Business owners are extremely busy people. They carry a great deal of responsibility with an abundance of tasks to juggle. Only thing they tend not to invest enough time and attention on is employment contracts at the time they recruit.
It is always good advice to anticipate things going wrong before they do and provide for those worst case scenarios, such as an employee disappearing with confidential information. This way your back is covered from the start.
Another potential obstruction that small business owners encounter is that they often have to deal with a limited budget. However, investing at the outset should be seen in the same way as paying insurance payments.
Here are five tips to help protect your business from annoyed ex-employees:
1. Restrictive covenants
Ensure the contract of employment contains robust restrictive covenants. These will prevent an ex-employee from abusing their access to data and can be set for a period of time following the termination of the employment.
This is particularly important if employees have access to key customer contacts and/or confidential customer information.
2. Tighten up your IT system
Sort out your IT system so that it can detect, and prevent, the transfer of large amounts of data onto separate sources, such as hard drives, USB drives, personal email addresses and the like. Departing employees are a high risk area when it comes to loss of confidential data and intellectual property.
It can often be years rather than weeks before employers realise that their information has been removed electronically and by then, the damage has been done.
Read more about firing employees correctly:
- 10 tips you should NEVER say when firing someone
- How to manage difficult decisions on hiring and firing
- Avoiding the pitfalls of terminating employees overseas
3. Garden leave
Employers should retain the right to place key employees on garden leave for their notice periods. It is far easier to control an existing employee by way of enforcing restrictions than one who has already departed.
It is therefore, a sensible idea to increase notice periods for key employees – making someone stay at home for 3-6 months without access to customers gives the business far more chance to get in touch with their customers and reassure client relationships before the departing employee gets a chance to interfere.
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