Dear Motorola: Instead Of Suing Competitors, Maybe Figure Out Why Employees Are Leaving

from the blame-everyone-else dept

As a company, if things aren't going well, it's often difficult to accept that some of the blame may be on your end -- which makes it especially easy to lash out at competitors, assigning blame to them. This becomes troublesome when it starts to involve lawsuits. Just a couple months ago, we noted that Motorola was suing a former exec for jumping ship to Apple. And, now the company is suing RIM for getting a bunch of Motorola employees to leave Motorola and join RIM. To any outsider, it seems clear that Motorola has some problems that make it so employees are tempted to jump to other companies. But rather than focus on figuring out how to fix that, and make things such that employees want to stick around (making cooler phones might be a good place to start), it's lashing out at competitors who are more appealing to Motorola's own employees. In the meantime, Motorola might want to check out the research that shows the free flow of employees between competitors helps spread innovation across the entire market. In other words, stop suing people because your employees are leaving, and start figuring out ways to make employees want to work for you.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    AJ, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 4:54am

    Lack of innovation

    I remember back in the day when Motorola was the king of pagers... their first digital pager was released after the competition. It had four memory registers to store numbers. Well, make that four USABLE memory registers. On close examination, they actually had 16, but because the competition only had four, that's all they felt they needed to compete. Over the years, its been the same story again and again. They do not innovate, but copy. They do not lead, but follow. They do not excite their customers and apprently neither their employees. I really hate to see American companies go down, but maybe its time for Motorola to go the way of the buggy whip manufacturers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 4:56am

    Look at the HR . . . follow the money

    anyone know who Randy Johnson is (not the pitcher, the guy who used to be at Motorola . . . look it up . . . its HR)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 5:13am

    deja vu ?

    ... or, management could start throwing chairs and making threats.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 5:47am

    Competition? Nooooooooo......

    The key phrase is "...helps spread innovation across the entire market." The current operating principle in the current corporate world is to avoid and squelch all competition. The current mindset is to lock all competition for your own product and then set an high price on it. This, of course, probably dooms your product to failure or at very least limits its potential growth. There are very few businesses that can see beyond keeping it all for themselves.

    This has probably always been true, but market realities have always overcome the short sighted thinking. Now businesses have marvelous tools like business model patents and DCMA takedown notices that allow them to live in their fantasy world a bit longer than normal before reality bites them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Sean, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 5:53am

    I missed something...

    Since when is it a crime to "lure" employees away? I thought we called it, "Free Market"? Did I miss something?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Ja`z, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 6:05am

    Re: I missed something...

    Think it would probably have to do with what your contract states...
    Maybe they have it in there that you can't leave for a competitor.. Or that your soul belongs to Motorola..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 6:05am

    hahaha

    You see stuff like this at every level in companies. I worked in a office depot for a while for college money and I was lazy. The store manager was a complete jerk and no one worth a damn would stay there and they would just go to work at other retail stores in the general area. Even the managers below the store manager were doing this. Whenever we lost a good employee we either got a worthless employee or no one at all and was understaffed which just made the big boss be a bigger jerk. She also did things like reward bad employees if they actually did their job once in a blue moon and didn't do anything good for the employees that always did their job and sometimes beyond that. Some people get into positions of power for no good reason.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Robert Nobles, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 6:18am

    The Motorola Virus

    All the comments are definitely things to consider. But if it is the executives who are leaving how do these competitors know that they aren't actually taking on Motorola' s problem by taking on Motorola's executives ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    widepart, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 6:21am

    retaining top people

    At one time I worked for a company that was innovative, paid a little above market value for it's staff, and had the best customer service people and policies in our industry. Growth was phenomenal; too fast sometimes. Personnel stayed because working conditions and pay were better than anywhere else in the industry.........most who left wanted to come back in a matter of months.(not allowed)

    Building an environment like what we had was easy, not being obsessed with market share made our business model work and that very few even today have copied. Oh, we accomplished the market share we wanted without trying.

    From twelve to six hundred employees in four years at which we put on the growth breaks for the owner's benefit, for reasons we could not really understand but were obliged to do because he owned the company and didn't want it any larger. Today, the company still exists and runs as smoothly as ever from what I can see (I retired in 1990) it has grown but at a much slower pace and that was due to strict controls at upper managements requests. Many people who were just starting out there when I left are still there...I was from day one for 20 plus years.........I still miss the place.

    Do what you have to do to keep employees and management happy, treat them like royalty---treat customers as they should be treated....like royalty....and provide a service or product that goes beyond the your customers expect. Oh, provide services or products that are needed(first rule)!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Sierra Night Tide, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 6:56am

    contracts

    When you are offered a job...READ the contracts. There are contracts that say if you quite or you are fired you cannot work in that industry for one to three years. I was amazed when I saw this and have read every hiring paper since I did. I'll never sign them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    some old guy, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 6:57am

    Dear Mike: This is why

    This is why you are labeled as an internet optimist.

