Prevent Employee-Poaching

A discussion in CiteHR

Stephen Grocer  in Employee Poaching Returns to Wall Street,mentions “Wall Street is back. First came profits. Then bonuses. Now, the time-honoured tradition of poaching”. As the markets have opened, the demand for talent is on the rise. Companies are hiring aggressively. The drastic measures taken during recession including pink slips, no salary hikes, increased working hours and salary reduction have created an infallible impact on the employee’s mind. This results with attrition as the hiring rise. There is no stop gap arrangement to hold the best talent back. Hiring from the enemy camp is one of the top most strategies in talent acquisition. In a situation like this how do we ensure that our most important asset returns to work every day?

Let’s understand where we lose these talents. Generally, it’s the competitors who hire rampantly. The restrictive practices such as Non-disclosure and Non-compete agreement may save necessary information and losing the talent to the client. However, different other channels including the vendor, distribution, entrepreneurial ventures and transitioning to other vertical still exists. In a recent development Google, Apple, Adobe, Intel, Intuit, and Pixar agreed not to hire each other’s employees.

Apart from the HR programs including the employee engagement, retention strategies , compensation and better growth plans , certain arrangements can be designed which may work for a time period.

No-poach agreement: Initiate a no-poach agreement with the other companies who have the same business and often from the same client. Hence may require the same skill sets to deliver the job.

Hiring strategies: It begins with setting the funnel where the best talent can be hired and developed. At the time of hiring, it’s important to make sure that the employer not just takes the job, but chooses the employer as well. One of the hiring strategies implemented by a company hiring on single number was, allowing the talent who clears all the rounds to see the job for a day. The shortlisted talent would be put as a buddy to an employee who is already delivering the job. This helps the talent to decide whether they wish to take the offer or not. This strategy can help the firm to demystify the job for the employee, resulting in higher retention. This may not be possible for bigger revamp including double or triple digit growth.

Red flag potential ‘poach’: The business model will have few core jobs to be delivered. These jobs may or may not be easily trainable. They will require the talent to stay unaffected by the attrition. Identify these business units which may stand the poaching threat. Form a talent pool to offer a buffer in the times of need. Apart from this, redesign the hiring plans. Suppose, if the educational requirement for a developer’s role is B-Tech , consider BCA or BCS even Bcom with a sound Technical certification from NIIT. This restructuring of the funnel, will set a ceiling for salaries. Even though the competitors are likely to catch up with this policy, it still would create a cushion for a while.

Better pipeline: Maintain a talent pipeline to the roles which stand the poaching threat. Design a career path to promote a talent within the organization. This will remain a motivational factor for the lesser skilled employees. This would bring in a ceiling to the talent as they might not fit into the basic requirement of the competitors. For e.g.: If a role required an MBA to work in a project management role. A new career path can be designed to promote the employees who are graduates, with good communication skills and other capabilities required to deliver the job. It would further optimise their productivity in that role.

Pre-wire the recruitment companies: Keep a close watch on the recruitment vendors to the company. The recruitment firm may share the talent database of a former client to a new one. Though it is against the legal guidelines nevertheless, it poses a threat.

Job application check: The best way to keep a check on the employees who have started looking for a job is to view the updated resumes in the job portals. This can be taken as a early warning sign. Furthermore, a blind add and cold calling randomly can be arranged to keep a watch on the employees who is looking out for a job.

Talent pool management : Consistently identify newer talent pools and maintain a sound training department. Training programs must be designed to shorten the phase of bringing an employee on board and training them.The billability would get managed when there is a reduction of the gap between the date of joining and the productivity-ready stage.

Loyalty program leader : Identify leaders from the employees to run the employee loyalty program. A shared responsibility between the business leader and HR can be mapped, announcing different employees as leader of the month for the employee loyalty program. This would promote Ubuntu i.e., “I am what I am because of who we all are” with an aim to strengthen cohesiveness. Even if the employees leave the organization a loyalty program would help forming alumni’s and make them potential hires in future.

Realistic employee life cycle : It’s important to realise that every employee joins with an expiry date for the job in mind. It’s important to identify that. Very few would be capable of developing themselves and promoted to the next level. The rest would remain a part of the employee turn-over. Once this division is realised, poaching would not affect as long as the backfill is on.

The purpose of retaining employees would be realised when “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”- Henry Ford

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