A few months back, FOT’s resident incentive and rewards guru, Paul Hebert, penned a great piece called ‘HR Plays Too Much Defense’. It was a great take on how, in many HR organizations, the default position of risk avoidance, protection, and even fear detracts from the function’s potential and ability to enact positive and relevant change in the enterprise. Click the link and take a few minutes to re-read the post. It’s cool, I can hang here while you digest Paul’s take.
Well, my recruiter friend replied, they are taking some pretty strong action. First, they made all of their sales reps make their LinkedIn profiles and connections private. They didn’t want their staff to be easily found and connected to by other recruiters, as well as their connections mined. Next, they had IT block all incoming email messages from the domains of their main competitors. They couldn’t have rival recruiters emailing their people directly, after all. And last, they took their partial social media blocking policy at work and extended it to more sites and networks. Sure, they still let folks, some folks, onto LinkedIn, but that is about it. Taking those few steps, in their opinion, would help in slowing down, if not stopping, the exodus of good people to their enemies.
Interesting, I replied. They had it all figured out. Once the rival recruiters saw their emails bouncing back from their mail server, surely they’d pretty much give up, right? And if all of a sudden, their LinkedIn search results for their people start coming up a bit less rich than before, well, I am sure they, of course, would just slink off, head down, cyber-defeated in a low-stakes, pathetic game of corporate jousting. And the full social media ban? I am sure none of their people actually use social media at home, or on their personal smartphones. Good thinking about the block, that will effectively erase them from the savvy sourcers out there.
In the American Old West, as the settlers moved further into Native American territory, they frequently were fearful for their safety from raiding parties of all sorts. They adopted a defensive tactic known as ‘Circling the Wagons’, which entailed arraying their covered wagons in a complete circle, and placing their prized possessions and people in the center. The idea being that by assuming this posture they could better see and ward off any attacks. Sometimes this strategy was successful, sometimes not so much.
But the thing is, today, if you try the modern version of circling the wagons around your talent, the rest of us can still see inside, and unlike in the old west, you can’t really do much to protect your possessions and people all that much. You can try and circle the wagons, cower in the middle, and hope your ‘enemies’ don’t find your valuables.
Or you can, as my friend Paul suggested, take the offense. It is up to you pardner. Giddy up!
Steve Boese is fondly known to many as the HR Technology blogger. By day, he is the Co-Chair of Human Resource Executive’s HR Technology Conference. He is also a former Director of Talent Management Strategy at Oracle and an HR Technology instructor. Steve can also be found hosting the HR Happy Hour Show and Podcast … you know, where a bunch of HR pros get together and call in to talk about HR stuff. Sounds like an SNL skit, we know. But when you have Dave Ulrich, the grandfather of HR as show guests, well, I guess you’re doing something right. Talk to Steve via email, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.