Recruiting is a difficult task for many companies today. Recruiting mistakes are easy to make, and thanks to the demand for workers with digital skill sets, competition for talent is fierce.

That competition isn’t only making it harder for companies to find and recruit the employees they need to grow their businesses, it’s also increasing one of the things that keeps many CEOs awake at night: employee poaching.

While there’s no way to keep your most valuable employees from being lured to greener pastures, the good news for companies is that they can increase the odds that their employees will resist poaching attempts. Here are five ways.

1. Avoid a “hear no evil, see no evil” mentality

While there are a number of reasons your employees might be receptive to other job offers, one of the biggest is one that’s easy to brush aside: some of your employees may have a less-than-ideal level of job satisfaction. When this is the case, there’s a good chance you know it because the signs, although subtle in and of themselves, usually become noticeable over time.

Unfortunately, it’s often easier to ignore the elephant in the room than to confront it head on which can be a fatal mistake as unhappy employees are prime poaching targets.

2. Be careful about what you promise

How you sell new hires on your company can significantly influence whether they become vulnerable to poachers. For instance, if you insinuate that the stock options you’re granting will lead to riches in the near future, you had better hope that you’re right. If your promises don’t materialize as you suggested they would, your disillusioned employees will be far more likely to consider other employment opportunities.

3. Reward bad behavior at your own peril

In today’s talent wars, it’s tempting to fight tooth and nail to keep employees from leaving. In some cases, when faced with an employee who has received a job offer from another firm, companies will respond with an even better offer of their own. While this is tempting approach (if you can afford it), and it may even be sensible with some key employees, it can set a bad precedent that encourages other employees to seek out offers of their own with the assumption that they can use them to negotiate higher compensation.

4. Treat employee relationships like marriage

Ask anyone married for many years and chances are they’ll tell you: finding The One and getting married is relatively easy compared to keeping a marriage going strong. The same is true for employer-employee relationships, many of which fail because both parties become complacent and take the other for granted.

Don’t allow that to happen: make the effort to remind your employees that you care and the chances they’ll seek love from a new company will decrease dramatically.

5. Don’t hire job-hoppers

In many digital industries, career employees are hard to come by. And that’s okay. But when hiring, it’s wise to cast a suspicious eye on prospects who have jumped from job to job. If a potential hire’s MO has been to stay with a company no more than a year or two, there’s no reason to expect that pattern will stop with you.

Image credit: fistful of talent