Stealing Employees

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by JRAZ, Jun 4, 2005.

  1. JRAZ

    JRAZ LawnSite Member
    from NW
    Posts: 143

    I found out yesterday that an owner of another local landscape company tried to swindle my main foreman away from me. My foreman is definitely an ALL STAR! He has been with me for almost 3 years now, only missed one day of work in that time and can do pretty much anything and then some. I was pretty pissed when I found out about it and thought about calling the guy, but I got over it, I think. I still kinda want to call him up and say WTF!

    I don't do this practice. If I need a worker I try to find one through ads, temp agency or word of mouth.

    What do you all think of the practice of trying to steal your fellow scapers employees? Do you think I should call this guy and have a talk with him?
     
  2. pagefault

    pagefault LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 492

    Most managers want to hire people they know or hire people that people they know recommend. Does the other guy know your foreman or have an indirect connection?

    Hiring people away from other companies happens all the time in every industry. Many companies have non-compete agreements that the employees sign, but they are difficult to write in a way that makes them enforceable, because you can't deny someone the right to make a living.

    If your foreman is that good, make sure he knows that you know how good he is and make sure you take care of him. That means more than just salary. Give him time off whenever he needs it, give him bonuses, give him a path to advancement, etc. Competing with other employers for good employees is just like competing with other companies for good accounts. You need to set yourself apart from other companies any way you can.

    I once knew a guy who sent an employee to see a Broncos game in Denver. He was a sales guy and was always on the road, so the plane ticket, car rental and hotel room were probably free. Who knows, he may have even gotten the tickets from a customer. That employee was blown away and turned down several jobs for considerably more money over the years, just because of little things like that.

    When I worked with software developers, I would get them $25 gift certificates for Hastings, which is a music/book/movie/video game/software store in town. One of them told me once that the gift certificates were one of the best things the company did for them, because some thought went into them.

    You have to be creative. A class at the local university (here) costs a few hundred bucks. At the community college it is even less. You might give him a few hours off each week and pay his tuition for one class. Who knows, he might even study something that will help him to be a better employee.
     
  3. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    Exactly what pagefualt said. Take care of that intellectual capital before it walks out the door. Employees are easy to find, good employees hard to find, great employees nearly impossible to find. If you ran across someone at a BBQ or at Circle K and got to talking and the uy seemed to really be what you were looking for are you going to waste your time palcing an ad? Of course not.
     
  4. JRAZ

    JRAZ LawnSite Member
    from NW
    Posts: 143

    I take very good care of him. Very good. I already do what you guys listed as perks and then some. Thus, he did not leave. I just find this as a low down and dirty way to get employees. I look for great employees everywhere too! This was not a casual meeting or a coincidence of them meeting at the thrift store or anything like that. Do you guys find out who the good employees for other firms are and go after them? That is what this was. If it was a casual kind of thing through conversation after meeting somewhere, I can understand that. This was not. If my foreman was seeking another job then that is different story altogether.
     
  5. pagefault

    pagefault LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 492

    Yes. I have already identified 8 people that I want to hire when I start looking for employees. None of them work for my competition, but several of them do work for my last employer. What if your foreman was working for someone else, doing just as great a job and his employer was not taking care of him? You would feel bad for hiring him away from them? Not me.

    My wife has worked for the same attorney for 6 years. She gets job offers from other attorneys several times a year. Her boss knows. He doesn't care, because he treats her right. She's got no reason to go anywhere.
     
  6. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    Ok so the guy sen tout a talent scout. That happens a lot too. I've seen guys do it for workers but not crew cheifs. How did he discover how good your guy is? Did he observe his work or ask employees how they liked working for him? Driving up on a crew and trying to get them to change company is kind of like the old Teamster way of getting members. Really ballzy but not very bright, what would that guy have done if you drove up and saw that? One thing that really stands out is that your employee told you about it, a good sign of loyalty.
    I'd be pissed too but what can you really do? The guy is free to work for who he wants and you can't be around to watch the crew all the time. Your employee has already demonstrated loyalty and I would focus more on him and how well he handled it than worry about the jerk that pulled that stunt.
     
  7. Mo Green

    Mo Green LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,487

    unethical........yes

    unheard of ..........no

    Unfortunately it's just the nature of business. Sounds like you are doing a good job keeping him happy. Just keep doing what your doing.
     
  8. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    Sure call him up. Tell him that that guy is yours, and yours only. Tell him you found him, now he belongs to you, and if he wants a guy like him to find his own because this one is yours!!!!
     
  9. bsteponick

    bsteponick LawnSite Member
    Posts: 11



    Lawnman, you sure are a funny guy. Employees are not "property" of any company so therefore, he is not "yours". As once a great employee, I would quit on the spot if I found out that is how my boss thought of me.
     
  10. pagefault

    pagefault LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 492

    So much for sarcasm on the internet...
     

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