Shay out of Buffalo, NY writes....
"Hi my name is Shay and I'm a Director of Sales for my firm. My employee who is a Pre-Sales Engineer and one of my most valuable employees for the past 5 years is going through a Career Crisis. She wants to do something completely different and move out of our area. The problem is she is my best Pre-Sales Engineers and I can't afford to lose her. She has this amazing knack of making a new client feel good about our product and has helped our sales team close some pretty big deals! I have thrown more money at her the past couple of times which has sufficed her appetite for doing something different, however more money is not working anymore she really wants to pursue getting into product development.
If I lose her to this other area of the company I'm going to be in big trouble this could impact us closing future deals without her insight and knowledge of our product and communicating that to customer prospects. "Help Me Recruiter" what should I do?"
Shay first of all I want to thank you for writing in and seeking my advice. This is a very common problem companies have. It's the danger of having a "rock star" employee and putting all of your "eggs in their basket". Shay being completely honest with you and I know you won't want to hear this, but you are going to lose this valuable lady either way. Money is no longer motivation to her, its doing something new with her career and you have no choice but to respect that. Sure you could probably just ignore her wishes and even block her but then she will "sow her oats" within another organization. Trust me if she is as valuable as you say she is then your organization doesn't want to lose her.
With that said Shay I have two pieces of advice for you. First, acknowledge her desire for the change and go one step further, support and be an advocate for her getting into that new role as quickly as that can happen. Trust me she will be so appreciative how you and your organization are treating her that she will want to reciprocate back! Then you can negotiate with her to lead the charge in not only finding her replacement but training the next person.
Now Shay don't make the mistake that I have seen many companies make. That is they won't let the person switch to the new internal job until their replacement is found and relatively trained to step in. Essentially what that does is hold your employee "hostage" which frustrates them to the point where they don't care who backfills them as long as it is someone that sets them free. Thus they endorse a poor hiring choice. You don't want that "my friend" trust me! Instead here is how I recommend handling it thus my second piece of advice.
I would look to try and fill this role with an internal employee if at all possible and here is why. For a Pre-Sales Engineer role you want someone who knows your organization, who believes in the company mission and even more believes in your product. This is a person who you want communicating to new potential customers. So I would work with your current "rock star" and ask her to help you find that person internally. This will incredibly motivate her to help you out for a couple reasons.
First, she sees that you are committed and trying to backfill her as quickly as possible, and in most cases its quicker with an internal. Second, the fact that you want to provide someone else in the organization the same opportunity she is given to do something different will make her loyal. Thus she will be motivated to make sure that she is leaving you in good hands and will want to pick the best person in the company possible. Last and this might be the best outcome of all. She is still with the Organization and happy to be a part of it! Now you don't want to go to this "well too often", but you can always "pick her brain" for advice. If she goes to another organization that option is not there.
Remember that not only for Shay but any other Hiring Manager out there who is afraid to lose there valuable employee!
If this article is something you find helpful or want to engage with me on more questions please let me know, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Rosen-Recruiting Consultant