Dearest Vendor, Stay Away From My Talent!

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I'll never forget the day that our favorite IT guy (ever) came to me, and told me, the vendor we were working with, was trying to recruit him.

I think he wanted me to beg him to stay.

I didn't, but in hind-sight, maybe I should have.

I asked him what they were offering. I told him I really wanted him to stay, but I understood if he had to go see for himself if he'd like working there. I didn't want to him to ever feel like he'd missed out on an opportunity.

He went to the vendor.

I quietly hated that vendor.

I just couldn't believe the nerve of this company! We were their client, and they recruited one of our best and brightest. But as an employer, we have never made our employees sign any sort of non-compete. We figure, if we don't want them working here, we fire them. And if they don't want to work here anymore, we must be doing something wrong, so we should allow them to follow their hearts.

You see, that's what kind of company we are. We treat people like people.

We allow people (who leave on good terms) to come back to us again. One time. If you've left us, and you want back in, you can come back one more time. Because sometimes the grass isn't greener on the other side.

As for my favorite IT guy ever, the grass was dead. He wanted to come back home.

A year after he left, his position opened up again, and we brought back

him back to greener grass.

Here's where the story gets good…

The VENDOR that recruited him from us (remember, we were THEIR client), called us up and threatened to sue us for recruiting him from them!

Wait a freaking second here! You?! Want to sue us?! For taking the guy back that YOU originally took from us?! On what grounds?!

On NO grounds.

There was nothing in our contract about bringing him back to us, or even taking employees from them. So legally, we are cool, and we have no worries. However, if they DID have a contract with us that stated we couldn't recruit from their staff… would it even matter in this case?

I don't think so.

Why?

Because it's the principal of the whole thing.

When you take MY employee, and MY employee doesn't like YOUR workplace, and he wants to come back home, I AM GOING TO LET HIM! I don't give a s#*t what your contract says!

We no longer do business with this vendor. The relationship is beyond repair. The bridge hasn't just been burned, the bridge was burned to the ground, and then a tsunami came through and wiped out any proof that a bridge had ever existed.

Let this be a lesson to you, Vendors. I hope you've realized what pisses off your clients. DON'T POACH HELP FROM US! It's just bad business.

What do you think? Vendors, do you agree with me? HR Peeps, have you ever had this happen to you?

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FOT Background Check

Meredith Soleau
Meredith Soleau was supposed to be a famous country singer, but her parents made her go to college and major in something “real.” She graduated with a B.S. in Business from the University of Toledo, and landed a gig as a Human Resources Director at a large car dealership in Ohio. After eight years of HR at a car dealership, she burned out, decided to sell cars herself, and has since launched her agency, where she specializes in finding blue-collar workers. Clearly she has plenty of stories. But the best stories are probably about Meredith, herself. Read them on her personal blog, meredithsoleau.com, where she holds nothing back. Follow Meredith on Twitter. Become her friend on Facebook. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

5 Comments

  1. Ruth H says:

    I worked for a nationally known payroll company for about 15 years; back during the dot.com boom here in the Bay Area, our clients were stealing our payroll specialists left and right. Let’s face it, few people truly understand payroll, and no one likes doing it; so these geek-geniuses figured our talent was ripe for the picking. These individuals were trained in payroll and specifically understood their vendor’s processes, so they scored by offering better pay and whatnot (no strict dress codes, make your own schedule…). When that bubble burst, we had a line of former specialists on our doorstep; none of them were rehired. They were young and relatively inexperienced in the workplace, they completely incinerated their bridges when they left.

  2. Jack Gates says:

    I had a similar thing happen – the CPA firm hired my in-house accountant. She told me she was not looking but the owner of this small firm pursued her and she agreed to join the firm.
    I wished her well, and told her she was welcomed at my company if she wanted to return.

    I then called the owner of the CPA firm and said I had just heard he hired the accountant from my company – he stumbled a bit, said he planned to call to tell me personally, and said he hoped I’d understand, with tax season coming up, why she had given almost no notice.

    Ignoring his comment I told him I did not work with people I did not trust and secretly poaching my employee without the courtesy of speaking with me in advance was not a trustworthy act – effectively immediately we would no longer require the services of his firm. He actually asked me if I was kidding!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for being the awesomest HR person ever! I have to say that sometimes when people leave one place for another it does appear that the grass is slightly greener…though experience sometimes knocks you on your ass and teaches you that the Vendor’s grass is liberally fertilized with bull shit and tended by a fast talking crazy gardener.

  4. TM says:

    Maybe I see this differently…this happens in Government and Government Contracting…ALL THE TIME. It is not heard of for a retiring (or bored) Gov employee to jump ship and go work for the contractor. However it is also not heard of for the contractors to eventually go work for the Gov. So I guess, I don’t understand the thought process of people like Ruth H. If a person treats the company with respect and gives proper 2 (or more) weeks notice, I’ve wished them well and moved on. If by chance after a while they don’t like the vendor’s firm and they want to come back…guess what, if we have an opening and they were a rock star who left with respect to the agency, I’d take them in a NY minute.

    Seeing the return of an already trained former employee who knows the culture and how to navigate throughout the company is a win win in my eyes. This person won’t need a lot of onboarding just to get to functional. I understand different industries see employees leaving differently, but hey if they didn’t use our proprietary information against us, welcome back. I know we as HR put lots of effort into finding and hiring the right people…but we don’t OWN these people. Go out get more experience then bring your rock star self back…I love it.

  5. Chris Anfeldt says:

    We had that happen too. Except she was the Project Manager, and the vendor was a huge pain in the ass. Missed deadlines, delivered crap products and generally caused us headaches every day. We we’re beyond shocked when she turned in notice to go work for them. Now 8 months later and every singe day there is a new Facebook status about how miserable she is and impossible these people are to work for. I be sure to point out she knew they sucked and had first hand knowledge of how badly run the place is. She deserves to wollow in her misery.

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