There is a point in the life of any business where you are going to have to fire someone. It’s not a comfortable idea; no one likes to think of themselves as the boss who has to let people go, but it’s inevitable. It will never be easy to do, but it is something that any business owner has to acknowledge is a reality.
As if having to fire someone was not difficult enough, some former employees can cause real trouble for you. This is usually done maliciously; they feel they have been fired unfairly — even when your actions were completely justified — and they now pose a threat to the safety and security of your company.
So, before you next terminate an employee’s contract, you might want to read through the tips below to help protect your business from any potential backlash.
1) Secure Your Data
The moment you have informed an employee that they are no longer required, you have to protect the business data they may have access to. Admittedly, this can be difficult; many companies now spread their business across numerous platforms, which can mean that canceling the employee’s account for each specific platform can take longer than is ideal. If an employee takes the news badly, then their continued access to any company files is a cause for concern.
The above is why you should backup your business data in the cloud before you have the conversation with your employee. This buys you time to close each account down individually, ensuring that your essential business data is protected in the meantime.
2) Monitor Your Social Media
Social media is one of the first places a disgruntled employee will go if they want to vent their frustrations.
For the first few days after you have let an employee go, you need to keep a very close watch on your business social media accounts. Facebook is the most common target for irritated former employees, so this should be at the top of your watch list. While you can’t stop a former employee bad-mouthing your company on their personal account, you can block them, and delete any messages they post, from your business accounts.
3) Remind Them Of Their Contractual Obligations
If the employee in question is aware of sensitive information about the company — or your clients — then they may seek to use this against you. To avoid them, you should remind them of their contractual obligations. A standard employment contract should ensure that staff, and former staff, are not able to divulge business secrets; if you do not have this clause, then you may wish to examine this as soon as possible.
A quick reminder to the employee of their liability if they mention business secrets is usually enough to dissuade them from doing so. If they do, then you have legal recourse to recover damages from them.
Ending a relationship with one of your employees is always going to be a testing time. However, if you run through the above before you have the big conversation, then you can be sure that your business will be able to withstand anything a now-former employee wants to throw at you.