Help! Recruiters Are Stealing My Employees!
If there’s one topic that really annoys me, it’s the allegation that recruiters steal talent away from companies. A prime example is the recent Inc. article, “Hey, Recruiters on LinkedIn: Don’t Pilfer My People.” The author, Jane Popick, discusses how LinkedIn is choc full of recruiters who are champing at the bit to pilfer — definition: to steal (typically things of relatively little value) — companies’ hard-won top talent.
Uhhh. First things first — recruiters do not pilfer anything (do you really consider your people “things of relatively little value”?), and they don’t steal your people. This is America, my friends. People leave their companies willingly.
Face It: You Aren’t Going to Keep Every Employee Forever
Popick goes on to say that there are a few ways to get your people to stay at your company and not look elsewhere, and I do agree with her tips. Outlining a career path with your employees, blocking frustrations, and making attempts to be the employer of choice can help to keep your employees invested in your company. But you should be doing these things because you value the talent you hired, not because you are worried about losing your employees. And you WILL lose valuable employees — it’s just how it works. Open opportunities and company goals don’t always align perfectly with individual employee goals and aspirations. Your employees may be ready for the next step, but that may not jive with your timeline.
Aside from working towards becoming an employer that people strongly want to work for — ie: having a reputation for being a great place to work — there is nothing you can do to keep people at your company. So don’t go out of your way to attempt to police and delay your employees looking elsewhere. In fact, you should perhaps even consider encouraging it. Recruiters will call your employees with opportunities, and if you’re smart, you’ll look the other way. Sometimes it takes people exploring other options to realize how good they have it with your company.
Focus on the Factors You Can Actually Control
So, managers — before you freak out the next time a recruiter contacts one of your employees stop and ask yourself, why? If your company is a desirable place to work and you are a good manager, then you will have people banging down your doors to work for your company. Losing an employee is not personal. I repeat. Do not take an employee leaving personally. It probably has nothing to do with you as an individual, and everything to do with the opportunity.
Recruiters are not stealing your employees, but rather showing them what their options are outside of your company. Stop being paranoid about recruiters poaching your employees and focus on making your company a tough place to leave.