When you have an employee who decides to move on from your company, whether it was their choice to leave or yours, your business faces potential risks such as theft, security breaches, and other unethical behaviors. Each of these situations can bring harm to your organization. Unfortunately, in some cases, these incidents are unpreventable.
For instance, in today’s workplace, it’s almost impossible to guarantee that employees won’t have any pieces of your company’s information saved on their home computers. Whether you have a policy in place that prevents employees from saving such files on their home computers, it’s most likely happening anyway. The good news is that there are measures that you can put in place ahead of time that will help you keep your company’s assets and secrets safe.
-Choose the right person for the job. Though it seems a little excessive to think about watching someone walk out the door before you even hire them, the fact remains that if you ensure your future employees are ethical, you will reduce the risk throughout their time with the company. Be sure to keep your ears open for any indication that they may have kept from their past employers.
-Create a list of expectations. Your company should have a working manual that includes specific policies regarding what can be taken out of the office and what needs to be returned before the employee’s last day. In such a manual, it’s best to avoid any gray area. For example, a photographer may want to keep work they created for your studio to include in their professional portfolio. Make sure they know up-front whether or not this is acceptable.
-Keep confidentiality agreements. More often than not enforcing confidentiality agreements can cost you more in legal fees than necessary, but they do assist you with communicating the policy in question. Confidentiality documents also help you set the tone by showing that you’re serious about your company’s security.
-Utilize password management tools. Thanks to modern technology, you can easily find tools that will help you manage all logins and passwords used by your employees. Such software will also let you grant access to specific logins. By using these tools, you’ll be able to easily revoke anyone’s access and change passwords in a more manageable process.
-Maintain the Golden Rule. While it seems simple, treating employees with respect while they’re in your employment is key. Not only will this provide them with reason to stay, but if they have to leave, it will ensure they respect you when they leave. If you find yourself having to terminate someone’s employment, do so with respect and tact, while letting them keep their dignity.
Speak with them in an exit interview. In the instances where you have noticed that the person is leaving, be sure to set up an exit interview with them. Not only will this give you some perspective on why they’re leaving (if you don’t already know), it will also allow you the opportunity to discuss exit policies and any accounts they may have been managing.
Have them return what’s yours. As your employee is leaving, you’re going to want to make sure you get back several items. Have a checklist handy of items such as: computers, discs, mobile devices, USBs, keys, badges, security passes, and more.
Shut down their email. If your past employee is still receiving email messages from clients they were working with, it’s advisable that you leave the account open for a little bit after changing the password. Otherwise, be sure to shut down their email.
Set up an out-of-office message. Clients who were working with your former employee should receive notice that this person is no longer with your company. This will serve two purposes, 1) it will let clients and business partners know that their point of contact has changed, and 2) it prevents a past employee from pretending they still work for you.