5 Signs Your Competitors Will Steal Your Best IT Workers

Michael Greco, a partner in the Employee Defection & Trade Secrets Practice Group at law firm Fisher & Phillips LLP, identified several warning signs that indicate your best IT employees may be ready to accept job offers from your competitors. Here are the top five.

To say that IT hiring is on the rise is to seriously understate some of the recruiting that's taking place inside the tech industry. Companies are not just looking to add one or two developers, project managers or data analysts to their staffs; some employers need to hire HUNDREDS of IT workers.  

LinkedIn is one such employer. The professional social network recently announced plans to hire 1,000 employees this year, according to Website FINS Technology. Forty percent of those spots need to be filled in LinkedIn's engineering and R&D departments. The company literally needs scores of data analysts, data mining experts and software developers with a variety of skills.  

Meanwhile, IT job search site Dice.com notes that analog chip manufacturers in Silicon Valley are looking for hardware engineers, and Microsoft needs WebOS developers to work on Windows Mobile.  

Where are LinkedIn, AMD, Atmel, Microsoft and others going to find all of these IT workers? They'll undoubtedly try to recruit the best and the brightest from their competitors. Indeed, a survey of staffing, recruiting and HR professionals conducted by Jobvite earlier this summer shows that 61 percent of companies that plan to hire over the next 12 months intend to recruit from competitors.  

Michael Greco, a partner in the Employee Defection & Trade Secrets Practice Group at law firm Fisher & Phillips LLP, identified on his blog seven signs that indicate a company risks losing its employees to competitors. Here are the top five. Are you at risk?  

1. Morale is in the toilet. Greco notes that savvy hiring managers and recruiters search social media sites for status updates from competitors employees that express interest in new career opportunities, and they actively engage those professionals in discussions about jobs. 

2. Your industry is in turmoil."Employees that are facing increased regulation, an onslaught of mergers or uncertainty about tomorrow's profitability are more apt to want to…find a more stable environment," writes Greco. "If your industry is in transition, don't leave your employees guessing about what's going on. Be open and honest. Employees who feel like they are being kept in the know feel more loyal to their companies and are less likely to bolt when turbulence is a foot."  

3. Managers and top executives are leaving.Greco notes that turnover at the executive level can cause a domino effect inside companies, leading to defections that cascade throughout the company. If employees see top managers leaving, they too may follow, he writes.   

4. Your competitors have set up shop in your backyard.If a competitor opens an office near one of your company's facilities, says Greco, you can bet they're going to shop for talent chez vous.  

5. Your company is not sharing its fortunes with employees. As the economy rebounds (albeit feebly) and corporations enjoy record profits, the employees who endured pay cuts or pay freezes during the recession are taking notice, says Greco. Employers that don't share their wealth with employees  will see their best employees walk out the door.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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