It’s a pretty common scenario nowadays. An employee with a complaint about your company gets on social media and tells the whole world how much she thinks you suck. Ouch.
You’re not at all pleased with this display of dirty laundry and disloyalty, and your feelings are a little hurt, too. What an ingrate! Perhaps this employee should work elsewhere—you’d be only too happy to show her the door.
But wait! Maybe there’s a better way to handle the situation. Before giving the employee the boot, consider:
Politely requesting a cease and desist
In the practical sense, that is. Dust off that company policy manual. I’m betting there’s something in there about how disparaging the organization is a big no no. If the employee has clearly violated the rules, let her know. She’ll probably be so embarrassed to be found out she’ll never post another nasty again.
Depending on your company size, the nature of the complaint, and the complainer’s position within the organization, you might just want to ignore those grumblings. Employees complain about their jobs all the time, and the larger the company the more complaints that are bound to surface. Do you think Walmart reprimands every associate who posts something unflattering about the company? Please.
If you’re seeing a lot of employee complaints about matters of significance, maybe there’s a real issue that needs attention. When you view those complaints in light of your turnover stats, your sales numbers, or your customer feedback, do you see a negative pattern? If so, perhaps it’s time to ask a few questions about what’s really going on within the company. Who knows? This could be the beginning of a wonderful new phase in the life of the organization!
(Bonus points if your company is doing fine, but you’re interested enough in your employees’ well being that you ask a few questions anyway.)
Weighing it down
You’d be amazed at how efficiently good press can outweigh bad. Yes, your employees are complaining about you on Facebook, but your Facebook page is covered with stories about charities you support, awards you’ve won, and employee-friendly programs. As they say, every story has two sides. Make sure you tell yours.
Finally, remember that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) guarantees employees the right to discuss work conditions freely, so while you may not appreciate certain public comments your employees have posted, the law may protect their right to post them.