You may soon begin to reflect on changes to your team’s composition since March and create your Q3 and Q4 plans to retain or attract (new) team members.

The below observations are from Xtra Effort conversations with USA based Sales, Sales Engineering, and Customer Success personnel from the technology segment.

These Covid era observations reveal candidate motivations behind their recent decisions to leave or remain with their employers. They may be helpful to you when formulating your team retention and recruiting strategies.



  • Inherent fear of change during periods of instability. Many candidates have decided to hunker down and wait out the storm.
  • Their current employer’s leadership team proactively communicatedwith transparent detail how they were going to navigate the company’s challenges, and that their jobs were safe
  • Their current employer proactively reduced performance expectations, making success of some sort feel possible
  • Their current employers proactively reduced staff or compensation, but communicatedassurances to those remaining that they will be critical to the company’s adjusted strategies and goals and have more opportunity (territory, accounts, deals support resources, etc.)
  • Leadership insured their company culture continued to have a strong sense of mission and team … despite everyone working from home. They fostered bottoms up, top down, and peer-to-peer idea generation and sharing through the development of scheduled dialog about subjects related to work – and not directly related to work
  • Leadership encouraged (and lead by example) more frequent and timely recognition of positive outcomes (however small, i.e., deals, demonstrations, POC’s, customer satisfaction scores), and controllable but important behaviors such as sales activity, follow up, customer meetings, creative messaging related to sales and customer retention


  • No communication from leadership of a credible strategy or a vision for the future. The senior leadership team isolated themselves with excessive inward planning and assumed the pre Covid frequency and style of communication would be sufficient.
  • Less tenured professionals are working 100% from home for the first time in their careers. They do not have the accustomed in-person support systems from leadership or peers and perceive temporary challenges to be permanent, i.e., prospects delaying deals due to Covid, quota pressure, isolation and boredom, etc. They believe another employer may represent a more tolerable work environment and role, despite also being 100% remote.
  • Employees did not feel it was feasible to reach their non-adjusted performance metrics
  • Leadership behaved in a defeated manner
  • Competitive employers provided a better story and vision about how their business is adapting to new circumstances
  • Employees felt their territory or accounts were too dependent on one industry sector (“Vertical”), i.e., retail or healthcare, without any sensitivity or recognition by management of Covid’s impact on their role
  • Employees felt isolated and alone since being 100% remote and did not have sufficient meaningful communication from leadership or peers. No longer any fun.
  • Long time field team members were not provided strategies on how to engage prospects and customers in a virtual/remote manner.


Covid produced several obvious, uncontrollable, and undesirable consequences to revenues, customers, and forecasts.  The results have been unavoidable layoffs and furloughs.

However, the difference in responses across companies’ leadership teams is astonishing, and the controllable results palpable.

The bottom line is the importance of:

  • Leadership proactively and frequently informing their teams of the company’s success executing their Covid era strategy. Success can be related to the achievement of newly implemented programs, etc. (not just Sales, renewals, etc.)
  • Leadership leading by example with even keeled and opportunistic dispositions
  • Creating the systems, processes, and expectations that foster frequent and creative communication up, down, and across a company’s remote employees.
  • Leadership insures they proactively solicit each team member for their ideas for improved satisfaction, results, productivity, and culture. Employees should be asked at least once per quarter, and via a group town hall like chat and on a one-on-one basis. Their ideas should be heard without criticism. Some employees may respond that they do not need any “touchy feely” communication, but they wantto be heard. Meet as a leadership team and review how you can recognize their ideas and implement some of them.


About Xtra Effort Solutions (

– Recruiting for small and medium sized technology related companies since 2001

– National reach

– Boston HQ

– Focus: Sales, Sales Engineering, and Customer Success

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