Distributor-Driven Technology to Combat the Great Resignation

You’ve likely heard talk of it in the news and more than likely felt the impact of The Great Resignation in your branches. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, this wave of employee turnover is being driven by individuals between the ages of 30 and 45 years old. For many distributors, that represents your management and other seasoned employees. 

With the national turnover rates hovering near 60%, distributors, like most employers, have to focus on employee retention as well as employee empowerment. While some may have mentioned an emphasis on employee happiness to combat employee turnover, it’s necessary to go beyond happiness to recruit and retain employees. Distributors need to focus on overall employee engagement. 

What is employee engagement?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines employee engagement as  the level of an employee's commitment and connection to an organization. Higher employee engagement promotes retention of employees and fosters a sense of loyalty that impacts a company’s overall performance. 

In other words, engaged employees are less likely to leave an organization and more likely to be vested in the overall success of the company. But the past few years have seen a steady decrease in overall employee engagement, with over 60% of the U.S. workforce reportedly disengaged, according to workplace experts Gallup. These high levels of employee dissatisfaction have driven millions of workers to seek new opportunities or abandon the workforce all together. 

What can distributors do?

It is not uncommon for distributors to focus on building up employee morale with perks and incentives like free coffee or pizza parties. But according to a recent editorial in Industrial Distribution by Jack Keough, a key to retaining employees in the current culture is flexibility. 

A convenient, easy way today’s distributors can embrace flexibility is by empowering employees with the proper tools they need to operate in today’s environment. 

In 2021, our industry saw a shift in the way we work. Instead of traditional walk-ins and phone calls, the Covid-19 pandemic forced many to adopt a more omnichannel communications structure which includes incorporating technologies such as texting and online. It’s now essential for today’s distributors to empower their employees with tools that make their jobs more efficient.

Can technology really contribute to employee engagement?

Current research has shown one of the leading factors for reduced employee engagement and increased turnover, is employee burnout. Among the tactics SHRM recommends to prevent employee burnout, the right technology can in fact help you to adjust workloads. 

While multiple factors can influence burnout, having the right tools to efficiently meet the needs of the changing marketplace is a major contributor to helping employees manage their productivity and preventing employee burnout. One way the Prokeep platform is designed to help distributors in this area is by easing the time constraints on branch and counter staff . Prokeep users have reported saving as much as 9 hours per employee on hours that were previously spent fielding calls, placing customers on hold, and responding to other incoming communications. 

The Cost of Engagement

With issues like supply chain demand and meeting the bottom line, many distributors are understandably concerned about the cost of additional platforms. However, the cost of not getting ahead employee disengagement should also be considered. Gallup, has estimated the cost of employee disengagement to cost the average US company approx. $2,246 per employee. 

When compared to common perks like pizza and coffee, the cost of the Prokeep platform is often lower per month, and especially per year (see the infographic below).


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