Hands Off, Talent Poachers

Anyone unfamiliar with the concept of talent poaching learned a lot about it earlier this year when court records from an antitrust case revealed that major Silicon Valley players made a secret pact not to recruit one another’s employees. Apple’s late Steve Jobs, Google’s Eric Schmidt, and executives from Intel and Adobe agreed not to look for new hires at each other’s firms, an agreement that likely suppressed wages for the company’s workers—hence the class-action lawsuit. A no-poaching agreement is illegal, but in a hyper-competitive industry like tech development and startups, one can almost understand the motivation behind the pact. Experts first gave the concept of talent poaching a name back in 1997. More largely known as the “war for talent,” the practice continues to grow because the number of younger workers entering the workforce doesn’t make up for the number of boomers leaving their fields. The practice is even more pronounced in highly professional fields. An American Society for Training and Development report predicts that by 2015, 60 percent of new jobs will require skills held by only 20 percent of the population. So how do employers fight talent poaching? You guessed it: incentive programs. Employers have to show top workers they matter if they hope to keep them around. The Incentive Research Foundation identified the talent crisis as one of this year’s top market trends affecting the incentives field. And the more individualized the incentive, the better. “Incentives are getting more personal every year, and planners have a challenge to impress everyone—or risk impressing no one,” writes contributor Monica Compton, CMP, in a story about the trend of personalized incentives. Talent poaching is very real, but organizations are once again recognizing the importance of incentive programs as a result. As planners, this can be a good thing—helping to bring light to the importance of what you do. Every little bit helps.   Find more career and incentive stories in the August/September 2014 issue of Collaborate.