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Loose Lips Sink Ships, or in Our Case, Companies: The Confidential Executive Search

Posted by Price, Lisa at Thursday, 12/20/2012 12:06 pm
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2.3 from 14 votes
When you are getting ready to make some changes to your team, whether replacing a current employee or hiring a new one, confidentiality is crucial. When performing an executive search, confidentiality is essential both to keep up team morale and to protect your firm from potential liability.

When an employee is underperforming, you often have 3 choices:
1. Put up with it (probably not the best business practice),
2. Try to fix the problem, or
3. Replace the individual.

If you have tried to encourage your employee to beef up their performance with little success, sometimes your only option is to replace them. Sometimes a confidential executive search for a replacement employee will have to occur while the problem employee is still employed with your organization to avoid disruptions.
Confidentiality is so important because if word gets out that your company is recruiting through an executive search it can have severe impacts on the rest of the team.

Even if a colleague is recognized as pulling down the rest of the team, not pulling their weight, a bad fit, etc., the fact that they are being let go can cause all kinds of issues if not handled properly. If your executive search is not kept confidential, your team morale may experience a significant drop as people inevitably begin to question the stability of their own jobs. This can lead to further troubles including potential turnover of other employees that you otherwise did not want to replace. By keeping your executive search classified, team members often won’t experience the distrust that accompanies the knowledge that one of their colleagues is being replaced, thus calling into question their own job security.

Not only will keeping your executive search confidential keep team morale up and help maintain job stability, it can also protect you from legal troubles that may arise if news of your executive search makes its way to the wrong ears. For example, if you have your eyes set on an employee of a company within your industry, any news of discussions between them and your business can become problematic – both for that person considering your offer and for your own company. Being sued for a breach can lead to major legal hassles that can easily be avoided if your executive search is kept confidential.

Also, don’t forget about the impact that negative feedback can have on your brand! If an executive search is not conducted in a confidential manner, the results could seriously impact your reputation and abilities as a company. Not all publicity is good publicity – no matter what those Hollywood publicists believe – and any negative exposure that your brand gets can impact your ability to perform. Keeping your executive search confidential will help you avoid bad publicity.

The best way to approach the replacement of a team member is through leveraging resources that can ensure that your executive search is truly confidential. Executive search firms who specialize in “confidential” executive search are your first line of defense.

Don’t let times of transition negatively impact your company.

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