20 months ago i resigned from my previous employer. While i did not have the advantage of having listened to MT back then, I think i did reasonably well transitioning my exit. Having listened to 2 of 3 casts on Resigning, I'm pleased to see a structured approach to doing it effectively. Also allows me to think back to the first time I had to resign and consider what I could have done better or neglected to do. Should be beneficial the next time the need arises. Also, not my main question but i noticed that these casts were shorter in comparison to some previous ones. Unless the next cast is more than 30 minutes, this could have been 2 parts of 40 minutes each. Not complaining, but just curious. I like the bite size chunks as they work well for my daily commute. Great cast on this topic so far! Thank you!

Thinking back to when I resigned almost 2 years ago, I made a decision then to not drag any talent along with me for a set time period to my new employer, although the temptation was there. After all, you've invested a lot of time mentoring and guiding people and building a team around you, it would be so convenient to just take them along. 3 months became 6 and eventually it ended up that the first career shift related conversations I had with my old directs and other peers/colleagues started happening without provocation around 12 months after I left. there were times in between that I discouraged or avoided the subject.

I think it's a valid fear for any employer/organization that managers will leave and drag along talent with them as I'm sure it happens all the time. [u]In your experience (and the question goes out to all) what have you seen work well in the past.
To give a little background, i work in the BPO industry, primarily call centers, in the Philippines. At the time of my resignation, the industry was at the peak of 4 years of tremendous growth (10,000 call center seats to 80,000 by end of 2004) and as a result was experiencing a drought in management talent. My decision was primarily out of respect for my previous employer (and I have an interest in ensuring that they continue to be successful).

Mark's picture
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Are you asking what works well for ORGS to KEEP employees, or what works well for MANAGERS to RECRUIT?


dbeene's picture

I don't know if this is what stroker intended, but . . . .

I think my question here would be what are some ethical guidelines on how to balance (1) the desire to bring some known talent along with you and (2) the good will toward that previous employer to leave some talent there?

This might be even more of an ethical dilemma if you had created a succession plan around some of your best people . . . if they were your best people, they're probably the same people that you'd recommend succeed you on an interim basis AND probably the same people that you might desire to have with you in your new situation.

I think time is probably the best guide here -- time for you to adjust to your new role and understand exactly what the needs are and time for your previous employer to stabilize their new situation without you.

I'm curious what others think.......

Mark's picture
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Just one thought before we get more clarification on what the issue is...

If someone leaves your old company (whether you recruit them or not), that's THEIR decision. They are professionals, and have to make up their own minds. I could go on (and on) about this, and it's not my total perspective...but for now, let's not suggest that you can ever "steal" anyone away from anywhere. There's a marketplace for talent, and competition is good for everyone.


stroker's picture

My apologies. Looking back now I see where my initial post was not very clear.

dbeene clarifies it perfectly... to add colour to the brief background i shared, because the BPO industry has grown so fast, many of my peers and direct reports from 2-3 years ago are now well placed in the top 10 BPO companies. It really is a small world that I operate in. Consider that within a 50 km. radius, there would be at least 30-40 BPOs and most of the top 5 companies will have multiple facilities with consolidated employee counts of 3000-4000 each.

From a cultural standpoint, if you are a half decent manager, your directs will have an immediate knee jerk reaction of asking "where are you going? and can you take us along?" when they find out that you are leaving.

I absolutely agree that it is THEIR decision totally but given the small BPO circle that I am in, this can easily be ignored or dismissed for a more convenient conclusion of "he's resigned and he's taking some of our people with him".

I guess I answer my own question here that it depends on what the situation is. In other circumstances where the move is out of state, it will be more difficult for people to follow suit. In other cultures, the more immediate reaction might be "i'm sticking around, and now there's a gap to fill above me".

I will say that the market for talented managers is pretty slim where I am and as a leader in my new organization that is likewise growing fast (400 in 2004 to 3000 in 2006 mid year), it's becoming more and more convenient to start tapping on old peers and direct reports that I know to have the right skill sets and capabilities for positions i need filled.

us460's picture

How about the other way around? When I have left previous employers I have deliberately discouraged my directs or others that I work with to follow me. Usually this is done by pointing out the risks of moving and that until I left they were perfectly (okay, probably reasonably) happy and that the person that replaces me is likely to be as good, probably even better than I so they should stay put and see what happens - could even be an opportunity for them.

But then you get the call 3/6 months later: "hi, how's it going, you hiring?".

I'm asking about the situation where my previous employer still wants/needs this person. Not a laid off or fired situation.

In a millisecond I know that this person could solve this or that problem that's been dogging me and would fit into the team perfectly. This person has the range of hard and soft skills I'm missing and would be very useful in helping me shape my new organization to where I think that it needs to be. But I also know that this person is critical to my previous organization and I still know and respect people there and wish them no harm.

What's a professional period of time to wait before (a) asking a coaching/mentoring style "why?", or (b) saying "yes"? Both responses end up taking the first small/large step down the road of hiring that person away from my previous employer.

