OUR BLOG

SALES

Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?
Most Leads Are Not Ready To Engage – But They Will Be

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Can Service Pros Over 40 Succeed In Digital?
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
A New Website Won’t Bring You New Clients
Do You “Get” Digital Marketing? – Part 2
Do You Get Digital Marketing?
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Lead Nurturing Versus Content Marketing
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Make Your Website A New Client Driver
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?

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DON’T TRADE MISERY FOR MONEY: HOW PROFESSIONAL SERVICE FIRMS CAN LEVERAGE THE GREAT RESIGNATION

ATTRACT TALENT-IN-TRANSITION WITH THE FIVE THINGS THEY CARE ABOUT TODAY

Originally published on Forbes.com

There is a tradeoff that today’s professional service workers no longer seem to be willing to make: trading misery for money. For decades I’ve worked with service firm leadership teams. Up until this era of the Great Resignation, these teams have operated on an implicit assumption that sounds something like this: Most workers will tolerate a high degree of dissatisfaction because they’re earning a good income. I believe this is no longer true, and that’s good news.

In my 25 years of coaching professional service leadership teams, I have never seen a time when there was a greater disconnect between what leaders believe employees want and what employees actually want. While I do believe that the pandemic foregrounded some of these differences, the gap was actually growing before the pandemic hit. I believe the pandemic simply accelerated trends I was already seeing play out in real time.

I have come to believe that this era of talent transition represents one of the single greatest opportunities I’ve ever seen to grow a professional service firm. There are more people willing to jump ship today, it would seem, than ever before. But to attract these professional service workers, you have to understand what they want.

What I’m about to describe is not based on empirical market research. I’ve run no industry-wide surveys. Instead, I’ve followed the larger trends (outside professional services) and I’ve spent a lot of time listening to professionals in transition. It is amazing to me how closely these two sources have sounded as I reflect on them.

What Do Today’s Professional Service Workers Want?

I believe today’s professional service workers really care about five core things:

  • A mission they can believe in
  • A leader they can trust
  • A team they admire
  • Flexibility
  • Opportunity

Mission

The Edelman Trust Barometer survey indicates that many people now believe that businesses have a responsibility to address societal problems. It used to be that if you offered someone a good job with great pay and good benefits, they were far less concerned with the overall mission of the firm. They kept their heads down, earned a good income and left that whole mission thing up to people in power. Those days are over.

I don’t believe that most professionals will simply quit a job because they don’t think the company’s mission is important. Instead, a number of minor frustrations snowball into a gut feeling that they simply don’t want to associate with the firm any longer. So if you want to leverage the Great Resignation to attract talent, think very carefully about your mission. Not one person I’ve spoken to seems to mind if part of the mission is about profit. But if the entire mission seems to be about profit, don’t be surprised if that message rings hollow.

Trusted Leaders

People don’t leave jobs. They leave bosses. The Edelman survey notes that failure of leadership makes distrust the default. Several of the people I’ve been speaking to who are in transition cite an absence of trust with their direct supervisor as the number one reason for their departure. Why don’t professional service workers trust their leaders?

• Workers often feel like they don’t know what their boss is thinking or how this might impact them.
• Leaders have surprised workers in the past with announcements and changes to working conditions for which the workers had no voice.
• Leaders have seemed quite changeable. Strategies and initiatives that were supposed to last for months or years get scrapped within weeks.
• Leaders have not taken an active interest in getting to know workers, their hopes and dreams for the future and their career aspirations.
• Leaders have shown almost no interest in coaching workers or helping them advance their careers. This is especially important to younger professionals who want advancement opportunities.

If you want to attract today’s top talent, these are all lessons about how not to behave as leaders.

An Admirable Team

Every mid-sized professional service firm I’ve served over the last 25 years has been made up of teams. Some of these teams have been high-performing and healthy. Many have been dysfunctional, barely productive and full of unhealthy competition for power. For teams to be healthy, they have to know and respect the values that drive the organization. If you want to woo talent in transition, I recommend that you define and defend your values.

Flexibility

If the pandemic taught the professional services world one lesson, it’s that we really can be flexible in how we work. Yet, I see so many organizations leaning backward toward pre-pandemic work styles that were not at all flexible. This is impacting a lot of people with family situations that do not readily lend to their being away from home from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day: parents with small children, those with elderly parents, remote workers who don’t want to commute regularly and more. If you want to attract these professionals, consider how flexible work arrangements can improve their lives.

Opportunity

Many of the mid-sized service firms I’ve worked with have asked for help retaining employees. When we’ve run surveys to understand what’s causing workers to be dissatisfied, lack of opportunity consistently ranked among the top five issues. The pandemic definitely made this worse because very few people got promoted over the last couple of years.

This represents a great opportunity for most professional service firms. It’s not particularly hard to practice a “promote from within” hiring policy. It’s also not hard to create upward mobility career tracks so people feel like they’re in control of their career options. But more than anything, in my experience, workers want the opportunity to be coached so they realize their full potential. Setting up coaching programs takes time, energy and focus. But it could be just the thing that gives your firm a competitive edge.

About The Author

Randy Shattuck is a seasoned entrepreneur who works hand-in-hand with senior leaders of mid-size professional service firms to grow revenues, acquire clients, open new markets, increase profits and effectively position their brands.

OUR BLOG

SALES

Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?
Most Leads Are Not Ready To Engage – But They Will Be

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Can Service Pros Over 40 Succeed In Digital?
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
A New Website Won’t Bring You New Clients
Do You “Get” Digital Marketing? – Part 2
Do You Get Digital Marketing?
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Lead Nurturing Versus Content Marketing
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Make Your Website A New Client Driver
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?