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What To Do if Your Competitor Is Stealing Your Employees

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By Vicky Monroe

Business Basics

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Competitor Is Stealing Your Employees

Unfortunately, competitors stealing employees is a common problem in the business world. Up to 30% of newly hired workers may have been poached from another company. Competitors might try to gain an edge over your business by recruiting your most talented workers. But you can fight back by putting NDAs in place and taking steps to ensure your best workers are happy at your company. Here’s some advice on what to do if a competitor is stealing your employees to minimize the damage to your business.

What Should You Do If a Competitor Is Stealing Your Employees?

Use NDAs to Protect Proprietary Company Knowledge

A nondisclosure agreement is a contract that forbids your employees from sharing proprietary knowledge (such as your company’s marketing plan or client list) with people outside your organization. An NDA is usually enforceable while an employee is working for you and for a period of time afterwards. So if a competitor is stealing your employees, it’s a good idea to get your workers to sign NDAs. Doing this will prevent former employees who have been poached by a competitor from handing over your company’s secrets to their new employer.

Another legal document you can ask new hires to sign is a noncompete agreement. It prevents employees from working for direct competitors for a certain period of time after they leave your company. However, noncompete agreements are controversial because they can limit a worker’s ability to make a living. They can also be hard to enforce and aren’t recognized at all in certain states.

Noncompetes are also unpopular with workers and can make it harder to attract top talent. So you may be better off sticking to nondisclosure agreements and finding other ways to retain high-performing employees.

Make Sure Your Best Employees Are Happy

Another way to keep your best workers around is to make sure they’re happy. Schedule a meeting once every few months with your top-performing employees. Ask them what you can do to improve their working experience. Find out if they want more opportunities for advancement or work from home privileges. Do your best to accommodate their requests within reason. After all, employees who are doing great work for your company deserve to be rewarded.

Provide Top Employees With a Counteroffer

If one of your top performers has an employment offer from another company, it may be worth making a counteroffer. Some experts say you shouldn’t give an employee who’s thinking about quitting a raise. Their reasoning is you shouldn’t pay a premium to retain an unhappy employee.

However, not all workers who are thinking about leaving their current companies are dissatisfied with their jobs. Because inflation is so high, many workers are being forced to job hop for better pay. The standard 3% annual raise companies usually give their employees probably won’t cut it this year because inflation is over 8%. If you aren’t giving your workers an 8.5% raise to match inflation, you’re essentially asking them to take a pay cut.

Even if your employees love their jobs, they won’t be able to stick around if their budgets are being squeezed by inflation. To retain your best workers in this tight labor market, you may need to make room in your budget for larger raises. Instead of waiting for top employees to come to you with a better offer in hand, consider increasing their pay before they ask.

Wrapping Up

Has a competitor ever tried to steal your employees? What do you do to keep your best employees happy so they aren’t tempted to jump ship? Share your insights in the comments section below!

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