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Salesforce Employee Retention Playbook: The Salesforce Employee’s 5 Love Languages

Salesforce is a rapidly evolving platform that’s growing in popularity every year. Despite its utility, it was never really considered “sexy.” Telling people you were working on the 1000th hot new dating app or designing new exciting ways to build a dream house for virtual people in Sims 4 was much more likely to garner “oohs” and “aahs.”

In the past, telling people that you develop, configure, and optimize custom code for a highly adaptive CRM called Salesforce was probably going to be met with more of a “...huh?”

This perceived Salesforce dullness meant that skilled coders are overlooked for jobs that might seem cooler on paper. As a result, businesses across industry sectors are fighting over the precious supply of experienced Salesforce resources that actually have experience.

This means, if you’re able to land a resource with 5 or more Salesforce certifications and 3 or more years of experience, you’re going to have to make a concerted effort to retain them. Their LinkedIn inboxes are overflowing with job offers.

At Cloud Pacific, we like living with the peace of mind that our employees aren’t looking to say “Aloha” (the goodbye version) anytime soon. In fact, not a single employee we’ve W-2 hired has resigned.

This is because we put these 5 key priorities, which you can think of as “The Salesforce Employee’s 5 Love Languages” into practice. If you’ve got quality talent on your team, this is your playbook to making sure they never want to leave.

1. Compensate Above Market (And Save Money Doing It)

When there’s not enough supply of qualified and experienced Salesforce resources to meet industry demand, there’s no better tool for retention than good, old-fashioned money. At Cloud Pacific, we consistently pay above market… and not just because it’s the right thing to do for employee satisfaction. It’s also a wholly worthwhile investment.

On top of being flooded with job offers, your Salesforce employee knows when they’re being paid the bare minimum for their skill set. These are people who literally work in the data industry, so if you’re counting on their ignorance of their worth, you need to pour yourself a cold glass of reality.

There’s also the message that paying the exact market average sends to your resource: “We’ll only ever pay you as much as we absolutely have to.” Does that inspire loyalty, or does it inspire a “I’ll only work as hard as I absolutely have to” attitude?

The last thing you want is your vital Salesforce resource heading into work every day feeling like they’re being taken advantage of, or fielding job offers on the clock because they know there’s other businesses that will value them properly. If you’ve ever been underpaid yourself, you know how this feels.

When you find the right Salesforce employee, you should pay as far above market as you can. You might wince at this if you’re cost-averse, but it’s actually the safer bet for your buck.

Firstly, with high pay you can have high expectations. Your resource will be coming into work every day eager to prove that they’re worth their exceptional pay, and they’ll be enthusiastic about keeping you happy.

Secondly, the training tools for Salesforce haven’t been around for very long, and it takes time for resources to get up to speed. Your employee, if they’re good, has devoted years to developing their expertise in Salesforce-specific skills. Specialists like these are rare (and precious) and are not easily replaced.

If you pay your resource market rate, and they leave for a company that offers better compensation, it’s realistic to expect your search for their replacement to take 6 months to a year… and that doesn’t include the time it takes to train a new hire on your established system once they’re on board.

So instead of establishing a revolving door of frustrated talent, invest in your Salesforce employee. When you do, you’re minimizing your risk of turnover, and minimizing risk to your bottom line.

2. When It Comes to Benefits, Go Big AND Go Home

It should go without saying that if you’re paying your Salesforce resource above market to encourage retention, you’re also going to have to offer a competitive benefits package. Comprehensive is absolutely the way to go: Cover healthcare costs, offer 401K, etc.

Still, there’s one particular benefit that (above anything else) is going to seal the deal: Remote Work.

Like it or not, 2020 was the start of a major disruption in how people think about work, and it’s not showing signs of slowing down as the decade progresses. Particularly for Salesforce talent, who are working independently from their keyboards for most of their time anyway, it’s insulting to imply that they’ll do a better job when they’re forced to do something they could easily do from home (or anywhere) in an office.

After the Coronavirus hit, 84% of Salesforce employees were working from home full-time, with 91% reporting that they worked from home at least part-time. A definitive 93% of permanent employees also indicated that workplace benefits are important when it comes to deciding if they’ll accept a job offer, and two of the top-ten benefits that attract candidates are remote working and work-life balance.

So if you can offer remote work and flexible scheduling to round out your benefits package, you’re going to stand out in a BIG way from the rest of the employers hounding these vital resources. If your business can provide these benefits, they’re worth their weight in gold, particularly because most companies still do not offer them.

Potential Salesforce hires are used to hearing that when it comes to remote working and flexible schedules, the company is “figuring it out” or that it’ll be available “until after COVID.” Some companies even offer remote work, but only at a drastic reduction in salary, which is laughably ridiculous. If an employee is doing the same work for you either way, why do they need to sit close enough to smell your lunch to make what they deserve?

This also holds true for flexible work. Some developers code best at 2AM after some ice cream and video games. If the work is both high-quality and on time, what’s the point of clocking in and clocking out?

On top of basic benefits, if you can empower your Salesforce resource to do their own work, on their own time, at their own place, and in their own way… you’re showing them that you care more about their wellbeing and the quality of their work than the obsolete “9 to 5” concept that probably should have been changed long before a pandemic forced us all to question it.

