Planning for Employee Termination is Your Best Insurance
By: Stuart J. Visnov, Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Protection & Surveillance
Word count: 643
A disgruntled former employee can threaten more than your company’s reputation. Even when you follow clear human resource protocol in terminating an underperforming or difficult member of your team, that individual can still pose a threat to the safety of your business and the peace of mind of your current staff. However, you are not alone. With some prior planning and the support of security company skilled at managing conflict, you can ensure that an uncomfortable situation does not turn into a dangerous one.
As with most security measures, the first step is to employ smart safety strategies when hiring individuals. Though Benjamin Franklin’s axiom “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” may sound cliché, it’s true that anticipating challenges helps you avoid potential disasters down the road.
The first safety measure to take is to complete a thorough background check prior to hiring. It doesn’t matter if the prospective employee comes highly-recommended, or is someone you’ve known in a social capacity—you need to screen every new hire with the same level of scrutiny as you would a stranger. More than just checking references, think about hiring a security company who specializes in employee vetting and background checks. Such an organization will have access to national and international databases and records that you cannot get on your own.
Echelon Protection & Surveillance can provide access to credit checks, multi-state background checks, motor vehicle records, employment records or nearly any information criteria combination thereof. We work with numerous law enforcement agencies and federal government sources to cover all of your bases. Basic background checks will give you results almost instantaneously. For more in-depth screenings, outcomes will be generated within just a few business days.
In rare instances, even when you work with a security company to ensure proper vetting, a former employee may still prove to be a threat. In that case, there are other measures you can take to protect your business and associates.
First of all, be cognizant of the possibility that an employee who has been let go may be less likely to respect the business as they are leaving the premises. In more obvious terms, this means that the individual may be more prone to theft of property or property damage in the wake of the termination. To avoid these costly situations, it’s best to have a strategic plan in place for end of employment that includes a safe exit strategy and surveillance plan as the individual is being asked to leave. Computers or other password protected accounts should immediately be changed. Keys, equipment and ID’s must be returned at the time of the exit interview. A security guard or other trained professional should be on hand to monitor all activity with the former staff member when they’re clearing out a work space and leaving the property. If you don’t have an on-staff security guard, you can hire one for as little as one day or as long as needed. The key is to have a trained security person on hand until you’re certain that there will be no retribution from the terminated employee(s). Be sure to consider key indictors of perspective challenges from terminated employees, such as: veiled or direct verbal threats, contact with former co-workers by phone, email or social media, returning to the property, or references to violence of any kind.
Echelon provides professional armed or unarmed security guards to trained in termination support planning to prevent unwanted activity in this situation. All of our security team members have been trained to deal with conflict resolution and de-escalation during crisis moments. They also have the added value of being an outside source not associated with the business, which often creates a less stressful environment for all involved.
Lastly, if you suspect that a former employee might retaliate via an act of vandalism, verbal or physical threats, and/or other forms of intimidation or illegal activity, consider heightening your security measures—whether temporarily or more permanently. The onsite visual presence of a security guard can strongly deter a would-be assailant, and surveillance video cameras also decrease the likelihood of a volatile threat.
You owe it to your business, your current employees, and yourself to create employee termination strategies that keep everyone safe.