#Asia Is swiping competitors’ employees a good strategy?

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Sometimes culture is more important than cash

Office

Tired of working for your employer and making money for the company? Think you know what makes the business successful? Maybe it’s time to try your hand at running your own business. After all, why should your boss make all of the money and you do all of the work, right?

As market conditions continue to improve and business opportunities increase, the lure of being one’s own boss and venturing into business grows exponentially. This increase in market activity also creates competitive pressures on existing firms to either grow or risk being rubbed out by new entrants in the market.

Startups and existing firms may begin to look around at their competition — and particularly at the staff of their competition. Who at these competitive firms is contributing to the success of the competitor? Some might consider the possibility of luring away key members of their competitor’s staff. The chance of bringing on someone who was successful at a competitor’s business has some perceived benefits. Business owners may be tempted to believe that if they attract a top performer from their competitor to their firm, then success is almost assured. Or they may theorize that if they can take away their competitor’s key players, they can do damage to that competitor and then overtake them.

But there are pitfalls to this approach. Scuttling a competitor’s business by taking key employees and expecting the ad hoc result of success overlooks the enormous contribution of culture to an employee’s success.

When founding a company or providing leadership to an existing firm, business leaders are responsible for creating an environment or culture that creates the greatest chance for success for the company’s employees.

Here are three recommendations regarding culture when starting or leading a company:

Create your own culture

Culture cannot be copied; it must be developed. It is a unique aspect of a company and is the result of many combined factors. Drawing in employees from competitors with the assumption that it will automatically create a carbon copy of the competitor’s culture will put the firm at risk.

Culture is a combination of multiple factors, including all of the personalities of different members of the team, the founding mission and vision of the company, the core values of the founder, and the sequence of experiences that have impacted that company. These cannot be duplicated.

Consider culture as a factor for hiring

Employees are a product of their unique history with their current employer, their professional history before their current employer and who they are on a personal level. Their response to their surroundings and the culture of the company that they work for contributes to their successes.

Employers should consider culture when evaluating a prospect that they are aggressively courting. Making the assumption that a prospective employee will be successful at their company based solely on the success that the employee had at their prior employer, without first considering whether the employee is a good cultural match, can lead to disaster.

Be purposeful in culture development

Culture is something that must be designed and implemented with purpose. A leader or founder must consciously decide what type of company they want to create, operate and lead. This cannot be something that is left to chance or assume it will occur by default.

Culture development for business is similar to culture development in a family. Decide what you want your business to become and represent. Be purposeful in developing culture so that the culture helps direct the activities of the business and its employees.

Cash is important. It’s known as the life-blood of a company. Without cash, the daily demands on the business cannot be met. But a healthy, vital body requires a heart to circulate blood. And as a heart is to the body, culture is to a company.

The author, Christophor Jurin, is the Founder and CEO of Construct-Ed, Inc., an e-learning technology startup that has been established with the primary goal of empowering members of the construction industry through training and learning opportunities.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organisation comprising the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship programme that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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