Medical marketers against the big quit

Like so many businesses across the country, medical marketing agencies are dealing with the continuing fallout of the Great Resignation. Amid broader economic turmoil and the lingering effects of the pandemic, millions of workers have quit or changed jobs in recent months, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. So what can agencies do to alleviate the situation?

For many, it’s a dual challenge of attracting the right workers to join the organization while retaining people who might be on the lookout for another gig — and the raise that likely goes with it.

ClarityQuest CEO Christine Slocumb said navigating today’s job market is a balancing act for executives, who must weigh concerns around compensation, expectations for hybrid or remote work, and industry expertise. She doesn’t expect a full return to the in-person office experience, especially now that companies have become accustomed to hiring talent outside of their immediate geographic market.

At the same time, Slocumb took issue with the use of the term “big quit”, saying instead that the job market has been reshaped based on what employees are looking for in their jobs. She noted that the pandemic has prompted many workers to re-evaluate their working lives.

“Most people aren’t in it just for the money. They want the culture of being respected, knowing they can grow and be supported to learn, she explained. “A big problem that a lot of agencies have is that they want people to come out of the womb knowing about health care or the pharmaceutical industry. Not everyone will know; there’s a small pool of these people.

Brian Gibbons, director of human resources at Real Chemistry, described existing labor trends as “difficult” and stressed the importance for companies to listen to their employees. Real Chemistry employees have pushed for “community” and learning opportunities, he noted, prompting the company to provide resources such as LinkedIn learning sessions and flexible working options.

Real Chemistry has taken a proactive approach to soliciting feedback from its employees. Gibbons believes this is a consequence of DE&I initiatives that have become commonplace across most industries – and are clearly of increasing importance for future employees.

“If you pay attention and meet your people with meaningful actions, I hope they stick around,” he said. “I don’t think these things are going to go away, because it’s part of the evolution of the workforce. It is unfortunate that a pandemic had to occur for this to happen, but leaders should do things that make sense. Don’t do things that are mandates.

Reem NouhSVP of Healthcare Marketing at Adams & Knight, emphasized the need for medical marketers to appreciate the three Rs: retention, recruitment and representation.

Nouh said engaging internal employees is key to increasing retention rates, but added that agencies need to break down silos between marketing and HR that hinder the effectiveness of recruiting campaigns. For representation, Nouh said organizations must show real, quantifiable action on the DE&I front to prove they are delivering on their oft-stated commitments to fostering a diverse workforce.

Meanwhile, as employee work preferences change, marketers need to pay even greater attention to their own brands.

“Marketers have a lot on their plate, but they have to think about recruitment, retention, employee engagement, and culture,” Nouh pointed out. “It’s important for them to be at the table with each other and start the conversation.”

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