Last week, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) celebrated 25 years of promoting women-owned businesses at its annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Held in person for the first time since 2019, the conference drew 4,000 people, providing incredible opportunities for attendees and suppliers to network and share information about the most pressing topics in the current economic climate, including supply chain struggles and challenges related to employee acquisition and retention.
As a woman-owned company, the Dynamic Technology Solutions team was on-hand to connect with other women entrepreneurs, learn about the challenges facing these business leaders, and meet face-to-face with the large OEMs serving this audience. Our representatives held many one-on-one meetings with medical device and pharma OEMs that included supplier diversity, procurement, and IT business members.
During the conference, we heard directly from suppliers that supply chain resiliency is now an imperative and that sustainability has become a topic of emerging importance.
Speakers and attendees noted that suppliers need to mirror their customers when it comes to adopting an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) perspective. Though there’s no specific road map to follow, it’s essential for suppliers to pursue some ESG initiatives and aspirations in order to even get in the door.
A Focus on Workforce Issues
Another recurring message for business owners at the event was that companies need to keep focused on workforce issues—not only in terms of how to attract new employees but also on how to keep them.
Employers focused on hiring and retention should keep in mind that since the start of the pandemic, workforce demographics have changed considerably. In contrast to members of older generations, young professionals are more likely to seek and value work-life balance, team environment, technology, sustainability, and alignment with company purpose when making decisions about employers.
As reported during the conference, close to 50% of young people polled entering the job market said that they would not join a company unless that company matched their values. This generational shift in mindset has become a real challenge in attracting and hiring talent from an increasingly tight pool of candidates.
One conference speaker offered a possible solution to address the shortage of qualified employees. Accenture CEO, North America, James Etheredge has initiated an 18-month professional apprenticeship program at the company to fill a significant need for skilled workers. The company hopes to fill 20% of its entry-level roles from the apprenticeship program in the U.S. by 2022.
Participating in the WBENC conference and other industry events is just one of the ways the Dynamic team stays informed and connected to the issues and challenges facing businesses today, helping them solve problems and deliver solutions for clients.
Session at 2022 Women’s Business Enterprise National Council Conference. Source: WBENC