… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.


Poach: To trespass on another’s property in order to take fish or game; To take or appropriate something unfairly or illegally.

If you’ve been in the recruiting game for a while, you’ve probably encountered poaching. And not of the hunter or egg variety. I’m talking poaching of your talent by a competitor. Maybe it’s even from a former employee who set out to start their own company and wants to bring some friends along. Hell, you might have done it yourself once or twice. It happens, right? It’s all part of the game.

Now, I’ve been hearing about talent being poached a lot more recently and it’s not hard to guess why. Employees are unhappy with increased workloads and stagnant pay and frankly, that whole “be grateful that you even have a job” philosophy really isn’t the best retention strategy. The grass on the other side of the fence doesn’t have to be that green to be better than scorched earth. And the sad fact is that sometimes the only way to get a pay increase is to change jobs. All that makes it a lot easier for recruiters to lure away your best people. And maybe you deserve to have them taken.

But what do you do if you think your client is poaching your people? Sure, that’s what contracts, non-solicitation agreements, and all that other legal stuff is meant to prevent but what if it happens anyway? How comfortable are you with actually telling them to back off? How much are you willing to give up to maintain the relationship? Or how far are you willing to push to enforce that contract? There is no one answer that works for everyone.

But there are a few truths to keep in mind:
1. Don’t make any assumptions about your clients intentions or complicity. Maybe your own people have decided they like your client better.
2. This kind of contract violation, if that is what it is, is hard to prove in court and it’s expensive.
3. The best defense against poaching is to treat your people right.

I think we can all agree that number 3 is the most salient point. Someone can’t steal something that isn’t yours.

So, how good have you been to your employees lately?

2 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 Heather :

    I’ve recently had a “poaching” experience at my company. Our plant is closing and a competitor has poached several employees away after telling me they would wait until we are done with the employees. I know in our situation they owe us nothing but it has really sucked that they told me one thing and then did another. It has made closing a little more stressful than it already is trying to scramble and find replacements.

  • 2 Shauna :

    Heather – Boo! No cookie for them!