Congratulations On Snagging That Key Talent. Now Watch Your Back

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Jan 23, 2020

Companies often make the critical mistake of believing that the recruiting process is over when the prized candidate appears at the office on the first day. They believe any possible pitfalls associated with the transition from recruit to a new employee are behind them.

Unfortunately, in believing this, they fail to appreciate that there’s more left in the hiring process that needs to happen. When a new, highly prized employee arrives, especially someone who is either high-level or who, for example, is joining an existing team, there are at least four audiences closely watching what’s happening:

1. The former company — The new hire’s previous employer is paying close attention to how aggressively the hiring company will act now that it has managed to pry away a prized employee. If the hire is a manager, will she reach back for subordinates and try to recruit away those people whom she knows are great at their jobs? If the former employee was a revenue producer, how quickly will customers or clients be contacted in order to convince them to switch their business? And what about the hire who knows where her former company is heading and wants the new employer to get out in front? Under the watchful eye of the former company, a very real decision must be made about the post-onboarding actions of the new employee. Put another way, the question of how aggressively to go public with a new hire will have a major impact on how the former company decides to act.

2. The new hire’s co-workers — Many employees in the new company are watching as well, and many are already unhappy. New hires cause consternation. The level of discomfort depends on the nature of the hire. Senior level onboarding generates a great deal of concern about everything from a new direction to layoffs and restructurings. After all, why else would a company bring in a heavy hitter if not to shake things up?

3. The new hire’s competitors for the position — Then there is the proverbial corner office, or promotion, that one or more people thought they deserved. Further agitation derives from the perception that the new person is getting more attention, or more support, than are those pre-existing people struggling mightily to achieve their goals. Company management must be sensitive to the notion that other employees are watching closely and that they’re already nervous and/or upset.

4. The recruiters for competing companies — Rest assured that competitors, or more specifically those who recruit for competitors, are getting ready to pounce on the hiring company’s “good fortune.” After almost 30 years of dealing directly and indirectly with thousands of employment transitions, I can say from personal experience that significant hires cause a material increase in heavily targeted recruitment efforts aimed at both the company that made the hire and the business that lost the employee. The types of negative emotions and corporate gyrations generated by a significant hire are not lost on anyone looking for any advantage in candidate headhunting. If the hiring company isn’t extremely sensitive to internal emotions, the best case scenario will be that employees will stay, but the firm is bombarded with incoming recruitment efforts and that, alone, creates significant business and morale issues.

All this means is that, when you celebrate the new hire — that required great effort in getting them from “Are you interested?” to “Welcome aboard” — pop the champagne in private.

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