Blind Spots and Burning Bridges

January 27, 2015

ID-100288171Some of the stories I’ve heard recently have both saddened and shocked me regarding the things employees will do on their way out the door to hurt their former employer. The consequence of misplaced trust has increased dramatically in today’s connected society.

I’d like to make a few suggestions that may prevent you from the types of situations your peers are currently dealing with. (And, yes, like you, many owners and managers believe that none of their people would ever do any of the following things … but so did the people I’ve spoken with recently.)

Although these new business rules will effect everyone due to the careless acts of very few, they can help stop problems before they start:

  • Put in place an airtight policy that will limit certain employees from making social media (even LinkedIn) connections with key clients. In the last year, we’ve seen far too many ex-employees use social media as a way to make disparaging remarks about their former employer. This has become a major headache for several integration companies.
  • Insert a clause into non-compete/confidentiality agreements that prevents the former employee from contacting your staff for recruitment to a competitor.
  • Carefully monitor your company’s Facebook page and other social media sites for postings from former employees; remove or block them on the day of termination.
  • Change every password for remote access, e-mail servers, cloud-based portals, etc.
  • Make sure your employee handbook (and the signoff sheet) is crystal clear on intellectual property and ownership of designs. As the employer, you have every right to claim each and every design concept, program source code, etc. created by your employee. The employee exchanges that ownership right for their paycheck (work-for-hire provisions).
  • Likewise, if you bring in a new employee who came from a competitor, don’t ask them to share proprietary design concepts or protected client information. We have to work together in this small industry to maintain our integrity and ethical business practices.
  • Have a BYOD policy in place before you ever allow an employee to bring in a PC or tablet from home (by the way, we have the best BYOD policy template I’ve ever seen available to NSCA members in our Essentials Online Library). Allow only those who need it have access to your data – and make sure you can lock it down quickly.

If this advice keeps even one of our members from dealing with the aftermath (and avoiding the legal fees) of a good employee gone bad … then putting these efforts into place are worth it.  –Chuck Wilson, NSCA

**Image courtesy of Stuart Miles

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