How to Keep Your Employees from Getting Poached

April 9, 2014 at 6:00 AM by Kathleen de Lara

poaching employeesThe industry’s highest performing leaders are equipped with some of the best people for the job. What that means for recruiters is a hunt for talent that’s slightly more demanding than usual, and at times, looking to candidates already employed by other companies is a route some choose to take.

It’s a route that’s more or less traveled for certain positions and occasionally considered taboo by others in the recruiting industry.

In our first post on poaching candidates, we shared insights on the ethics and legal matters of hiring talent from competitor companies. In this post, we’ve jumped to the other side of that fence to help keep your top players all in the family.

Rationally resolve the poaching.

In a last ditch effort to keep employees from leaving for another company, some organizations opt to offer better compensation, benefits, and perks than whatever the other guy’s doling out. While this may seem like a move that’s valiant enough to convince an employee to stay, nothing is promised and doing so could lead to a series of uninvited asks for more. Extending an increased salary to an employee who has one foot out the door communicates to other team members that if they threaten to leave, they can negotiate higher compensation as well. Compromise wisely.

Build a long-term plan for your team from the beginning.

Consider implementing weekly one-on-one meetings with each of your employees that give you the opportunity to learn about their aspirations and how the company can help them reach their career goals. Discuss a long-term development and incentive plan to motivate how they move along in the company and beyond. How do you want to grow in the company? Where do you hope to be in the future? How can we help you reach that? But don’t keep it too formal. Ask your team how they’re doing — not just in work, but with anything else going on that they’re willing to share. Get feedback on ways they think you can improve as a manager. Identify and tackle issues keeping the team from properly functioning. Instill the point-blank, genuine notion that you’re a contributor and collaborator to employees’ success, and you’ll likely grow a team that’s willing to see how all of it pans out.

Be honest about employee rewards and incentives.

Onboarding candidates is half the battle, and trying to speed up the process by misleading them with overly optimistic ideas will only catch up to you when they realize the tall tale and want out. Work performance is often influenced by the degree of trust between an employee and manager. Simply bringing up that the company will go in a particular direction, or that it’s likely an employee will get a raise within the first six months of hiring is just as good (or in this case, bad) as promising such. Employees who feel deceived are unquestionably expected to seek work at a company they deem more upright.

Ultimately, the choice is up to an employee to take up a better offer and a new opportunity, but by continually practicing effective, mindful management, your team members will be more interested in investing their time and energy into building the company, not someone else’s.   

Want to learn more about techniques to speed up your time-to-hire with qualified candidates? Check out our latest eBook on building your employee referral program: 

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