Top employees regularly get poached
This is a common theme in India, where highly skill employees are a commodity that companies will die for — or poach for. One of the recent episodes of the television comedy “Outsourced” was based on the theme of poaching call center employees. Someone got laid off at the call center, and someone new needed to be hired. There was a line of two-hundred people, but only one was well qualified, and was hired immediately. This new employee was of Indian ancestry, but grew up in Texas and understood the American culture and American expressions well which made him a dream employee. Unfortunately the girlfriend of the manager of the call center also liked this new employee and offered him double the salary. The manager, Todd, who first hired this Texas raised dream call center employee decided to get even. Todd and his friend, a manager from American Hunter, found a way to get into his girlfriend’s office, find the resume and salary information for the new employee, and forwarded it to another fancy company who was in the same building. The fancy company who had very well trained workers who showed up in suits and had snooty attitudes quickly swallowed this new employee and got him in uniform immediately — a suit and a mobile phone which is permanently glued to his ear.
Outsourced is America’s most interesting and endearing television comedy, but the theme of poaching employees is a nightmare for Indian bosses. India’s economy is growing so fast, that employees are getting better and better offers by the day. Its common in places like Bangalore and Mumbai for employees to jump from company to company. If they have a job at one company in Koramangala at a particular salary, they might jump to another company in Whitefield because they have a nicer looking office, better benefits, or nicer females working there. If you heard the reasons why employees jump boat in this employees market, your jaw would drop.
It is expensive to interview, hire, and train new employees. If an employee is so bad they need to be fired, or jumps boat prematurely, this causes a huge loss to the boss. It makes more sense for the boss to think ahead. If you hire someone good, its like having a really good looking girlfriend. You will not be the only one who likes her, and your offer is not likely to be the best offer either. If the girl is not the loyal type, and girls these days rarely are, then she will quickly wander off with some guy who offers her more. It makes sense to pamper a good employee.
Get to know them? Sure! If you get to know a good employee, and develop a good personal relationship with them, they will feel happier in that environment and be more likley to stay. This is true with customers too. It pays to get to know your customers. Don’t spend all day with them, but a simple phone call makes all the difference. Give them some freedom. If your star employee needs to have a dental appointment during business hours, let them go! Just have them make up the hours some other time. As long as they are on schedule, let them work from home a day or two per week two. Find out what they like, and cater to them. It might take a bit of research, but its easier than hiring someone new which costs lakhs in lost productivity! Giving raises every three months makes sense too. Having regular evaluations costs money, but is cheaper than losing employees to poachers. Or, giving employees an incentive plan giving them a percentage of their output. If the market is growing fast, their percentage will grow fast too.
Caring for your star employees will reduce poaching by leaps and bounds. People today are obsessed with numbers and overworking. This is important. But, caring about relationships is even more important. Business is based on relationships. People will spend money on a service provider they know and trust. Nobody wants to do business with a stranger in any country. People want to leave business relationships where the personal relationship is not good. Emotions speak louder than rupees.
The authoritarian culture. India and Arab countries have a very authoritarian culture. Bosses often like to treat their employees as lesser and employees traditionally have to bow down to their employers. As an American, I think that class and position is overemphasized in India. It seems like it would be more helpful if less emphasis was put on position, and bosses treated their star employees with the same care they might a family member. I am by no means suggesting that the boss let the employee run all over them, but a caring attitude without compromising authority seems like a super idea to me!