Does Your Business Have a Plan in Place for an Employee Departure?

I read a sentencing brief recently that included a laundry list of fraudulent actions an employee engaged in that eventually led to their termination and criminal prosecution. While the employee’s actions were astounding, the level of access they still had in the organization following their termination was even more astounding. After they were terminated, they were still able to remotely access sensitive corporate resources and used that access to delete files to try and cover their tracks. 

Here are 5 steps to have a place to ease the transition of an employee departure.

  • Have a plan in place- this seems like an obvious one but so many organizations fail to have a plane in place and determining on the circumstances you may not have much notice when an employee resigns. If you receive employees’ notice you need to have an exact final date of employment and determine if this goes against their existing contract, verify if they have existing vacation time. While working at your company the employee may have learned trade secrets and you want to ensure your intellectual property is secure with a signed nondisclosure agreement.
  • Don’t leave your staff in the dark. Provide relevant and necessary information. Anytime an employee departs it can cause the rumor mill to stir up and cause some employees to feel uneasy about their position within the company. To help keep your employees calm in confident let them know how you will manage their workload and the plan moving forward
  • Make sure your IT department is notified. This is HUGE! No matter the circumstances of an employee departure you need to notify your IT department or IT partner to ensure your data/company is protected. Be sure that all passwords have been changed. If the employee is using a personal device ensure all data has been removed. If they are using provided technology ensure these have been returned. If your building is protected with door access ensure your security has been notified and this employee removed.
  • Update company literature to remove the employee. This can include any letterheads, website pages, organization charts, and any company brochures.
  • Conduct an exit review with the employee and thank them for their contributions. If you are able to it’s always important to learn from their departure and see where you can improve the workspace for your current employees.

How could this have been prevented? In the same way that a company would have plans to onboard a new employee, they should also have detailed plans to offboard an employee. This results in a consistent process that ensures an employee’s network access is removed at the time of their departure. 

Each organization will have a different set of offboarding steps required, but the basics would be the same throughout. Has physical and remote access been disabled? Has company data been removed from personal devices? Is there data and emails that need to be retained or reviewed? Who should be notified of the termination? 

Having these detailed steps in place, and following them on a consistent basis, ensures that the organization is diligent in protecting against rogue actions by former employees. 

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