Keep Poaching Out Of Your Firm

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You know how it is. The labor market is tight and sometimes the only place to get people with the expertise you need is the local competition. Be aware, though, and don't cross legal and ethical lines.

Employers crossing the boundary have had to defend their recruiting practices in court. The term “poaching” is when a company recruits people with “the intention of pulling away employees in order to substantially damage a competitor.” You may not think you are really hitting a company hard by hiring those three auditors, but you could.

In the accounting industry, accountants know each other and they know other firms. They talk. If you do a good job of promoting your culture and provide a place where professionals can grow, chances are the people you want and need will find you.

To prevent other, less ethical firms from grabbing your people you might want to have a search firm take a look at your firm and give you an analysis of who is vulnerable. “Vulnerable” people are the ones that other firms are looking to hire and who aren't blooming in their current position.
Once you pinpoint the weaknesses in your organization, you can re-recruit your keepers. Develop a plan that encourages their professional growth.

Bottom line is you'll never be able to keep headhunters from calling your best people. What you can do is develop an environment where employees don't want to leave. Try these tactics for retaining your best:

> Develop incentives for managers who keep good people.

> Implement training that teaches managers that employees leave when they're not rewarded, thanked or given opportunities to learn.

> Establish an exit interview practice that gives you feedback about why an employees decided life would be better down the street.


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