    You seem to think that all should play nice in the pool, even when the evidence shows that all are willing to piss in the water just to keep it for themselves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Sierra Night Tide, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 6:58am

    Re: The Motorola Virus

    You never do know. References, proof of success ect...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    James (profile), Sep 10th, 2008 @ 7:11am

    Re: contracts

    I sign them all the time. I live in Texas. I do not have to follow them because they are not legal in this state but it is standard boilerplate and makes HR feel good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Esahc (profile), Sep 10th, 2008 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: contracts

    Same with California.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 8:34am

    Re: Dear Mike: This is why

    "You seem to think that all should play nice in the pool, even when the evidence shows that all are willing to piss in the water just to keep it for themselves."


    Ahhh the classic Hobbes v Locke "state of nature" debate, reduced rather nicely to "peeing in a pool".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    TX IT Manager, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 8:56am

    Re: Contract

    @James: I've been the resource director for a consulting firm in TX, and I can guarantee that a non-compete is legally binding *if* it is properly written.

    Even though TX is a right to work state, the non-compete is binding as long as it includes reasonable limits on timeframe, location, and industry. And even if a judge finds that some part of the agreement isn't reasonable, the judge can alter just those portions of the contract. In other words, if the agreement says you can't go to work for another company for 3 years, and the judge says 6 months is reasonable, they can change it.

    IANAL, but I've been on both sides of this situation, and have received legal counsel on it.

    The bottom line as an employee looking to jump ship: make sure your new employer has agreed to bear all costs should your previous employer decide to sue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 9:06am

    Dear Mike,

    While I am sure that the freeflow of ideas is a good thing, the particular case you are looking at is a very valid law suit that Motorola will probably win. The person who left was very involved in Motorola's relationships with all the network operators and knew all the ins and outs of getting a phone approved by a operator. Lets just say AT&T in this case. That person is a very highly paid executive who also knows all of the phones coming down the pipe. When they leave to goto a competitor launching a new line of business they take all of their knowledge of both the process and products with them. What the executive did when they went to Apple was sell Mot's trade secrets for the price of his salary, stock options, and probably some ridiculous sign on bonus.

    This is not some engineer switching jobs. This is an executive making 200k+ a year who knows what the rules are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    lgmtrap, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 9:43am

    reply

    I want to make a couple of points. First there exists a confidentiallity agreement with in any company that prevents employees from divulging prioritized information. Second, that the company is not making "cool" phones is not the issue. the management team does not communicate either internally or departmentally, for the lethargize of a few disgruntled employees to want to leave.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Sep 10th, 2008 @ 10:28am

    Re:

    The person who left was very involved in Motorola's relationships with all the network operators and knew all the ins and outs of getting a phone approved by a operator.

    That doesn't exactly seem like trade secret info. That sounds like a job skill. Why should he be prevented from earning a living at any other company?

    That person is a very highly paid executive who also knows all of the phones coming down the pipe.

    Look at the iPhone. Look at Motorola's phones. I don't think Apple is learning anything from Motorola here.

    In the meantime, based on your logic, no high level exec could ever leave a company. That seems ridiculous and bad for everyone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Fernando, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 12:23pm

    Looks like nobody here bothered to RTFA. Sean confused contract law with criminal law while Ja'z hypothesized a yellow-dog employment contract.

    The lawsuit is about a contract between Motorola and RIM, not between Motorola and an employee. When RIM started violating the contract that they signed, what else was Motorola supposed to do?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 2:28pm

    Re:

    Highly complex, yet extremely simple at the same time. Of course, when changes occur at the highest of rungs, the company identity typically changes. Goals that were once important are tossed to the wayside to make profit estimates of an outside analyst who seemingly has no inside interest as to the identity of the company (Let's say a Goldman Sachs Analyst)

    This sometimes leads to R&D budgets being slashed. If so, this can create a shock, which some don't know how to handle, so they may leave for better pastures which value and will harness this creative mind.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Mischa, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re: I missed something...

    In that case, they should be suing the employees who left, not the companies the employees moved to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 10th, 2008 @ 6:09pm

    Re:

    Fernando -> "The lawsuit is about a contract between Motorola and RIM, not between Motorola and an employee. When RIM started violating the contract that they signed, what else was Motorola supposed to do?"

    article -> "In the paperwork, Motorola says that RIM is violating a non-solicitation contract the two companies ..."

    So, these two companies conspired to create a black list ???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Marvin, Sep 11th, 2008 @ 4:00am

    Motorola - design over usability

    With Apple it's the other way round, as for Motorola, this is why they suck.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Another former Motorolan, Sep 11th, 2008 @ 8:44am

    Re: Look at the HR . . . follow the money

    Randy Johnson was a friend of mine. Totally good guy, In fact few nicer. What happened with him? Where is he?

    I left Motorola becuase it did not matter what you did, the new management style is "It is never good enough". In fact I was a highly decorated and awarded Motorolan. Which resulted in many merit raises over time. I was working from 6am to 11pm, a large part of my business was on conference calls to China. When I complained to my boss about working 6.5 days a week 16 hours a day(after taking time out to eat), that 6 hours of sleep a night was not enough. He seriously looked me in the eye and said, " What makes you think you need 6 hours of sleep a night?" Motorola does not respect itself, it's suppliers, or it's employees. That is the problem, Greed and self centeredness as a whole.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This