Wandering the vast wasteland of employers that were…

I find the concept of compete or non-compete agreements to be interesting. First off because a company thinks one employee can tip the scale so far against them that they have no chance. Plus the reality is they aren’t where they were so the specialized knowledge while interesting isn’t as viable as when they were with the first company.

In the end you have to balance what you are trying to protect against in the end creating a worse problem for yourself later. Personally there are reasons I left. Those reasons would almost guarantee that other than writing against those solutions from the previous company because I know what they are writing I wouldn’t consider the solutions an advantage.

The advantage any one company has is not the people they lose but the good people they are able to keep. If they keep good people than the good people that leave won’t have as much of an impact. If they don’t keep the good people, then they are going to struggle anyway.

What I find interesting is that companies often don’t fully understand the value of their people. That is often why they have to have non-competes. You don’t want your best people doubling their salary and moving to a new place.

So you create non-compete and OCI scenarios. In the end is that the right direction? Probably not, in fact let’s go all the way it isn’t. All you do in the end is create more tension.

Ask yourself why do people leave my organization. It is in the end a hard question. One that you have to ask yourself. There is a need to protect the IP of a company. The reality is however if you are worried about someone they probably impacted that IP in some way so no matter what you’ve already lost. If you go after them more then now you risk losing more.

I think it is a balancing act that many HR and Legal departments do well and some do poorly. It goes the same by the way for make the last review of a person low. If they someday decide to return they can’t because you created an artificially low review. Guaranteed that will annoy the former employee considerably.

A wise man once said to me “remember you may go back.” I think all HR, managers and legal professionals should act as if the person may someday return. If you poison the well with an artificial low review, or dump OCI and non-compete on the person they will in the end bear a grudge. It is after all only human. Ask yourself what are you trying to do.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow!