James Elhardt August 10 11 min read

What the Great Resignation Means for Agency Owners

We've all been hearing about labor shortages, a shift to remote work, and the Great Resignation throughout 2021. Big names, such as Apple, are caught in the middle. There are big egos going to war between a traditional model of work and something new that employees are demanding. 

We are at a tumultuous place in the working world, putting it mildly. When conversations boil over, it's easy as an agency owner to feel "We are small and agile, this doesn't apply to us." We have some bad news for you if you feel that way, it does apply to you. 

Whether you are exploring how the work world is changing to proactively work with your team, your defenses are up, or you are losing sleep to the Great Resignation, this blog is for you. We'll break down a little more of what's going on in the job market right now, and how you can be at the forefront of this shift.

What the Heck is Happening?

Employees across the globe got a taste of what a more balanced life looks like. As the months of COVID wore on, remote work started opening up new possibilities. Gone were long commutes, open office distractions, and the inability to step away for a few minutes. Employees found agency.

Let's be very frank here, the pandemic took away employee choices too. They lost a lot of bargaining power with their employers, regardless of the size of the company. Employees across the world were in a spot where they didn't really have an option to find another job because of the recession. This isn't to say every employee wants to quit, or even the majority, but those that do want to leave may have wanted to for a while.

Finally, everyone is burnt out. We aren't kidding, it's a majority of the workplace. We have all been living in a heightened state of stress for 18 months now, and not just because of the pandemic. In 2020, employees cited working longer hours, more pressure from leadership, and more workload. It's a recipe for disaster as an employer.

So now, we are seeing the impact of these major work interruptions:

  1. Employees are asking some very hard questions of themselves. What do I want? What makes sense for my life? How can I be happier with my work?
  2. The days of "putting up with" very outmoded styles of work like the in-office 9-5 model are over. Employees got a taste of flexibility, and they prefer it.
  3. Workers across the nation have been waiting for a safer chance to move jobs. Instead of starting to look when they want, they've had to wait until the job market warmed up again. 

You have the chance to respond to these drivers, open a dialog with your team, and adapt to a changing work world. It's a great opportunity to build your culture, give your employees more freedom, and see their happiness and productivity rise.

Why Now?

Momentum has been gained for flexible work because we were forced to experiment with it last year. However, the reason we are seeing even more steam picking up is that large companies are very publically seeing pushback and quitting from their teams.

The Reality for Agency Owners

We truly believe this is a watershed moment. So much so, that we rarely work with anyone not offering remote work options. Especially in the marketing agency world, which has always fought to be at the forefront of workplace and culture trends. 

The frank truth is, you can either adapt or fall behind. We aren't trying to fearmonger, but you will either move with this trend and your employees, or they'll leave for a company that offers them what they need and you won't be able to replace them. 

So What Can You Do Now?

Being proactive is the best thing you can do today. Being the first to drive this conversation within your company will earn you the goodwill of your team more than almost anything else in your leadership toolkit. Employees are looking for leaders that are willing to help.

At the end of the day, there are three things we recommend taking action on:

  1. Offer remote and flexible work options - Implement it now if you haven't, or expand any considerations made for the pandemic indefinitely. Your team will be able to find a better work/life balance and improve their satisfaction and productivity. You also open your potential hiring pool to the best you can find, and can potentially cut overhead by dropping an expensive lease.
  2. Pay market rates - The days where remote work, culture perks, an in-office keg, and an open office made up for low pay are gone. You aren't competing against local agencies for talent anymore, you are competing against the WORLD of agencies. Paying market rates is vital to keeping your team happy.
    TIP: You want to see how many competitors you have for talent now? Go to the HubSpot Directory for agency partners. Your answer: Every company on that list.
  3. Talk to your team as people - Too often we get caught in dialogues with companies, not the people that lead us. Your team is grappling with big questions about how they want to work. They are stressed, worn out, and ready for some change. The best solutions will come collaboratively by listening. It's easy to end up in do-or-die mode in small companies, which erodes your culture and trust in leadership. Be transparent, be open, and seek understanding from your team if you aren't seeing eye to eye.
    TIP: If you are struggling with the idea of opening up remote work and flexible hour options for your team, don't hide that. Ask your team to help you understand. Let them know what's holding you up. 

It's Not Doom and Gloom

The Great Resignation is scary for small business owners. However, you have a lot of control over the environment of your company. What workers want is changing, and you need to adapt with it to keep your team retention high. 

We know, it's more exhausting changes after 18 months of discomfort, but it's a healthy change. One that's been a long-time coming. It's time to shed outdated ideas of work and being chained to a desk while putting significant overhead into office space. These changes have been brewing for a long time and were just accelerated recently.

As these trends continue, and more companies begin to adopt them we will see a happier, healthier, and more engaged workforce. For more information on how you can adapt to the current trends in the HubSpot ecosystem, download our ebook How to Uplevel Your HubSpot Partnership for an analysis on how you should differentiate and hire to succeed.

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