Losing an employee is never easy, for either the employee or the business. No matter how well it is handled, there is always the chance there will be bad blood.
Over half of all Americans are not satisfied with their jobs. With the advent of social media, there are even more places for disgruntled former employees to air their grievances. If you’re worried about their online reactions, try these tips to prevent a PR nightmare.
1) Plan Ahead – Non-disparagement agreements may seem extreme, but sometimes just the idea of legal action can stop negative comments online. It’s best to have employees sign these documents while they are still employed. If that’s not possible, tie the signing of it to the receipt of their severance pay or some other benefit.
Your company should also have a social media policy in place for negative comments of all kinds, from clients as well as former employees. This is not just for former employees, but for current ones as well, such as videos of themselves behaving badly at work.
2) Reach Out – It could be that all it takes to stop a former employee’s online tirades is a little attention. Try getting in touch with them over the phone. Email can lead to tone confusion. Talk through their feelings with them. They’re feeling very emotional and vulnerable. Instead of having a shouting match, you can be a source of comfort.
3) Be Firm – Like a non-disparagement agreement, a cease and desist letter can work wonders without requiring any actual legal action. If a phone call doesn’t work, a written letter that their behavior has been noticed and could have consequences can be the cold shower that brings them back to rationality.
It’s always best not to burn bridges, and that includes you as the employer. The way you handle former employees may impact your ability to attract top talent. If you want to be an employer of choice, don’t give into bad-mouthed shenanigans.