We’re all online most of the time, chatting to our friends on Facebook or sending messages on WhatsApp. Seemingly harmless pursuits, but in the hands of a disgruntled ex-employee these public commenting platforms have made it easier than ever for vindictive ex-employees to have their voice heard.
Similarly, an ex-employee could breach a restrictive covenant and poach employees or go to work for a competitor.
These are examples of some the worst cases and there are steps you can take as an employer to prevent such unhelpful or worse defamatory behaviour from ex-employees. When an employee leaves try to make it as pleasant as possible; it’s very much about having a pro-active positive approach, rather than having to pick up the pieces later.
Managing the exit process.
Try and maintain a positive relationship up until the very end of every staff members’ employment no matter what the circumstances so that they leave with something positive to say about you and your company. This will also help to protect your brand and your personal reputation.
Use opportunities such as their resignation confirmation or termination letter, and their exit interview, to remind them of any contractual requirements that remain post-employment. Even if they don’t have restrictions in their contracts about where they can work after leaving you, poaching customers and/or employees, make sure they are aware that they cannot use confidential business information and explain what that means to them.
If they do then breach any of their contractual requirements you can send them a letter that reminds them again and requests them to cease it immediately, and threaten legal action if they continue to do so.
Park your own feelings at the door.
Depending on the circumstances, by the time someone is leaving you may have been picking up the pieces for quite a while. Perhaps you’ve been helping other staff cope with negativity that’s arisen, and people have been picking up extra workload. Despite the mounting frustration you may feel, you must abstain from making any disparaging comments about the person who is leaving.
As the boss, it’s your job to rise above it, even if you are smouldering beneath the surface. Equally it’s your job to maintain confidentiality around the staff members’ reasons for leaving if that’s relevant.
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If you need advice or guidance about how to deal with an ex-employee, our HR consultants can help.
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