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Staffing During the Recession

(December 2011) posted on Thu Nov 17, 2011

"Interestingly, it has never been easier to staff our company with star employees than during this recession period."

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By Craig Miller

Other shops, however, apparently did not have this same hands-off approach when it came to poaching. Our company has a reputation of having an excellent staff and low turnover. We’ve invested heavily in staff training and cross training and, as a result, have the ability to “home grow” our professional staff. Our people acquire a wide range of valuable skills. What better way, then, for another company to build an excellent staff without all the expense of a training program than to recruit skilled people away from us? Over the years, we have lost some really key people to poachers. In almost every instance, it was over money. When someone offers one of your staff a huge raise, I don’t blame an employee for being attracted to it.

But there’s a risk to the company employing the poaching recruitment method: Since the poaching company cannot talk directly with the management of the poached company, it must rely on the prospective employee’s self reporting with regard to their virtues or lack of them. It’s all too common that the employee being recruited is someone who in reality is less than a star (to put it generously).

On one occasion, for instance, two employees who were the subjects of a poaching raid had recently been placed on 90-day probation. The competitor seriously overpaid for their talents, thus hurting their competitiveness by paying too much for less-than-stellar staff in skill positions. And, they did our HR Department a favor: It saved us the unsavory task of firing these employees, which was inevitable, and reduced the chance that we would end up having their ultimate unemployment charged against our unemployment insurance account. The moral of the story: If the boom tempts you to poach, you might just end up with a rotten egg.