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When a former C-suite goes rogue

How do you stop them from sharing secrets and catch up with them to make them understand you are serious?

When someone who was highly placed in your company begins to share company secrets long after they have left the company, what do you do? You can’t just threaten them with legal action, if you cannot find them. Many times, ex C-suite employees will obey their contractual agreement. This is because in most contracts they are paid very well as they leave a company and they also receive a pension. However, if you are a new medium-sized company or perhaps a small business, you may not give these options to your C-suite. So they might leave disgruntled and want some payback.

How do you stop them from sharing secrets and catch up with them to make them understand you are serious?

Understand what exactly they know

An ex C-suite employee might just want to get into the good books of their new employer and thus, give some company secrets away. However it could be true or false in terms of your company now. It may have been true that you were working on a particular product design about 2 years ago, but that might not be the case now. So actually, they could be misleading their new employer, probably a rival of yours, and that couldn’t harm you but instead work in your favor. So the key is to find out how much they actually know. When did they join the company, when did they start on a project, what teams did they work with, how much data did they see, etc?

Getting word

You may not find out that they have broken their non-disclosure agreement until months from when they did. So you have to rely on getting word from the industry. This is why it’s so useful to have contacts in just about every corner of your sector and industry, just in case you need to invoke some of your network to spy on someone or keep their ear to the ground about rumors concerning your business. Speak with people you know who are close to where your former C-suite employee has been hired. Banks do this all the time, workers share information about the history of the new employee, what they have worked on, etc. 

Use a professional to find them

Do you definitely think they are spreading information only you should know about your business? Okay, then you need to find them to give them legal notice. They may have changed their emails, address, phone number and more. So use skip tracing tools where you can find their name, date of birth, home address, professional address, SSN and more. This way you can serve them with a warning letter or a reminder about their contract, or if you need to, legal papers to demand they appear in court.  

Keeping any disgruntled employee in check after they leave is hard work. But you are not totally powerless, you can use your contacts to keep tabs on them, find them to serve papers and maybe let them spread false rumors thinking they are true. 

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