Developing a Learning Culture

This is How Yelp Uses L&D to Stop Employee Poaching

Anyone who works in HR or L&D management can tell you how heartbreaking it is to onboard, train, and see an employee succeed—only to have them poached by another company. But why do some companies seemingly hemorrhage employees while others engender incredible loyalty?

Just ask Yelp, a company that understands that the best defense is a good offense. There, employee success and satisfaction revolve almost exclusively around the company’s learning and development program. Understanding how they increase employee satisfaction sheds some light on how they keep the best of the best playing for their team.

If you want to get started on L&D program for your company, tell us more here.

No Poaching Allowed

To make your company a poach-free zone, you’re going to have to do more than an order in lunch a few times a month. Keeping employees loyal is a combination of the following factors:

  • Overall company culture
  • Leadership development opportunities
  • Skill maintenance
  • Employee engagement
  • Creative opportunities

The good news is that a strong L&D program can address all of these factors to keep employees satisfied and more willing to stay loyal, even in the face of other attractive offers and aggressive companies looking to steal them away.

Yelp’s Secret Formula

James Balagot, Head of L&D at Yelp has created an extremely effective formula to onboard new hires and then protect Yelp’s investment by defending against would-be poachers. It looks something like this:

Mentoring Opportunities: Yelp employees have the opportunity to learn from the best. The company’s executives actively work with them to increase their chances for success with the organization.

Optional Participation: Instead of making L&D mandatory, Yelp goes for a softer approach by making participation optional, but also making it clear that those who participate enjoy opportunities for greater success.

Manager Buy-in: Yelp makes it clear to managers that L&D is one of their top priorities so they’re keenly aware of training programs and development opportunities for employees.

Daily Opportunities: Learning isn’t a one-time event with Yelp. Instead, L&D opportunities happen daily so that improvement becomes an integral part of the company culture.

Regular Surveys: When Yelp wants to know what’s working and what’s not, the company goes straight to the source and surveys employees directly. That way, they’re able to get a better pulse on how employees really feel and whether or not they’re satisfied in their positions.

By thinking ahead and creating attractive learning opportunities, Yelp doesn’t wait around for its employees to be approached by other companies to then spring into action to try and persuade them to stay. Instead, a proactive approach to L&D keeps employees so engaged and satisfied that they’re unlikely to even consider a change to another company. That type of loyalty is built on a foundation of opportunity, respect, and engagement.

Losing your best and brightest to poachers doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of doing business. When your employees feel like you respect them enough to create paths for success, they’re more likely to decline when headhunters look their way. Keep your offense strong and your employees will run defense for you.