The Noncompetes Ban isn’t a Bad Thing…

Noncompetes. Oh, just saying that word makes me shutter. In the last 20 years I’ve been in radio, everywhere I worked had some sort of noncompete. I didn’t think twice about signing them either because that was the norm. For the newbs, as my son says, a noncompete clause usually states you cannot quit the company you work for, currently, and go to another radio company within a certain radius and within a specific amount of time. A few of mine stated I was unable to quit then go across the street and work for our competitor within the following 12 months. This was to ensure the owners didn’t lose great talent to another station because they were offered more money, or whatever the case my be.

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission announced a ban on noncompetes.  Why? FTC chair, Lina Kahn, stated, “Noncompete clauses keep wages low, suppress new ideas, and rob the American economy of dynamism, including from the more than 8,500 new startups that would be created a year once noncompetes are banned.” Any of us who have had to deal with this know the noncompetes really strong-armed us to a company that maybe didn’t treat us right, especially the women, who perhaps got paid half what their counterpart was paid. When trying to look for another avenue in radio, it was difficult because we were stuck.

Now, managers everywhere are shaking, thinking their staff is going to leave. Why? If you are treating your staff fairly, if your staff is happy, why would you worry about them leaving? IF they are not content, let them leave. Who wants disgruntled employees? Wouldn’t you want a team that’s satisfied and pleased to be in your building? This is an opportunity to ask your team how they’re doing, what can you do to make things better. Personally, I left my last radio gig due to the office environment. When I told management I was unhappy and why, they didn’t show interest in coming to a resolution, or even hear me out. I left…and this was after a group of others left for the same reason. If the powers that be had listened to the staff and really asked why so many were unsatisfied with the work environment, they could have held onto some great talent.

The banning of noncompetes isn’t a scary notion. It’s a great intro into having one on ones, not only about their airchecks or sales numbers, but about where their head is. Create an atmosphere where your staff feels comfortable coming to you with questions and suggestions. You don’t have to throw employee appreciation parties every month. Simply having a couple discussions, individually, can go a long way.

Long gone are the days of slamming the door and yelling to prove YOU are the one in charge. This doesn’t prove anything other than you are unwilling to be attentive and have a conversation.  Now, there are more opportunities for your staff to leave. Don’t allow your actions, or non actions, be the reason they take off for the group across the street.

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