3. Take Training Seriously (Your Resource Does)

Part of what makes Salesforce so powerful is that it’s constantly evolving, but that also presents challenges to those who are trying to stay on the cutting edge of their expertise. Salesforce corporate is always pushing training, with several mandatory “Maintenance Exams” required for resources who want to keep their certifications.

These exams need to be taken yearly and they take time to complete. To sustain their certifications (generally speaking), a Salesforce employee is going to need to take a minimum of 10-20 hours per year, and you need to think of this as part of their job.

Despite how small and necessary this commitment is, some companies still expect their Salesforce employees to take care of these trainings unpaid, and on their own time. If you’re interested in keeping your Salesforce employee, we’ve already established that work-life balance is critical to them. Why, then, would you force them to work through a weekend to stay up-to-date on the skills they need to be the best at their jobs?

Allot time each year for each resource to train, study, and take exams. Figure these (not especially large) costs into your budget, and you’ll be cultivating a lot of goodwill from your employee. They’ll know that you value their time and their goals, and that buys you more priceless loyalty than it costs you in cash.

4. Create Teamwork Opportunities (Or Build a Team of Your Own)

Now, obviously, your Salesforce resource is going to be working with your business’s “team” in a general sense. That’s not the kind of teamwork we’re talking about here.

We’ve written about it exhaustively before (check out our blogs about Implementation, Hiring vs. Contracting, and Reasonable Employee Expectations, but there’s this ongoing problematic practice of companies hiring a Salesforce employee to be their “guru” whose job is to “do Salesforce” for their entire organization.

The hard truth is, for many businesses’ solutions, putting it all on a single Salesforce employee is going to get you both rushed, low-quality work AND a burned-out employee who’s going to leave for greener pastures. Core Salesforces is itself complex, but when you get to mastering various third-party apps and creating custom code, it is simply too much for any single person to completely understand and execute effectively (not to mention efficiently).

Most highly-skilled Salesforce professionals are trying their best to avoid situations like this, and place huge value on the opportunity to work with a dedicated Salesforce team. Team experience allows each Salesforce resource to focus on their particular area of expertise, while also learning directly from their team members as they get involved with new stages of development.

Like we touched on above, ongoing training is an important aspect of any Salesforce professional’s career, but working with a Salesforce team on a complex project is far better than any class or solo study. Certifications are important, but the skills to get those certifications come from working with a team, so your employee (or potential employee) is going to jump at the opportunity to be part of a collaborative effort.

If you don’t have the budget or business structure to support a dedicated Salesforce team full time, you can still give your employee “teamwork” opportunities by engaging a Salesforce Firm on a contract basis for large projects. We even have a great firm in mind!

(Yes, it’s us. Contact Cloud Pacific here to learn more!)

5. Create an Environment Hospitable to Salesforce Culture

Salesforce has built a powerful, attractive culture that the most sought-after professionals are deeply engrossed within. Built around the concept of Ohana (which, as a Hawaii-based firm, we know one or two things about), Salesforce culture is concerned with the reality that we’re all bound together. In Hawaiian, Ohana means extended or chosen family, and Salesforce professionals view their community in that light.

Some of the most important core values of Salesforce that your company should replicate to increase retention are:

  • Work-Life Balance - We touched on this above, but it bears repeating, because it’s absolutely vital. A hard work ethic is pivotal to any professional’s success, but Salesforce employees remember what that work is in service of - life. Family, recreation, mental health, and self improvement outside of the workplace are all real priorities, and they deserve to be viewed as crucial to your business as well. Space to live and to unplug are not luxuries, they’re necessities, and your employees deserve them.

  • Positive Impact - Community impact is a core part of Salesforce’s culture, which is built around the idea that business is the most efficient and effective vector for positive change in the world. Your Salesforce employee will be concerned with matters beyond your company’s bottom line, and they’ll be more loyal to a company that shows it cares about more than just generating a profit. If nothing else, ensure that you’re creating space for your resource to spend time volunteering, contribute to a charitable cause, or participate in tangible actions for justice both inside and outside of the workplace.

  • Diversity and Inclusion - Salesforce has always strived to “build a workforce that reflects society” - and society is not homogeneous. As a member of the larger Salesforce ecosystem, your Salesforce resource is going to have Equality as one of their core values, and a passion for empowering both themselves and others to cultivate an Ohana with a diverse group of people. It is vital for Salesforce employee retention that your company makes people feel seen, heard, valued, safe, and supported to succeed. As should likely go without saying (but we’ll say it anyway), intolerance and bigotry are deal breakers for a Salesforce resource - full stop.

In the current market, where top-quality Salesforce talent is hard to come by and even harder to retain, these 5 practices are your best weapon against the army of recruiters storming the gates to pillage your best resource. Implement them today, and despite what may seem like some up-front adaptation and cost required, the payoff will prove their worth.

Take it from us, because Cloud Pacific embodies every number on this list.

Interested in working for a company known for putting these values into practice? We’re always looking for qualified talent to join our diverse team. Reach out to us here to join our Ohana.

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