пятница, 22 июля 2011 г.

Is it worth to buy a star employee by luring them away from your competitor? - an article by Helen Edwards

Here is the translation of the article by Helen Edwards, SKOLKOVO Library Project Manager, published on Slon.ru. The original text in Russian is available here.

Is it worth to buy a star employee by luring them away from your competitor? 
Though showing outstanding performance in their company, the genius employee may fade if shifting to the competitor.

Should you buy a talented employee by luring them away from your competitor? The employee themselves in most cases will be sure that their talent belongs to them and they can bring it to any company. Why not? Their success is fully their achievement, being a result of their knowledge and persistence. Well, some research show the contrary.

First of all, people’s success depends not only on their state of mind, but also on the way others – colleagues and bosses – treat it. This fact is proved by the experiment by Stanford scientists: the students of a computer class were divided in two groups. In the beginning of the class one group was told that the only thing that matters is the personal nature talents (in other words, they pictured a boss who doesn’t believe in the employees’ potential: “You are worthless anyway”). Another group was told that the only thing that matters for the goal achievement is practice. As a result, facing difficulties the first group students gave up much quicker than the second group ones: they thought they hadn’t enough nature talents for overcoming those difficulties.

In his book, Chasing Stars, Boris Groysberg is examining the careers of more than a thousand star analysts at Wall Street investment banks, who have changed their work place. Those people being definitely the people of intellectual labour, have their knowledge and experience, as well as their contact lists, staying with them in another bank. But Groysberg comes to a striking conclusion: the majority of those stars who changed banks suffer an immediate and lasting decline in performance, compared to those who stayed. And even in five years those stars were not able to repeat their own records. Groysberg considers that these results prove the only one thing: employees’ performance appears to depend heavily on their firms' general and proprietary resources, organizational cultures, networks, and colleagues. Loosing this connection with their colleagues and bosses, and the whole system and environment, people often loose themselves.

Similar research was held with the surgeons: only those who stayed in the same hospital for a long time showed constantly high performance results.

It turns out that the heading for the winners that is chosen by some corporations who buy stars by luring them away from other companies, appears to be not that advantageous. It is often that the employers overpay for the start that don’t shine for them.

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