"Every problem is a gift. Without problems, we would not grow."
Anthony robbins

How Secure is Your Job? 7 Simple Questions to Ask

The job market has started to shift. While the healthcare industry is not in the same downturn as the technology sector, we are definitely not immune to changes in the marketplace.

The medical industry remains strong, but the “all gas, no brakes” era of hiring has come to an end. The recent layoffs at two of the largest medical companies in the world (Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic) will certainly have a ripple effect on the market.

If the behemoths of the industry are laying off, where does that leave your company? Should you be getting your own resume shined up just in case?   The overriding answer is simple…you should never feel immune to change, you should always be inquisitive and aware of industry trends.

Take a hard look at your company and the top-down economics. There are usually indicators if the soil below you is shifting.


1) When high performing reps leave your company, are they replaced by brand new associate reps…or not replaced at all?

  • If so, this can be a sign by management that reps with high price tags are simply not needed. While there is nothing wrong with associate reps, an over reliance on unproven reps is an indication of a corporate cost cutting strategy and might be a red flag.

2) Has your company over-hired, or is the region overloaded with reps?

  • This can happen due to a merger or because of changes in the local landscape. If neither the market size, the sales revenue, or the growth trajectory justifies this type of headcount, then you are probably at risk.    

3) Is there movement (outbound) with sales leadership and upper-level management?

  • The executives at the company can serve as the “canary in the coal mine”. If they are leaving the organization or transferring to different divisions of the company, that doesn’t happen by accident. They are usually aware that the overall sales growth has softened and are seeking greener pastures. Take note!

4) Do you have anything truly “new” to sell, and when was the last time a new product was added to your bag?

  • If your new product pipeline has dried up or the “new” products in your sales bag are simply line extensions of mature products, be cautious. The lifeblood of a vibrant sales force is new technology. More lucrative compensation plans are usually driven by new products and sales growth. A stagnant product portfolio is not a great sign.

5) Are annual award winners at your company really the best reps or are they often people that have benefitted from company contracts or corporate conversions?

  • If the contracts team is closing more deals than the reps, then most companies will figure it out and start to systematically devalue their reps. If your product is “selling itself”, then there may not be a need for strong reps.

6) How is your business unit spotlighted in quarterly earnings calls?

  • If there is no mention of your business sector (or your product line) at the top level of the organization, then you are being sent a clear message that your division is either declining or you have become a “cash cow”. If you are simply fueling the growth of other divisions within the company, you should ask “why?”. This scenario puts the reps in a very vulnerable spot.

7) What does your compensation plan say about corporate goals?

  • A dramatic change in the comp plan can be a huge “tell” when it comes to the strategy of the company. Ask yourself if the overall compensation plan is congruent with the reality of the market. Are overachievers rewarded or are they stifled? Run the math and assess what the plan is telling you.

An astute rep is rarely caught “flat-footed” when it comes to industry changes or shifts at their company. Take a hard look at these questions and be ready… Change is inevitable.  

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