which showed that 2023 revenue expectations among most industrial and commercial verticals were up at the end of September compared to a year earlier. That article also examined takeaways from R.W. Baird’s 2022 Industrial Conference held Nov. 8-10. The firm’s distribution report noted that overall feedback from the 18 distributors on-hand indicated demand remains strong in the industrial/manufacturing complex, with additional tailwinds expected ahead from drivers like reshoring, infrastructure spending, industrial automation and more.
Other November Premium content examined how the different ways distributors bet on themselves; how to use reporting and data in channel incentive programs; and rewriting your strategy to meet the needs of the self-service customer.