It’s Important to Develop a Policy to “Manage” Former Employees

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From the human perspective, it may seem impossible that a former employee’who may be a favorite co-worker, a “good guy” or “girl” or someone who made the workplace better could ever become a security risk once he or she leaves the company, especially if it was involuntary.

From the human resources point-of-view, however, it’s necessary to develop and implement a “no-return” policy for former employees, so employers know how to manage any situation that may occur if a former employee suddenly appears in the hallway.

In most cases, the unexpected visit of a former employee is a friendly, benign situation. The employee may be meeting one of his or her former co-workers to lunch together. Employers must also be aware that the purpose of the visit could be confrontational, or even violent.

As much as employer may want to avoid thinking about an angry, former employee causing trouble; it happens; and it’s a professional responsibility to take that extreme possibility into account. All “going postal” profiles are conjecture and are not substantiated by the facts: anyone can perpetuate workplace violence.

That’s why developing a no-return policy is so important. If a comprehensive policy is in place (and well understood throughout the company), then the number of unexpected former employee visits will be drastically reduced or totally eliminated.

A good no-return policy doesn’t work unless employers also have a good termination policy. The termination interview should complete all the items that could otherwise cause an employee to return. These include final wages, keys, ID, company property returned, personal belongings removed, etc.

The bottom line of a successful no-return policy is that former employees may not return to the company without a scheduled appointment. It’s probably wise to put that policy in writing and ask the former employee to sign the document, indicating he or she has read and understands the policy.

A final tip is that even when a former employee arrives for a scheduled appointment, HR should assign an escort. This is especially true if the nature of the company’s business requires a security staff and areas off-limit to visitors.

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