You probably know the term onboarding if you own or operate a company. It refers to the process you go through when you hire a new employee. If you’re a hiring manager, you likely know all about this process too.
Offboarding is something you might not know about, though. It is the opposite of onboarding. You may have to offboard someone if they retire, leave the company, or you have to fire them for cause.
Proper offboarding is an orderly process that leaves the former employee and the organization for which they worked in the best possible positions. However, improper offboarding can cause all kinds of problems, and we’ll discuss a few of them in this article.
1. A Disgruntled Employee Can Try to Sabotage Your Software
JumpCloud has the following to say about offboarding. They mention how improper suspension or offboarding of user access and permissions “poses a significant risk to your organization.” It’s hard to argue with that.
If you have a disgruntled employee who left the company on bad terms, they might have some IT knowledge. They can use that to wreak havoc with your software on their way out the door. If they have hacker skills, they will know exactly what to do to slow down or crash your network or even your company’s website.
With this in mind, if you have to fire an employee for cause, make sure you revoke their accesses and privileges immediately. If you fail to do so, they can make you pay for it.
2. They Can Try to Sabotage Your Hardware as Well
An employee or contractor you fire or who you decide to no longer use might hold a grudge. If you have a physical location where your employees work, or you have a hybrid work model where at least some of them come in every day, you might have all kinds of laptops, desktops, servers, and other equipment there.
An employee whose access you don’t revoke can access areas where you have your hardware, and if they’re mad enough, they might try to smash it on the way out the door. Obviously, you can press charges if that happens, but think how much damage they can do before you call the police or get security to escort them off the premises.
This isn’t a likely scenario, but that is why you need to treat your employees that you want to fire with respect. If you do that, none of this will happen and they will leave the company with nothing but the best to say about you. Other than damaging your good, the employees might look to steal something if they think that you should have paid them more for their farewell. Therefore, they might end up leaving the company with a laptop in their case.
3. A Former Employee Can Leak Your Trade Secrets
If you allow an employee to work for you, you might have them sign a non-disclosure agreement. That agreement means they are not to discuss any proprietary information with other companies or individuals with whom you might compete.
If you neglect to handle the offboarding process the right way, though, an angry employee might decide to send out some of your proprietary information to a competitor. They might leak all kinds of data regarding your upcoming ad campaigns, products, expansion plans, etc.
Also, they might use this data in order to get a job in the competitor company. With all the information at hand, it will be much easier to get another job and they could speak to them about what you’ve done right and what you’ve done wrong. Your rivals may use this data to come up with a strategy that will undermine you and eventually even leave you out of business.
4. They Can Leak Employee Information
If you fail to offboard an employee the right way, and they have a grudge against individuals within the company, they might dox them. Doxing means that an individual shares private information about someone. In this case, that would be their former coworkers.
Doxing can mean the angry former employee posts a work contact’s full name, phone number, email address, or home address in a public forum where anyone can see it and harass them. An incensed employee can even dox someone they don’t like from their former company by posting their social security number since you will have all that information on file from when you hired them.
With all that information out there, the public can torment your workers, or they can try to steal their identities. You need to avoid that kind of situation at all costs.
Of course, there isn’t a large chance of something like this to happen. However, why would you risk for your company to get a bad reputation? Once that happens, you will never be able to improve and you will have a hard time employing new people. They might hear something about you reducing salaries or treating employees in a disrespective manner and give up on their application. And all that because a petty person and an awful offboarding process.
5. A Former Employee Can Rob Your Company
It’s standard when you offboard someone to take back their security card or anything else they use to access your facility. If you fail to get that card back, the former employee might come back and steal whatever isn’t nailed down.
Say you fire someone for cause, but you don’t remove them from the system, and they still have a security clearance card. They can come back at night, sweet talk one of the guards, and walk out with laptops, flash drives, office supplies, or anything else they want.
The proper offboarding technique should prevent any of these scenarios from happening. Some of them sound pretty extreme, but it might surprise you how often this kind of thing occurs.