According to the Labor Department’s latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover report, 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in December closing out a record-shattering year when roughly 47.4 million people voluntarily left their jobs for better work.
2021 has seen unprecedented frustration from employees in all industries and as we’ve entered 2022, things seem to be following a similar pattern. After working remotely for 2 years across the board senior employees are leaving at an alarming rate. As a result, key resources at any sales organization, like the sales engineers and tech architects, who are some of the most impactful employees relating to closing deals, keeping customers happy, when they leave, it can come as a great blow having an organization-wide impact.
When a sales engineer or architect leaves an organization, the company suffers in more ways than one;
- The immediate impact on complex sales
- The immediate impact on new concept harvesting
- The unforeseen additional cost; research has shown that it costs about 33% of an employee’s annual salary to replace them
- The loss of talent and knowledge
- The cultural impact on other employees, of losing a team member
- Reduced productivity of the team
- The additional responsibility of hiring to replace this employee
The Great Resignation or not, employees come and go; for one reason or another – be it personal or professional. They may just be leaving the employment pool for good. It is then critical that the impact a Sales Engineer’s departure has on your organization is limited. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can exercise damage control:
- Capture everything in your knowledge and quoting system like Configure Price Quote (CPQ) system – CPQ systems understand the nuances of your products. When an employee leaves their organization, 100% of their knowledge leaves with them. The easiest way to reduce the impact of this loss of knowledge is to make it standard procedure to continually capture as much knowledge as possible. This could be a record for example of your ex-sales engineer/sales architect’s configurations, formulas, and templates that they used in processing orders. This way, after their departure, the transfer of projects can be made easy so that the customer does not suffer. By capturing this data in your CPQ system, you have ensured that a substantial amount of the information and knowledge remains in the organization when employees leave.
- Make sure you have a detailed hiring plan in place – Get ready to hire a new sales engineer, but don’t rush it. Take your time to really understand why this person left – were they feeling underutilized? Or were they feeling over-pressured by having to do tasks outside of sales that were not suited to their position? Or were they bored of doing the same kind of work on the same kind of spreadsheets, day after day? By encouraging and allowing your employee to do fresh work with brand new configurations in an advanced CPQ platform, you can expect maximum outcome. Your best and brightest talent will be happier and more productive working with intuitive systems like CPQ because they can configure solutions on their own. Eliminate repeated boring manual dreary spreadsheet configuration. Hiring the “wrong” person could have an organization-wide impact – culture, morale, productivity, and reputation are all at stake. Your hiring plan should ideally contain everything required to fill the position – such as a list of responsibilities, skills requirement, a job description, prescreen questions, and job offer templates.
- Invest in on-boarding and training – Not every sales engineer you hire will be hands-on with expert systems like CPQ right off the bat. In order to ensure smooth usage and productivity, you must invest in training your new hires to use these systems to maximum benefit. Your onboarding plan ideally aims to shorten the learning curve and make the new hire fully integrated and productive as quickly as possible. To ensure that your new hire is motivated and productive, ensure you have an effective onboarding plan in place ahead of time (a good onboarding plan starts a week before a new hire joins). The onboarding phase could last months, so be as detailed as possible. Your onboarding plan should include everything – from the most basic of things like showing them where the bathrooms are, to leading your most complex product configurations.
- When your employees are leaving, it is imperative that you reflect your brand and values during their departure and be supportive of their decision. As a result, ex-employees become brand ambassadors and a source of future referrals. They will remember fondly their time at your organization. In some situations, employees will return because the grass is not always greener. For example, future employees look at websites like Glassdoor for reviews of former employees to determine whether or not your organization is a good place to work. Some organizations leverage their employee alumni network extensively for future hires and key positions. Your brand, your values and the way you treat people is important.
While your HR may have in place several onboarding steps; such as the legal affairs, the line manager is largely responsible for getting the new hire up to speed quickly. It is recommended that you regularly review and refine the process to have your new hires ready to add value as soon as possible.
Even though it is nearly impossible to entirely eliminate employee turnover, you can minimize the impact of architect/sales manager turnover by taking these four steps ahead of time and being prepared. It is useful to calculate employee turnover before you get started.
Calculate employee turnover rate over a 1-year time frame. To calculate employee turnover, divide the number of employees that left the company by the average number of employees during the period. For example, we have on average 1000 employees, and last year 20 left the organization. That means employee turnover is 20/1000 = 2%
By being mindful of these 4 points, you can be sure to minimize the impact an employee’s departure has on your organization. In addition, these tips can also assist in helping attract future employees to your organization. You must first and foremost, in order to retain your employees, ensure that your business systems embrace people with less expertise. To be productive out of the gate leveraging systems like CPQ systems enable architects and sales engineers to get up to speed faster and provide that “ease of use” your every employee is after. On your road to digital transformation, it is vital that you address roadblocks like redundant and boring tasks for key members, hiring and training staff to ensure they are productive and key contributors as soon as possible. These changes will make new and existing staff roles more rewarding to them, valuable to the organization, drive loyalty, productivity, revenue and customer satisfaction.