The recent CIPD People Management article ‘Who’s After Your Staff?‘(September 2014) suggests that poaching is an increasingly worrying trend in some sectors. As training and development budgets have been slashed, the poaching of staff has become an increasingly attractive proposition. With the departure of any high value employee there’s a lot to think about:
• Loss of intellectual property.
• The employee takes their valuable network of contacts with them.
• Loss of their expert contribution to the organisation.
• Potential for post departure legal action.
• Damage to your company’s reputation if the split is acrimonious (e.g. social media).
If a high value employee is poached and you can’t stop them leaving, how do you protect your organisation from potential loss and expensive legal fees, particularly where contractual Restrictive Covenants are lacking or obsolete?
Generally only considered in order to maintain the employment relationship, mediation can also be used at its end, to find agreement on the conditions under which an employee leaves the organisation. Mediation is especially effective if the split is acrimonious or where the employee has commercially sensitive or valuable information that your organisation wants to protect. In the article, Kevin Green – chair of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, states that when poaching occurs ‘Ninety percent of cases you solve amicably, because you want people to leave on good terms so you don’t end up in a legal situation, or get a reputation as a troublesome employer.’ For the remaining ten per cent, especially where the risk of loss is substantial, we think there’s a strong case for mediation. And, given the chance to voice their concerns and dissatisfaction, the employee might even reconsider their decision to leave.

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