October 22, 2013

Does Edward Snowden Work For You?

By Paul Bieber

You know, the contractor who worked for the National Security Agency.  He took a ‘few’ documents with him and now lives in Russia.  Did he break the law?  Sure did.  But, did the law need to be broken?  Many people think so and call Snowden a hero.  I don’t; but let’s try to keep politics out of the blog, and lets bring this back to the glass industry.

Do you have an employee who could take valuable information about your company and do harm to you?  Yes, you do.  Every company which is larger than one person has this potential, ticking time-bomb.  What do you do to protect your company and yourself? 

Most often, the cause of misused information is from a disgruntled current or former employee.

  • It is usually better to terminate an employee and pay him for the two weeks rather than letting him work.  This takes away the opportunity to cause harm within and without the business.  Yes, you want employees to give you a two-week notice when they are leaving and help to train their replacement, but no, it is not a two-way street.  You are usually firing an employee for a good reason, so pay the two weeks and be done.  If you are in a mass lay-off situation, again it is usually better to ask all the affected people to leave.
  • Escort all terminated employees off the premises, inspecting what they take with them.  Tacky, but very important.  As soon as a terminated employee leaves your office, change their computer access password.  Most information taken from a company is done electronically, not in the form of printouts.  Make sure the employee doesn’t have an alternate password to your bank account website or your personnel records.

What about current employees?  The best program you can have is an active and meaningful employee review system, where you regularly meet with your employees to see how they are doing and what problems the may be having.  In just about every case of employee problems, warning signs appear prior to an actual problem.  Trust your instincts when an employee says they are unhappy about something.  Look into it promptly and try to resolve the situation amicably.  An upset employee, who thinks they have asked for your help, but doesn’t get it, is a ticking time-bomb.

If your computer program allows for this, and it should, limit the access to files that an employee actually needs. 

And now for the big one.  There are two ways that an employee can hurt you.  The first, as we just discussed, is the unlawful taking of your customer/vendor/employee information.  You can control this up to a certain point.  The second is this: a disgruntled employee tells the world about something that you did, or didn’t do.  Maybe something gray in the tax arena.  Or maybe paying someone off the books; you get the idea.  And there is just one thing you can do to prevent andisgruntled employee from calling OSHA or the business editor of the local paper.  Here it is…tatoo this to the inside of your eyelids, read it every day.


‘Nuff said.