Image by Lyle Wilkinson
  • Gary Lam

Salesforce Partner Edition: What Do Tai Chi and Talent Retention Have in Common?

Did you know that by thoroughly branding your Salesforce practice, you can not only attract the right talent but also retain it? The type of branding we’re referring to here is not only for the purpose of marketing your services, it has more to do with company values and messaging.


So where does Tai Chi tie into this you ask?


Co-written with Justin Lowell, in this article we will discuss:

  • The Salesforce quest for talent

  • One part moves, all parts move

  • Branding = Talent Retention

  • Following in Salesforce footsteps

  • How to attract top talent

The Salesforce quest for talent

As you know, many companies around the world have a need for Salesforce talent. However, not all of them have the resources or capacity to manage recruitment internally. This is why agencies such as Mason Frank International exist. Their mission is not only to connect companies with the right Salesforce talent but also to advocate for healthy company culture, equality and diversity.


Being an expert in the matter, Justin Lowell will help us, through this article, navigate recruitment and retention challenges that might be keeping you from growing your Salesforce practice to its full potential.


One part moves, all parts move

So now you might be wondering “Gary, I clicked on this article for Salesforce insights, why are we talking about Tai Chi?


The answer is, only when you fully grasp the philosophy behind Tai Chi practice, will you understand what it takes to retain talent within your practice.


Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition originally developed for self-defense. It has now evolved into a graceful form of exercise used for stress reduction and a variety of other health conditions. I have been practicing Tai Chi for 5 years, Yang Cheng-Fu who is known for creating his own style of Tai Chi, once described the concept of Whole Body Movement with the phrase “One part moves, all parts move”.


This means that you need to coordinate the upper and lower parts of the body through each movement. They need to move simultaneously and in sync. Again, “One part moves, all parts move”. This phrase really resonated with me when I first heard it. It put everything into perspective and felt perfectly relevant to the very foundation of my Salesforce practice.


Branding = Talent Retention

Now, this is the part where I explain to you what my 5 years of Tai Chi practice have to do with building your Salesforce business.


Similar to Tai Chi your practice needs to coordinate branding, marketing, and human resources along with a defined set of values and company culture. There is a real battle to retain and attract a quality workforce. Your people ARE your product. They are your most valuable asset.


This begs the questions: How are you branding your company. What do you stand for?


Marketing your brand to customers, referral sources, and future business partners is only one aspect of your business strategy. Do not overlook your other target audience: Salesforce talent that wants to join the right values-driven culture. Your brand provides reputation and visibility for your company. It not only sells to your future customers, but it also tells potential employees what they can expect from you as an employer.


Following in Salesforce footsteps

Given that your practice exists within the Salesforce ecosystem, this makes things quite easy for you to do the right thing. You simply need to take cues directly from Salesforce. The company Mason Frank for instance adopted this strategy from the beginning. When Salesforce says that its priorities are to attract, retain, and grow talent, Mason Frank does its best to align with those priorities.


You see, Salesforce’s core values are to create a culture of Trust, Customer Success, Innovation, and Equality. Which makes them the values expected of everyone within the ecosystem to uphold. Including you.


Remember the phrase “One part moves, all parts move”? Salesforce as a company and we as partners operating within its ecosystem are all but one entity with the same goal: Serving our customers. So when the upper body (i.e. Salesforce) defines its core values, the lower body (ie partners) should coordinate their values with Salesforce.


Similarly, Mason Frank has aligned to the areas of fastest growth to best serve all stakeholders in the ecosystem: Manufacturing, Health & Life Sciences (HLS) and Financial Services (FINS). Where Salesforce projects the most growth in the coming years, Mason Frank is aligned to support that growth by helping put the right people in the right seats at the right time.


How to attract top talent

Because there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a company’s recruitment strategy, the process of attracting top talent is not a linear one. There are different practices, and it is up to you to identify and stick with the one that aligns with your company values.


Attracting talent with culture story

One of my clients who’s a small Salesforce SI partner with as few as 20 employees has been able to attract and hire a highly talented Technical Architect. It was pretty impressive, and when I asked them how they did it, the answer was simple: they shared the story behind their company culture.


The company is an MWBE (Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprise), involved in the Sustainability movement with their own corporate initiative. The CEO is heavily involved with YPO and they even have a dedicated page on their website to culture and core values: Community, Creativity, Respect, Integrity, and Results.


Attracting talent through “culture fit”

Shared values and culture fit are important, but can often be elusive. This is a mistake that many companies make when describing their company culture. The question you need to be asking is how can potential candidates and your company gain alignment and mutual understanding about culture fit?


Today’s candidates are more aware of the importance of culture fit and tend to do thorough research about their future employers. For instance, when a company describes its culture as Entrepreneurial, that can make it hard for talent to determine culture fit because of its vague nature. You need to ensure your company culture and core values are as specific as possible, to make it easier for candidates to assess culture fit.


Also, keep in mind that determining company culture and core values shouldn’t be done in a vacuum, you need to take into consideration market insights and what top talents in your industry are looking for.


Below are some insights Mason Frank shares about Salesforce professionals and what makes them happy at work as well as things that make them unhappy.


Salesforce Practice recruiters, take some notes!



Final thoughts

While building and growing your Salesforce practice remember to keep your talent recruitment strategy in mind. Branding your business is not only about attracting clients, it is also about fostering the right culture and values to attract and retain talent. If in doubt, simply model Salesforce’s culture and core values. After all, as partners, those are the same values we are all committed to upholding.