You’ve worked hard to build your company and get it to the place it is today. The last situation you want to deal with is one of punishing an employee because of misconduct. While you can’t control others, you can control what you do to stop it, and who you hire and fire.

This may not be the most pleasant topic to discuss with your leadership team, but it’s definitely necessary. You need to protect yourself and your company from being placed in a bad situation. Make this an important item on your to-do list and do it right the first time. See four ways to protect your company from misconduct.

Secure your Data

Start by securing your data and hiring professionals with the digital forensic services to step in if necessary. Digital data forensics is a science. It requires extracting electronic information which can be both visible to a normal user and hidden in the protected areas of a device. Such evidence including e-mail, metadata, browsing history, application logs and documents are vital in proving wrongdoing in any criminal, civil or internal dispute. If you suspect an issue, leave it to the experts to come in and do their job.

Put Policies in Place

Foster ethical behavior by having company guidelines to live and work by. Put actual policies in place outlining exactly what is and what’s not tolerated at the company. Read them outloud during a company meeting so everyone’s aware of the policies. Let the rules be known and share what will happen if they’re broken. Require written knowledge that each employee has seen and read the code of conduct. Remind employees of the policies often and let them know how serious you are about it.

Be Present

It’s easy for employees to goof around and break the rules when the boss is absent. Although you trust most of them, it’s up to you to show your face often enough that they won’t be tempted to mess around. Be there to watch employees and their behavior. Get to know individuals on a personal level and learn about them, without being judgmental. Notice if an employee starts to act up or not perform their job duties. Inquire about those who are staying late to work all of the time. Although you want to, it’s not enough to simply trust other people. Be proactive and intentional in your monitoring.

Enforce the Consequences

Show the workers that you’re serious about punishing those who can’t follow the rules. Talk to them, put them on probation or let them go. This will set the tone for the rest of the group and prove that your policies stand strong. Let the company know that misbehaving isn’t tolerated

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