Thursday, October 13, 2011

Poaching staff is pinching staff

Like many industries, attracting, training and retaining staff in the hospitality industry is an ongoing challenge. This is a field known for its peculiarly high turnover of staff to other establishments and also those who exit the industry altogether for a variety of reasons, the unsociable hours being a major factor.
One of the unwritten laws is that it’s very bad form to poach staff from other businesses.
Sure, no-one leaves a job because they are happy with it and some people might even seem ripe to approach but I reckon actively luring staff away from a rival business is a double edged sword.
In the corporate world it’s called head-hunting and it might be very flattering for the intended candidate which is completely understandable. However I don’t know of any operator who’s been on the receiving end of losing a vital staff member to wish it on another business person.
It takes much energy, time and money to shape your team into the kind of unit that you can rely on so it can be quite demoralising to lose such a vital staff member especially to what might be called ‘the opposition’.
‘Well what can you do, if they want to go and the offers suits them better then really you just have to suck it up’ I hear you say. I agree, but what goes around tends to come around.
Firstly as the poacher, you are pitching to a prospective candidate so remember that you are virtually ‘selling’ the position to that person translating as they have the ‘power’ over you and you need tem more than they need you. This can be advantageous in the short term to a degree for the incumbent candidate but that honeymoon period soon lapses and can become tiresome after a while.
For the poached, you might find yourself ostracised from your former place of employ and your relationships tested as now you work for the opposition. Formerly easily shared confidences might now be replaced by an uncomfortable and awkward uncertainty as mutual business issues arise. Also you might even be regarded as a kind of mercenary without any perceived loyalties, your duties sold to the highest bidder.
This reality has two sides as your new employer might have tucked away in the back of their minds that one day you could go somewhere else if a better offer came your way. This can influence and colour your relationship, each party not quite sure if the other is looking to move or be moved on. Either way much energy is taken up with this superfluous speculation and guess what? This focus takes you away from your core business.
In my opinion it’s never a good idea to poach staff. Wait till they leave and are free agents then all bets are off.

Fruit that is ready to drop is always sweeter than that which is plucked prematurely.


Anonymous said...

Its always wrong

Agrodolce said...

Sometimes you just need to cop it on the chin. You should always ask yourself why did they want to leave in the fist place, and it's not always money. It's still and employees market.

steve said...

Hi Anon-agreed

Hi Agrodolce-To date I haven't actually lost anyone to poaching, the post is about questioning the moral position of approaching staff whom are already employed in another business and the motives behind doing so.

Anonymous said...

Alls fair Steve-no one has ownership over anyone else in the workplace and if someone wants to come into your cafe and offer a staff member a job how can you stop them really?

Anonymous said...

Truth can't stop them from doing so but does that doesn't make it OK

steve said...

Hi anon-look I agree, its a free market. I've long realised that people leave jobs for all sorts of reasons and even though I'm always introspective as to where I may have gotten it wrong, many times its got nothing to do with the workplace at all, just that people's situations change. I think its wrong to assume that somethings wrong with a workplace just because someone wants to leave-maybe 'they' dont fit in?
Adding to what last anon said: I thinks that its very bad form to brazenly come into another business and try to recruit potential staff, I would never do it but thats just me.

Anonymous said...

What goes around comes around....