How can a company create a culture of confidentiality?
Minneapolis trade secret protection attorney, Teresa Thompson, shares how companies can encourage employees to protect company assets, and not divulge company information.
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First what you need to think about is being able to define what a culture of confidentiality is. To me it means from the highest-level executive to the lowest-paid employee, everybody in the company understands that company information is the most valuable asset of the company. Once you’ve defined that, it’s easier to put the steps in place to protect that information. So where do we do that? We do that at the initiation of employment. You have the employee come in and you actually have a session that is focused on protection of information. Have them sign their agreements, give them the policies, and provide the procedures that the company has to protect information.
And don’t let it get lost in all of the other stuff that they’re gonna sign that day, otherwise they’ll never remember it. And knowing that they’re never gonna remember that, during the employment relationship, make sure that you provide some refreshers. Do that in the form of training focused on protection of confidential information and nothing else. Don’t let it get lost in the shuffle of all of the other information you’re throwing at an employee. And make sure you use examples of what appropriate use is and inappropriate use is. They’re not gonna know otherwise.
And then at the end of employment – nobody likes to think about the end of employment, but you have to. And when that relationship ends, you’ve got to make sure you have procedures in place to protect the information from walking out the door. And that means conducting an exit interview, it means sitting down with the employee and getting back their phones and getting back their computers and making sure that the information doesn’t walk out the door.