What’s Your Exit Strategy? Factoring Disgruntled Employees into Your BC Plan
Not every relationship works out. In fact, some relationships end very badly. For businesses, the end of a bad relationship with a former employee can leave lasting negative impressions—for your reputation, for your work environment, and for your bottom line. Mishandling the firing process for any employee can create a bad taste, but mishandling the exit of a disgruntled employee can lead to costly repercussions that may significantly impact your business’ operations and reputation.
In a September 2014 public service announcement, the FBI warned of an increase in computer network exploitation by disgruntled and/or former employees. Based on their investigations, former employees often used their access to steal company and customer private or proprietary information, illegally purchase goods using customer accounts, gain competitive advantage at a new company, and even extort former employers. As a result, businesses incurred losses ranging from $5,000 to $3 million.
Unfortunately, research further indicates the threat of losing one’s job, not the actual loss of it, can also prompt employees to steal data. According to a 2013 Courion study, nearly one in five employees (19%) aged 18-34 working in an office environment would take customer data, product plans, pricing lists, and other company information if they found out they were about to be fired.
19% of those aged 18-34 who work in an office setting would take company information … if they knew they were about to be fired.
Carefully managing the exit strategy for employees is one way to reduce the risk of a disgruntled or apathetic worker further damaging the company after their departure. Much like having a crisis communications plan in place to reduce the stress of communicating pertinent information to the right people at the right time throughout a crisis, an exit plan that recognizes potential lingering threats to continuity will help to ensure the former employee’s transition out of the company is a smooth one. Below are a few suggestions of steps to consider when crafting your employee exit plan:
- Confirm with your company’s counsel before the dismissal you are following the best practices to ensure minimal damage.
- Limit knowledge of the impending termination to the relevant parties until you are ready to let the employee go.
- Provide a detailed termination letter outlining the reasons for termination, and be sure to include any weaknesses in performance previously identified in performance reviews.
- Terminate all employee or contractor accounts immediately upon departure.
- Change all server and network passwords regardless of whether or not the employee was in IT.
- Inform third-party vendors providing employee support of the employee’s departure.
Another great way to protect your company from disgruntled employees is to implement a thoughtful prevention strategy that clearly defines their roles and responsibilities, articulates company policies, provides regular feedback, and outlines steps to improve performance. To be on the safe side, however, be sure to have a fully fleshed out cybersecurity plan that includes the regular review of employee access, proper password guidelines, and other parameters for avoiding breaches of information such as terminating any employee accounts that are not critical to perform their duties.
For more information on ways to identify and prepare for a data breach, download the “Are You Prepared for a Data Breach” infographic. To learn how to build and maintain a culture of preparedness within your organization, visit www.preparis.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.