As an employer how can I prevent my employee’s being poached by a rival employer?

Poaching by a rival employer

Often a rival employer will seek to poach the talent from another employer so as to maximize the potential profit which can be made by his company. In some cases this will be in relation to one high executive employee but in other circumstances it can result in whole teams being poached.

Problem since the economic downturn

Before the financial problems faced by the economic downturn businesses may have tried to compete against each other for potential client contracts simply by buying these contracts and outbidding their potential competitors. However, since the economic downturn and the various financial problems associated with this many businesses are resorting to cheaper and more underhand tactics to secure this business.

One way of doing this is by not only poaching one member of a rival employer’s team but poaching the whole team.

Client deals directly with a specific team

Often a specific client will be assigned to a specific team meaning that the client is used to dealing with the same people and if that team is making money will be extremely happy in dealing with those people. If this is to be the case the client will prefer dealing with that team rather than the company as a whole meaning that if the entire team was poached from one company it is likely that the client would go with the team rather than staying with the original company.

Are there any available legal remedies in order to stop this happening?

If an employee has adhered to the notice provisions contained within their standard employment contract then their resigning from the company will not have breached the contract and they are free to move to a competitor. This will be the case even if it is a whole team of employees leaving.

If an employee breaches the contract when leaving there could be a potential claim against the rival company in inducing that employee to breach their contract. This however would be difficult as it is likely that the employee will not breach their contract.

It has also been claimed that the rival company was poaching the employees to obtain valuable confidential information from that company. This again may be difficult to prove if there has been no breach of their original contract.

As an employer is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening?

The key things which an employer should do to minimise the risk of an entire team of employees jumping ship are as follows:

  • Structuring all employment contracts in a way that anticipates a team move – try and put provisions in this to prevent it happening

  • Ensure that your customers or clients are not just looked after by a small group of individuals – vary the individuals which a specific client deals with

  • Responding with a clear and concise strategy to a threatened team move

Unlock this article now!


For more information on:

  • Employment Contracts
  • Varying the individuals dealing with a specific client
  • Respond with a strategy to the threatened move