Are there any other responses I should consider?

US41's picture

If you work for a big company where the people you are recruiting will not be missed by the supervisor you left behind or someone you have a strong relationship with, I'd say poach away.

I'd think the primary concern is the relationship you have with those you leave behind as you strategically consider whether or not you might need to return there one day.

So, it probably is a question of risk assessment.

mjpeterson's picture

When your former direct come to you I think all rules even unwritten rules are off. First it isn't poaching if they come to you. The new manager may not be working out for your direct and they already realize that. They may also see that their posibilties for advancement are not as bright, or the companies future is not as bright. If they are planning on leaving why not have them come to work for you instead of going someplace else where they may love it and not consider leaving again.

I recently turned down an attempt to by my old mentor to take me to his new company. It has been about two years. The timing is not right for me, but I may easily take him up on the offer in another year or so. Actually Manager Tools is probably one of the reasons I am staying. I have implemented a number of things in the last 3 months and want to see them through for a longer period before I would consider leaving.

Mark's picture
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My sense of this thread is that there is a lot of misunderstanding of the talent market.

It would take me days to write a long enough post to address it, so I'll see what I can do about the podcast schedule. Unfortunately, NO PROMISES. This is a delicate subject with clients who see me as knowing where all the good people are. They don't like me talking about folks moving around.


bflynn's picture

[quote="us460"]What's a professional period of time to wait before (a) asking a coaching/mentoring style "why?", or (b) saying "yes"? Both responses end up taking the first small/large step down the road of hiring that person away from my previous employer.

Are there any other responses I should consider?[/quote]

A professional period of time is about 5 minutes, barring other considerations, such as no-hiring/non-compete clauses in contracts (yours or theirs). Any longer is personal, which by definition is UN-professional. It isn't unethical to hire someone from your previous company. Competition for good people is a law of nature. Hiring someone that you used to work with is a normal consequence of that law. One big barrier to hiring someone is getting a good understanding of how good you think they are. In an interview, you don't know how much true person you're getting and how much show you're getting. With someone you've worked with before, you're already past that. You have the opportunity to make a high confidence hire, do it!

Forget about it as a manager. As a worker and a person, you owe no loyalty to a company you used to work for, especially one you worked for 6 months ago. There could be legal restrictions on your actions, such as NDAs or security concerns that mean certain topics are not to be discussed. There could be personal reasons, such as being in a small industry where you might want to go back to that company someday. But, the previous company is part of your past. You no longer have a fiduciary responsibility to their results anymore. What you're experiencing is an echo of your past feelings, from a time when you cared a great deal about their results. And, today that echo is impacting your current responsibilities.

If the person is asking, there's a reason why. They could be tired of the old place too or they might be following you, especially if you're a good manager. If they're willing to leave and their current employer doesn't know or do something about it, why should you?

This person would solve your problem? Why would you not want your problem to be solved?! Have lunch, talk about the old job (so you know why they're leaving) and then move forward as if they were a new recruit that you know a lot about.


Mark's picture
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Brian's right, though I thought he was going to say five MILLISECONDS. :wink: And I certainly wouldn't ask why first. I'd say, let's talk.

Six months later? This is not an issue.


suedavis's picture
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One more question: did you sign some sort of non-solicitation agreement at your old company? (You did read any employment agreement that you signed carefully, yes?) It's more common in some industries (software) than others.

WillDuke's picture
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I think Brian laid that out pretty clearly. As several people pointed out if that person is seeking you out they're going to look elsewhere too. Why pass on a good thing?

avickers's picture
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I changed jobs 2 years ago. My new company is 100 miles away from my old one. I didn't even try to bring people with me as the commute would have turned most people off anyway.

About a year ago, my new company opened up an office a stone's throw from my old company. I started recruiting from my old team. So far, 5 of them have joined the new company (as well as plenty of other folks).

As all of this was going on, I started to get concerned about "burning bridges" with my old boss, so I invited him out for dinner to talk about the hirings. He was very practical about it. He saw the flow of staff from his company to my company as a sign that he was not doing enough to retain staff. It was a problem on his side and he did not have a problem with me trying to recruit good people.

I was quite impressed with his point of view. He wanted to solve his problem (losing staff) by getting better, rather than by blaming others (me). We remain on good terms.

WillDuke's picture
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Wow, that is a surprising story. I thought you were going to say he asked to come over as well! My second thought would be that he tried to hire you back. Very interesting.

sklosky's picture

I have an interesting observation.

Many professionals work for more than one organization.


skwanch's picture

[quote]I was quite impressed with his point of view. He wanted to solve his problem (losing staff) by getting better, rather than by blaming others (me). We remain on good terms.[/quote]

And, as a professional, he probably doesn't want to burn bridges w/ you, and may be looking to make a move himself, or at least remain open to the oppty.

Mark's picture
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Well done.


It's not that rare.