Exploring the Effects of the Great Resignation on Equipment Finance

by Markiesha Thompson & Phil Neuffer May/June 2022
The equipment finance industry has had to revamp and adjust to the abrupt changes in the workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as employees are quitting en masse and leaving companies for other opportunities. Monitor spoke with several industry leaders about how their organizations are adapting in the face of such a massive shift.

Joni Kovac,
SVP of Human Resources & Chief Human Resources Officer,
Mitsubishi HC Capital

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have adjusted their expectations for employers, preferring those that place the well-being of employees above profits, or opting to leave jobs entirely. This so-called “Great Resignation” has left many firms scrambling to improve their ability to retain and recruit employees. Some companies have undertaken major recruiting efforts to fill those gaps, while others have left positions empty and focused on other aspects of the business. But some corporations, and people, have created innovative ways to work with the changing dynamic between employers and employees.

Such innovations will be necessary, as many corporations are spending months, or even years, searching for the right candidate for an open position. This has created an increase in available employment opportunities for people searching for a more flexible work option.

“It’s a challenging time to find qualified applicants,” Joni Kovac, senior vice president of human resources and chief human resources officer at Mitsubishi HC Capital, says. “The big challenge is flexibility and remote work. I don’t think anybody’s got in their mind that they want to be back in the office five days a week ever … A lot of people don’t feel like it’s

Scott Preiser, SVP, Client Partner & Recruiter, Molloy Associates


Scott Preiser, senior vice president and client partner and recruiter at Molloy Associates, has been in the equipment finance industry for nearly 40 years. Now an executive recruiter, like many in similar roles, he’s noticed the major shift in what job seekers want first-hand. According to Preiser, along with remote or flexible working options, due to the confluence of labor shifts with a boiling over economy, prospective employees want greater compensation due to rising inflation and increasing prices. Preiser also says that many people are now taking better care of their mental and physical health as it relates to work, turning the tide in many industries, including equipment finance, as job seekers prioritize a work-life balance.

“They liked working from home and they might take a bit of a pay cut if an employer isn’t asking them to come back to the office full time,” Preiser says. “I’ve gotten calls from numerous people who said, ‘They want me back in the office. Gas is $4.50 a gallon and I’ve got to drive half an hour. I don’t want to go back to the office. I think it’s a waste. So, can

Nancy Robles, COO, Eastern Funding

you find me something different — something new? I’ll even take a pay cut.’”

With more companies making the shift to completely remote work, employers must also find new ways to invest in their employees virtually and that goes beyond pay and benefits, with some companies providing programs to support employees’ mental and physical health. For example, according to Nancy Robles, COO of Eastern Funding, her company has doubled down on its programs supporting overall health by shifting some of its focus to incorporate meditation and other strategies to improve mental well-being.

“We’ve shifted more of that to incorporate the whole life, the whole person. You don’t just partly show up at work. The idea of leaving your problems at home is not real, that’s just not realistic,” Robles says. “The commitment that people feel when you are in an organization that treats you like a whole human and cares about you as a whole person is immeasurable. You just can’t pay people enough to have that commitment because it

Rozhina McClanahan, Financial Planning & Data Analyst, Volvo Financial Services

feels really good to be seen and heard as a complete person.”

More health-focused programs along with the rise in telework, adjusted work schedules and an employee-first approach can offer newcomers and current employees a work-life balance that can work best for them, according to Robles, which can allow people more time to invest in themselves both in and out of work.

“It’s not necessarily how many hours I’m spending at work or I’m spending at home, but what is the overall experience when I’m doing those things?” Robles says.

Professional development is a must for employers to retain employees, especially younger professionals, as it can help create passion and excitement for work, according to Rozhina McClanahan, financial planning and data analyst for Volvo Financial Services, who says Volvo makes significant investments to help young employees gain tools and knowledge to succeed. Some of its initiatives include targeted networking groups that incorporate employees across Volvo’s many businesses.

“It builds a foundation you can grow into for many years in your career, especially when different kinds of opportunities are available for you to cater to different skill sets or needs for your role or for future professional goals,” McClanahan says. “And I’ve been fortunate to have development opportunities where I’ve been growing both my soft skills and my technical skill set, both of which have been pretty invaluable to everyday performance.”

McClanahan also says that providing more engaging and supportive work environments where different skill sets are welcomed can go beyond maintaining the workforce; it can also promote innovation and collaboration. Kovac has seen similar results at Mitsubishi HC Capital, which provides online learning through LinkedIn and other training tools.

“We’ve got a lot of learning that we deploy to try and help people lead hybrid teams, lead themselves more effectively to try and give them the skills and tools that they need not only to contribute here, but for their own development,” Kovac says.

Employees are not always waiting for their companies to provide professional development, with many seeking resources on their own to improve their skills and potentially add new ones to make them more attractive to future employers. According to Preiser, even senior level executives are rethinking their career paths, with some leaving behind lucrative leadership roles to pursue passions outside of the equipment finance industry. Advancements in technology have accelerated this trend of self-learning and self-discovery. For example, according to Microsoft, in the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, educational resources from LinkedIn, GitHub and Microsoft itself experienced a surge in use, with the company estimating that more than 30 million people acquired new digital skills in this manner.

Even though corporations need to consider employees’ well-being and development to ensure they are recruiting and retaining strong workforces and setting themselves up for success, there are some that don’t see the benefit in doing so.

“When you don’t create that environment, when you have this very task-oriented type of leadership, that’s when people leave,” Robles says. “Those organizations that don’t adjust the leadership, that are not willing to rethink the way they operate, those are the people that are going to be hurt by the resignations and the turnover.”

The Great Resignation’s impact on companies and employees in all industries, including the equipment finance industry, is apparent with every news report about the demand for labor. The trend has created a technology-based work industry in which many people work remotely instead of at an office location, according to Perkins Coie. For employees, this new reality offers many gains, like avoiding long work commutes and high gas prices and spending more time with family and friends. For corporations to adapt, they’ll need to keep transforming, adapting and growing to embrace a progressive work culture and not only recruit and retain employees, but support them in all areas of their lives.

Markiesha Thompson is associate editor of Monitor. Phil Neuffer is senior editor of Monitor. Rita E. Garwood, editor in chief, interviewed Rozhina McClanahan, Scott Preiser and Nancy Robles for this article.

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