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Have you ever had an employee submit their resignation at an integral moment for the company, only to find out they have taken on a role at one of your competitors?

In today’s very tight job market, businesses must do all they can to keep hold of their existing staff, especially those who possess highly sought after skills and experience. Businesses are constantly on the hunt for new talent, which does not only make the recruitment process difficult, but also makes it harder to ward off interest in your employees from competing companies.

Corinthia Caterers Chief Operating Officer (COO) Edmond Bonett shed light on this issue on Saturday, questioning whether staff poaching is really as unethical as commonly perceived.

Edmond Bonett - Facebook
Corinthia Caterers COO Edmond Bonett / Facebook

He noted that whether directly or indirectly, and whether one is proud of it or not, most business leaders have been on “either side” of the staff poaching phenomenon at least once during their professional lives, and some “more often than others”.

“Is it really so unethical and incorrect as some of us pan it out to be though? Why? Isn’t everyone free to decide what they want for themselves and when they want it?” he asked.

Mr Bonett said that the initial reactions to having a member of one’s staff taken away by a competitors are usually “fuelled by sentiments of disappointment, frustration, and even anger amongst possible others”. However, he pointed out that this could be of an inability to see “the bigger picture” and not questioning or challenging one’s own company culture and accepting reality.

“What we possibly should be looking at and evaluating in a situation of the sort could well be ourselves, what we stand for, and what we represent,” he continued.

Business leaders need to avoid focusing on non-complete clauses or agreements and lengthy and extensive notice periods, and instead base their strategies on “potentially more determining factors”.

These include flexible working patterns when possible, fair wages, affirmation, being available, communication, proactive approaches, encouraging collaboration and involvement, promoting initiatives, and also creating a career path for those who seek it.

“In the end, there could or should really be nothing else for you to do apart from to thank that team member for what they have done within your organisation or set-up and wish them well for their next venture, irrelevant of where, direct competitor or not. After all, they must have done quite well within that period of time to have been specifically handpicked for a particular job or challenge elsewhere,” Mr Bonett explained.

He added that business leaders must “never overlook the opportunity a change can bring along with it”. Choosing to take “hasty and impulsive” decisions tend to lead to wrong ones. As a result, business leaders need to take a step back, evaluate, assess, use the valuable resources available to them, discuss, and only then can they be in a position to “take an informed decision on the best way forward”.

“Whether we like it or partake in it or not, the truth of the matter is that it is what it is and ultimately, it’s how we deal with it which makes all the difference,” he concluded.

Mr Bonett is a seasoned hospitality and catering industry professional, having had a number of experiences at various local and international hotels and restaurants. Earlier this year, he left his position as Group General Manager at Manouche Craft Bakery & Bistro to join Corinthia Caterers as COO.

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