When you have an employee unexpectedly quit, company confidentiality can be a huge concern, especially if they are not leaving on good terms. However, there are ways to ensure that the break away from the employee remains pain-free. Here are a few tips to ensure company confidentiality when an employee quits.
Establish a Paper Trail
Before your employee even quits, it is important to establish expectations of company confidentiality and outline them clearly for your team. This establishes a paper trail where you can prove that they were aware of what was confidential and what was not. Your protected documents may vary based on your industry but can include things like budgets, financial statements, marketing ideas, and anything else you want to keep under wraps.
Then be sure you have these confidential items clearly marked in your employee contracts. Be sure they refer to terms and policies about confidential information being shared outside of the organization. Be as specific as you possibly can.
Act Before Rather Than After
The things that can be protected once the employee is already out the door are fairly limited. You, as an employer, are in a better position if you act while the contract is still active. This is because the confidentiality agreements they signed are still in effect.
Beyond that, you should also have systems in place to monitor your employee communication. Note anything that seems out of the ordinary in their email correspondence or day-to-day work communication. Reserve the right to search work computers, laptops, phones, and even personal technology before and after employment. This will decrease the risk of confidential information being leaked before the employee decides to go separate ways.
Conduct Exit Interviews
Exit interviews can also help ensure company confidentiality when an employee quits. You can have them sign an additional non-disclosure agreement that extends beyond their tenure at your company during the meeting. This also provides an opportunity for you, as an employer, to get an idea of why they are leaving and if they have any plans to share any trade secrets once they’ve gone. These interviews can help ease your mind. After all, they may be leaving for personal reasons with no intention of harming the company. It can also establish more of a paper trail, just in case.
Be Prepared for Quick Action
If you have a hunch that your departing employee is up to no good, contact an attorney as soon as possible and have a plan in place. The courts will want you to be as specific as possible about the information you have outlined to protect. They will also take into consideration the employee and how their career might be negatively impacted. So, you will want to be prepared with adequate information in the event you have to take the matter to court.
Consider Working With a Staffing Firm
Employing the help of a staffing firm can actually help mitigate the risk of company confidentiality being broken when an employee quits. The staffing professionals can help you craft non-disclosure agreements for incoming and current employees to sign. They can also help you source and vet all of your new hires, decreasing the risk of an employee quitting or exploiting confidentiality. Contact the Staffing Resource Group to see how our team might be able to help your organization.