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One of the things I've had the advantage of, growing up and being close to the top management of this company and other companies for most of my life, is seeing how CEOs start to believe in their own infallibility. And that really scares me.

Bill Ford

Employee Lift Out

Concept Briefing:

Employee Lift Out or Team Lift Out is an employment practice which entails hiring a high-performance team of people from the same company, usually a competitor. Because the group of people lifted out have worked well together, they can quickly come up to speed in a new environment. A more conventional strategy is to hire star performers individually, but it is often difficult for stars to work together effectively once they are separated from the conditions and resources that made them successful in previous environments. As a side benefit, lift outs often inflict financial and competitive damage on competititors.

There are risks to be awared of in carrying out a lift out. A poorly handled lift out can lead to loss of money, opportunity and credibility. There are cases where the lifted-out team later flees for still greener pastures with some of the company's original staff.

This strategy is employed as an alternative to merger and acquisition (M&A) when companies are looking to expand quickly into a new functional or geographic area. It is increasingly more widely adopted in professional service industries. Another area where lift outs are used is outsourcing. The outsourcee agrees to lift out all or most employees in the department in the outsourcer as part of the package to outsource certain fuctions.

On the other side of the coin, corporates can try to block lift outs by focusing on well-liked or charismatic team leaders which usually are the targets of lift outs. HR managers should ask individual team members to alert them whenever anyone on the team discusses a possible group move.

13 Feb 2007 18:57:48

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