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No Poaching

The overheated recruiting environment of the past three years has heightened employers’ focus on employee retention. I had an opportunity to attend a luncheon with a group of HR executives last week, and during a roundtable discussion, they all listed retention as the most significant organizational issue they face. However, the problems associated with the loss of a key employee often extend beyond refilling the vacant chair. Exiting workers may poach other employees or clients soon after they leave, or, worse yet, sensitive documents or other trade information may also go out the door. This is dangerous territory because in today’s increasingly competitive environment, employers are prepared to deal with these issues aggressively (even if there was no non-compete agreement). The employee and the new employer can end up with a lawsuit on their hands, not a positive way to begin a new relationship. The best route for employees to follow is to leave the papers behind when you depart. For new employers, I suggest you think twice about poaching. Simple rules can save you from some serious problems.

Tony LoPinto is CEO of Equinox Partners, an executive search firm specializing in the real estate industry, and parent company of SelectLeaders. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
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