Dobbeck: Policies to protect your company's secrets
If your company is like many others, you may be concerned about disclosure of confidential information including processes, customer lists and procedures. Smaller companies may believe that disclosure of company secrets only concerns larger firms – but think again. In this time of shortened hours and a limited backlog, your employees may be seeking a part-time job to supplement their income. If so, you will be well served to put policies in place to protect yourself.
There are several from which to choose, consider the following:
• Confidentiality agreement: A policy outlining what you consider to be confidential information and to whom this information can be disclosed. It may include customer files, blue prints, internal processes, vendor lists, financials, etc. Because this is considered a legal and binding agreement, an attorney should draft it. A policy also should be added to your employee handbook stating that confidential information should not be discussed with anyone outside the department or company. It should also give examples of information you consider to be confidential and require the employee to get approval from a supervisor or manager before discussing information with others.
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