When an employee goes rogue, it is often the company that deals with the damage on a short-term or long-term basis, repairing what was broken and regaining what was lost. The damage can be in the form of putting the company’s security at risk, losing profit and clients, or to the extent of losing its credibility to operate a business. This is an occurrence that needs to be dealt with proactively, though there are instances when it still happens despite the security measures being implemented within the company.
What is a rogue employee and why do they go rogue?
A rogue employee is someone who has stopped complying with the company policies and is behaving in an unscrupulous manner not amenable to the company’s reputation. This often occurs when an employee is faced with professional or personal struggle making it easier to lose the sense of propriety. The employee might start abandoning his or her tasks and responsibilities, and worse, commits fraudulent activities like stealing assets and/or sensitive company information for monetary gains.
It is important to take immediate actions when this happens. As a business owner or manager, there are critical steps we need to consider when an employee goes rogue.
1. Heighten security level and protect company assets.
Meet with your IT team to discuss the situation and immediately implement protective measures to ensure no further leakage is going to take place. Do a quick inventory of assets and sensitive information and try to assess if any are compromised. Identify the risks the company may be facing as a result of the violation committed and deploy protective measures necessary.
2. Deactivate employee’s access and invalidate the credentials.
Implement preventive suspension if further investigation is needed. This ensures a quiet gathering of facts without the threat of having the person in question creating further obstructions. This will also prevent the involvement of other employees that might cause for alarm and wreak havoc on the company. Make sure all access and credentials of the employee are deactivated and prevent further access to other company information and assets.
This is an essential step for companies with virtual offices or has remote workers. Some companies provide VPN access which allows employees to access their company’s portal from home and work as if they are in the office. Immediately discontinue access to virtual office work platforms, emails, and other portals. For brick and mortar office setting, remove access and confiscate any personal identification card issued to the employee before they are sent home.
3. Gather and document relevant details that led to the event of the employee going rogue.
Find out what influenced the employee to go rogue and commit offences against the company. Know the tools and measures he/she used to actualize the transgression. This is where you start cleaning up the mess created. Identifying the motive of the employee will help you determine the measures that can be done to help find an amenable and legal way to resolve the real problem. This will also allow you the opportunity to identify employees who will possibly commit the same offense and implement preventive measures.
4. Meet with the deciding team to decide on the status of the employee in the company
This important meeting would include the immediate supervisor, the HR, and in serious cases, the company lawyer. Discuss the offence and come to a decision on the fate of the employee with regards to his or her employment. The sanction to be enforced on the employee will depend on the gravity of the violation.
There are instances when termination is the clear-cut decision. Termination applies to serious offences like theft or inappropriate use of company funds, rowdy behavior like sexual assault to a fellow employee, serious insubordination to an immediate supervisor, and losing a client while putting the company’s reputation in question by using the client’s confidential information (i.e. credit card details) for personal gains. There are also instances when a lighter sanction can be served in observance of the due process privileged to every employee. Such sanctions progress depending on the consistency of occurrence. It can start with a written warning, suspension, and then dismissal. It is best to review and collaborate with the human resources team to ensure that the proper sanction is served.
5. Reinforce company policies and implement preventive measures to avoid the same occurrence from happening again.
Gather your team and have a focused discussion with HR to review the existing policies and possible sanctions in the event a specific policy has been violated. Each employee is accountable. Ensure commitment to protecting the company’s best interest by reviewing the roles and responsibilities of every employee and their important functions in the company.
Utilize company tools like memo boards, workstations, desktop wallpapers documenting these policies, on top of the company handouts existing. Email cascades and group discussions will help disseminate and enforce the policies to virtual employees and remote workers and team members