• Subject: Re: What to do about a disgruntled employee
  • From: HAVEAJOB@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1999 09:20:36 EST

In a message dated 3/14/99 6:32:21 AM Central Standard Time,
david.kahn@gbwsh.mail.abb.com writes:

<< >I was asked the other day what I would do if an IS person was
 >let go or quit and there was a possibility that they might try to
 >cause some harm. I am curious if this has occurred at any of
 >your installations and what steps were taken.
 At many sites there is a policy of accompanying the person back to their
 desk while they clear it and then escorting them off the premises. This is
 undoubtedly the safest thing to do. Of course, if they've been disgruntled
 for a while then they may already have done the damage, but there's not
 much you can do about that. I've also worked at a lot of sites where they
 just let the disgruntled employee work out his/her notice. This in
 mind-numbingly stupid IMHO. >>

As several replies have pointed out, many companies are going to the policy of
paying the two weeks salary and escorting them out the door.  Others allow
them to work out their notice....once again, it depends on the situation.  I
believe that the following are keys here:

1) Know your employees as management.  I know this sounds a bit trite, but
it's true.  I worked for one company; the manager was surprised when I told
him I was on "standby" because of the pending delivery of my wife's first
baby.  Not like it was a secret or anything...he just had no interest in
having interaction with the employees under him.  All managers should make an
effort to know the personality traits of their employees as best as possible;
many times this can allow the manager to isolate potential problems before
they happen.

2) Crosstrain.  Sure makes it easier to pick up the slack if and when you do
have to escort that employee out the door suddenly.  Tends to make fellow
employees more accountable as well.  Makes it harder for sabotage to occur if
other employees are aware of work duties, systems, have code familiarity, are
in the same team, etc. 

3)  Make sure expectations are outlined up front.  As part of the initial
benefits package upon hire, employees should be aware of severance policies
and permutations - there will be some employees you'd like to escort out,
others you will need to work out their notice.

4)  This whole disgruntled employee thread is as important a reason as anyone
can come up with for the words "clean, tight, well-documented code."

5)  Hold them hostage.  Get your legal department to draft up a document that
ties future benefits to good will after the employee terminates for whatever
reason.  This might include any due bonuses, misc. compensation beyond salary
and wages, etc.  Here's some examples that might be placed in the policy
manual given to new hires:  "After an employee terminates for whatever reason,
a letter will be generated to be be placed in an employee's file within two
weeks.  This letter will in effect be a post-employment evaluation and will
also include dates of employment.  This letter will be used for all reference
information given to third parties."  "A job performance evaluation will be
performed prior to an exit interview when an employee terminates.  This
performance evaluation in addition to a positive employment record will
validate any remaining portion of vesting in our company's separate pension
plan (not 401K)."  You see what I mean, get as creative as possible.

You get the picture....PLAN AHEAD as this "disgruntled employee" scenario WILL
happen to almost every company at one time or another.  Run a mental drill to
see how you would handle ths situation if it happened tomorrow.

Dave Brown
Search Professionals, Inc.

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