Help! I'm dealing with a disgruntled former employee. She was fine while she worked here, and I even agreed to be a reference for her in the future. But since she left she has bad-mouthed me and my company—even leaving a terrible Glassdoor review. Meanwhile, she quit without a new opportunity lined up and still doesn't have a new job. How do I handle this situation?
Getting a Bad Reputation
Dear Bad Reputation,
Barring employees that leave for personal reasons like becoming a stay-at-home parent or moving out of town, someone who quits without another job lined up is either deeply unhappy in their current role, or is simply flaky. I suspect that your former employee was both of these things.
She probably assumed that she would easily land a new job and could just leave all her frustrations behind by quitting. Now she doesn't have a job and blames you for her problems.
However, understanding her doesn't really help your situation. So what do you do about it?
Nothing. You do nothing. Think about it: if she's complaining on social media, it's unlikely that anyone outside of her small circle will notice. As for Glassdoor, one bad review will be counteracted by the good reviews you have.
But, if you hire an attorney to send her a cease and desist letter, or furiously Tweet back at her and accuse her of lying, she'll feel like this is a battle that she has to win. If you just ignore it, she'll get tired of screaming into the wind.
With that said, you should still be proactive about your company's presence across social media, online forums and other channels where people talk about their jobs. Building a solid social media identity ensures that if someone starts saying horrible things about your company online, you'll have an avenue where you control the information, and where you can direct readers that want to find out more about your brand.
Even if your company is small, create a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Your posts can be boring—in fact, being boring is the best way to stay out of trouble. Just make sure that what you share is positive: "We are so excited to have Bob's House of Pancakes as our new client today!" or "We're sending out tax forms this week! If your business needs help with their forms, give us a call!" Think of it as marketing.
Your goal is to have your Twitter account appear in a Google search above a Tweet containing your former employee's rants.
As for her complaints, they'll blow over.
Suzanne Lucas, Evil HR Lady
Photo: Creative Commons
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