Talent Raids Are On: Preserve Your Human Capital

Talent raiders employ overt and underhanded techniques to steal your talent; learn the best strategies for protecting human capital.

Rather than simply focusing on why an employee leaves, exit interviews should seek to elicit how (i.e., how the employee was contacted, persuaded, and by whom, etc.) the employee came to the point of exit.” – Timothy M. Gardner, Human Resource Management, Vol. 41 No. 2, 225-237.

Talent Protection Strategies

How does a company prevent the loss of talented employees to its competitors? How does a company sustain and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace? After querying executives from several corporations for the study, “In the trenches at the talent wars: Competitive interaction for scarce human resources,” Timothy M. Gardner highlights tactics that corporations use to lure highly qualified people to their firms.

Tactics include emails or phone calls offering a salary increase, more benefits, better training, more vacation days, and other perks. Conversations often start with “What don’t you like about working at X Company?” or “What would it take to get you to leave?” How an organization responds to overtures from competitors to their valued employees depends on several factors. Those factors include their investments in employee development, individual ROI, cost per hire, and their awareness of tactics used by the raiders. Not surprisingly, employees with skill mobility are the most vulnerable to being “poached.”

Gardner makes another observation that may seem obvious, but has important consequences: by basing HR strategies on the labor market of all your company’s locations rather than that of the headquarters, HR personnel will be better able to respond to local recruiting challenges. Losing employees cost not only investments in employees (such as training), but also the potential they had to contribute to the organization.

What responses can stop these actions?

Protecting Human Capital from Talent Raiders

Studying your organization’s employee voluntary turnover patterns will give you a base from which to create recruiting and retention plans. Companies who keep track of patterns in Exit Interviews and who follow up with those people are most prepared to devise solutions to prevent talented employees from being lured away in the future. Tactics that are employed against raiding firms include directly communicating with that firm and negotiating, legal action, counter-raiding, and encouraging others to sever business relationships with that firm.

These practices are necessary because employees have inside information that can aid their new employers’ talent raids. Offering incentives makes it difficult for employees to leave (especially those with transferable skills). Strategies, implemented on a case-by-case basis, include providing developmental opportunities, life/work balance options, or matching salary offers of the raiding firm.

Implementing these supervisory tactics is less costly than recruiting, training, and integrating new employees into your company. For assistance with putting these techniques into practice, email requests@retensa.com.

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