The workplace science and chemistry is directly reflective of inner harmony or devotion of an employee towards their employers. A strong allegiance often is a result of constant and untiring efforts on both, the employee and employers end. As of today, hiring is not that big of a hurdle as compared to engagement and retention of the best talent on the team. The feeling of belonging and merging with an environment comes with understanding and working with different mindsets. An attitude that emanates a sense of interest in the idea of commitment towards the employer, a sense of duty that clearly embodies that no employee should knowingly or willfully bring harm to the employer’s business or have conflict at work, that is due to the polarity of their self interests.
As businesses mature and companies go through phases of metamorphosis, it generally becomes more complicated to practically achieve this balance. A growing and successful business is more often a result of multiple tough decisions and a constant wave of restructuring, hiring, firing and resizing teams. In the midst of all that craze, any layoff can become an ugly next day news headlines.
We have seen this happening now, more than ever that with a wave of dozens of large companies that managed to hire too fast, without analyzing practical expenditures Vs. true earnings, had artificially inflated valuations. All of that drama is coming to an end and we have observed some of the very popular companies crumbling under such pressures by being carelessly extravagant. Then begins a cycle of layoffs, resulting in angered employees, who would magnify any discrepancies a company has; sometimes publicly in press.
A bad press is what scares many large corporations, or we must say that it should. There are many examples that we can directly relate to, Theranos, Zenefits and Uber top the charts for controversies and employee dishonesty. The problems were not mainly related to employee loyalty but a major set back happened due to that. I always say and stress on this, that if honesty pays back, dishonesty can bite back when one’s least expecting it. To expect a loyal and honest employee that you could present as a gold star standard, the leadership in a company must portray a major share of those traits itself, to ensure that it is a give and take scenario. If this sensitive equilibrium is not maintained, a back lash can hit hard. Many companies don’t realize the implications of downsizing , it doesn’t just immensely mar their image but the benefits they expect to reap from that restructuring are too little, as compared to the negative vibes emerging in the market about them. A loss of trust and respect are the major areas where the race is lost. It is a better approach, we must say, to build business with a hiring process that is not fueled and forced by the investment or profit but rather is more focused towards the goals it meets, through a number of employees that is just “enough” for its needs. Hiring a team, to look powerful and influential or just because some investor pumped more money into the business, makes no sense.
We are an impatient society that has weird ideals and want quick results, even if that means you need to fake it at times. “The growth at all costs” does not necessitates that one deals their conscience for money. The founders who rise above and beyond that notion, not just acquire that equilibrium but earn a long lasting employee loyalty.
How many times do we see employees actually beginning businesses that are in direct competition with an employer, steal business secrets, unlawfully take confidential customer lists and supply them to the competitors, lure the existing customers towards a new business, some even conspire and cause massive resignations of the key employees from the company( e.g the Co-founder of hyperloop ), delaying a deal intentionally so that they could direct it to their maturing business, vandalizing records or computer files etc. All these actions are however, crimes punishable by law but by the time the law gets to them a substantial amount of harm has already been caused.
To put an employee’s duty under a proper law and boundary a mechanism is in place and this law is called a “Uniform Trade Secrets Act” This act clearly hinders any embezzlement of trade secrets by illegal means.
There is a wide array of laws in this regard like:
- Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ( CFAA )
- A non-competition clause, also called a ” non-compete clause, a restrictive covenant, or a covenant not to compete”
- A non-solicitation clause
- A confidentiality clause
- A work for hire clause
The details of these clauses can be looked up, while no employer is immune to fraud and theft but a certain amount of research done before hand can save them from a lot of future trouble.
A few important guidelines to follow are:
- Background checks, specially with teams that handle and maintain finances
- Securing company’s financial records ( regular password changes )
- Thorough review of the payroll records to check phantom employees
- Adopt a code of ethics or policy manual that is publicly known by the employees
- Try to get employee dishonesty insurance coverage
An employee’s loyalty is not just a definition of their personality, it is also a reflection of a good leadership guiding and training them to enhance the culture of a company.
Also published on Medium.