Employee Poaching: What It Really Means

by Erica Cosminsky on October 6, 2011

So during this volunteer project I’ve been working on, a blog post was written about sponsoring the event. In that post, my writer made a comment about networking and “stealing” employees that she connected with. A certain person who was unhappy that he wasn’t totally getting his way with the event tried to make a big deal out of this post, talking about how wrong it was for her to “poach employees”. So long story short, the writer is one of the sweetest people ever and her employees love her. In fact, below I’m pretty sure we came to the conclusion that Employee Poaching actually doesn’t exist.

What the big deal I see here is: Why would anyone be so worried that their employees would be easily poached? 

People who are happy with their jobs and their bosses are not going to readily leave from a single conversation at an event. If your employees are going out the door that fast, you really need to take a look at how you are managing them.

The IIAP (International Association of Admistrative Professionals) showed in a 2010 poll that over 45 percent of employees leave their job because of their boss. Only 32 percent said they would consider leaving a job if a better opportunity opened up elsewhere.

Gallup and Indiana University polls, among others, have shown the same findings in varying degrees, but bad-boss-equaling-headed-out-the-door far out weighed any other consideration. Even combining poor pay and poor work hours percentages don’t compare to the numbers.

So bosses, what the heck are you doing to your employees? 

Everyday bosses drive away employees and contractors by being unsympathetic and over-demanding, micromanaging, building business on the backs of their employees, and treating their subordinates like disposable paper cups, crushable and replaceable.

Rather than scheduling another team building exercise or yelling at employees, have you stepped back recently to review what little things you could do to make other’s jobs easier? What steps is your company forcing into play that really don’t matter or aren’t needed?

When was the last time you said “thank you” sincerely to someone who works for you? What doors do thank you’s open?  Danielle LaPorte said earlier this week that being able to say thank you is an honor.  A study published in the  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology last year suggested that just showing gratitude resulted in double the helpfulness from a request. Another similar study sought to show that being grateful made the giver and the receiver a boost in their immune system.

Employee Poaching happens all the time. Forbes Magazine has an article on it at least once a quarter. And maybe you aren’t in a position to revolutionize the company you work for but you can always be nice.

If you own your own company, there are a lot of little things you can do to make your employees much happier and secure feeling. Pay is usually not the most important thing. Think about telecommuting (unless you’re totally virtual based like me) or giving every other Friday off during the summer.

Jennifer Way is in Talent  Acquisition, as well as being a Certified Consultant for Careerbuilder. She commented below:

It’s a fact that you can’t “steal” someone who is happy.  Bottom line is that employment is voluntary.  We don’t “own” our employees.  We have to earn their employment just like they have to earn their paycheck.  Thanks for offering great perspective  on the issue.

Jennifer makes two  points that I didn’t even get to in my post. A: Employee Poaching doesn’t really exist because the person was likely on the way out the door anyway. B: The more important point. We don’t own our employees. What are you doing or not doing to earn their employment? Those are the very changes I’m suggesting before your employees leave.

Concerned this is going on in your company? Fill out my contact form letting me know what’s going on and I’ll schedule a free 20 minute call with you to discuss some solutions. Call Jennifer if you’re ready for a new job. As a former Talent Manager myself, I know she knows what she’s doing. Plus we do her transcripts so I say without a doubt, you’d be in good hands.

Image Credit: I don’t know where that image came from. I know it’s the freaking truth and if you know where it did come from, please let me know so I can credit their genius.


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Erica Cosminsky

Erica is an HR Business Strategist who works specifically with small businesses on delegation, team building, employee/contractor legal compliance, daily management and systems . The Invisible Office project evolved from her team management skills and the desire to help others love their teams. She is a former corporate HR Manager, and ran her own virtual business team for 4 years. She has a BS in Organizational Leadership focused in HR. If you have a question about your team or need for help, contact her now.

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  • Jennifer Way

    It’s a fact that you can’t “steal” someone who is happy.  Bottom line is that employment is voluntary.  We don’t “own” our employees.  We have to earn their employment just like they have to earn their paycheck.  Thanks for offering great perspective  on the issue.

    • Thank you for making my point totally clear Jennifer. I quoted your comment in my post and added my comments there. 🙂

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