Billing itself as the place to manage your professional identity, LinkedIn offers the opportunity to connect with over 225 million professional members. But it also offers aggressive recruiters a rich hunting ground for poaching employees. And LinkedIn is chock-full of active job seekers and the oh-so-desired passive ones. So how do you make sure you retain top talent and protect your teams from being recruited away on LinkedIn? Here are some tips:

Show the Path

You can't really build a fence around your top talent. What you can do, is provide them a clear career path and keep them focused on how to get to the next step. Often times, our people don't know what they need to do to get to the next level and how to get there. Their managers should be able to set very clear goals and expectations to lead them in the right direction.

And as the boss, you've got to make sure you support these goals by promoting from within. If you're lacking in these areas, work with your HR team to clarify job descriptions, have an open-door policy where people can discuss their aspirations, learn more about other internal opportunities and maybe even get a chance to cross-train with another department.

At my e-mail marketing company VerticalResponse, we've promoted 83 people out of 273 employees over the last five years. And of those 83, 28 have been promoted two or more times.

Also keep in mind that a little recognition goes a long way. I'm a huge advocate of celebrating success big and small. Don't move so fast that you forget to share some praise along the way.

Don't Let a Bad Apple Poison the Well

This has happened to us and it probably has happened to you: employees who don't pull their weight and their colleagues suffer the consequences by having to cover for them. You've gotta nip this stuff in the bud. It's crucial to address poor performance as much as it is to reward stellar performance. I've seen fantastic people leave because of frustration around lack of accountability and having to pick up the pieces.

Be the Employer of Choice

You know your employees are being solicited whether they get those weekly job match emails, or they get an InMail from a recruiter directly--and I'm actually happy about that. Why? It proves we've got talented people that are desirable for any organization. So, how to keep those people in the fold?  Make the decision right now to be the employer of choice.

Offer a great career path, a competitive salary, killer benefits and fun, unexpected perks. By having a culture where you not only challenge, but reward and celebrate your teams, you'll create a place where people not only enjoy coming to work, but want to stay for the long run.

Most importantly? Listen to your employees. Don't wait for them to come into your office, go to them directly. We interview our employees at their one-year mark to see how they're feeling and what they might want changed. All of this is documented, sent to managers and we talk about the things that might improve the company. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the company is one of the most critical things you can do!

How do you keep recruiters from pilfering your people? Share in the comments.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for the free VR Buzz weekly newsletter and check out the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog.