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Ways to Protect Your Company When an Employee Leaves

By: Total Computer Solutions

Protect Your Company

No matter how good an employer you are, you will have employees quit, resign, or retire. When an employee leaves the company, you need to go through several steps to help protect the company.

Most of the time an employee departure will be amicable. The employee will give two weeks' notice, which will allow you to start the process of finding a replacement, possibly hiring a temp to fill in during the search, etc. In some cases, it may be less so, especially if you had to terminate the employee for cause.

The steps below might not take place in order, depending on the exact situation:

  1. Get a letter of resignation from the employee, stating why they are leaving. This helps protect you if they try to sue you later.
  2. Consider having the employee sign a non-disclosure agreement to ensure that company secrets stay with the company. In many cases, the one they already signed should be binding, but it's worth checking. If it is binding, then make sure to remind them about it.
  3. Make sure that they return any physical objects that belong to you such as electronic devices, security badges, keys, etc. Having a checklist of things given out to new employees helps you make sure all of those things come back. Have them sign that they returned them.
  4. Cancel their employer-provided credit cards if any. If they are using a long distance phone card, make sure to cancel that as well.
  5. Inform your landlord, if needed, of the employee's last day so they can cancel building and parking access.
  6. Deactivate all of their passwords in the IT system, including social media passwords (sometimes a disgruntled employee can do even more damage on their way out if they can still get to your Twitter or Facebook).
  7. Remove the employee from printed material as quickly as you can. You should remove them from the website and social media "About" pages immediately. Also, remove them from phone rosters and routing slips.
  8. If COBRA applies (at least 20 employees and group health insurance offered), make sure that the person is signed up for it.
  9. Make sure that you assign all of the employee's tasks to somebody before they leave. Also, make sure that you have an accurate list of those responsibilities that can be passed on to their replacement. With luck, you may be able to on-board the replacement before they leave, and let them handle this themselves. It is also important that you forward their email to someone else within the company in case they receive future emails.
  10. Schedule their last paycheck. The law in your state may require that final paycheck be paid within a certain amount of time of departure. If not, the next pay period is generally fine.
  11. Schedule an exit interview. During the exit interview, you should get a statement in writing that they are not leaving because they were harassed or otherwise unhappy. This might be a good time to make a counter offer if you want to. Make sure that you avoid openly coming over as relieved and never lash out at the departing person.
  12. Announce it to the rest of the office. You may let the departing employee do it themselves, but the staff should know at the time notice is given so they can prepare. If the employee had a heavily customer-facing position (such as the social media manager), you might also want to make a public announcement to your customers.

In rare cases, you may have to do an "emergency exit." If you are firing the person because of their behavior or actions while on the job, or if you have any other reason to believe that the employee might lash out at the company, then you need to take steps to protect yourself. This might include starting the process of removing their access to the computer system before you even tell them they have been terminated. It may also include having security escort them from the building. Always have at least one, preferably two, other people with you when you give the bad news.

If you need help with the IT aspects of employee exits and staff changes, such as how to quickly clear a person's network accesses, contact Total Computer Solutions today.

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