How To Deal with Bad Comments From Former Employees

Today Jody and I are answering a question submitted by Melanie Maximus. Melanie asks, “How do you handle negatives posts online or comments in person from former employees?”

In the wake of an ongoing pandemic, businesses have closed or have had to lay off employees at an unprecedented rate. While the reasoning may be understandable, it doesn’t mean there won’t be some upset former team member left in the wake. As a leader, it doesn’t matter if the feedback is from a disappointed former employee or a disgruntled one, make sure you engage them with ethics and honesty. You can let them know you are sorry for how things turned out. You can listen to them and let them know they are heard.

Whether the comments are online or in person, don’t get into a debate. For feedback left on an online forum, don’t address it online. That is a sure-fire way to blow it up. If the comments are in person, hear them, treat them with compassion and remain calm. Don’t defend yourself and don’t try to convince them. You can validate how they feel without taking on the burden of their frustration.

We have all had to make tough decisions. We have also all encountered tough outcomes. For those who have found themselves laid off, the best thing you can do now is play the long game, not the short frustrated one. If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is that a crisis will come. Our best bet is to prepare now. Plan ahead. Save money. Ask yourself what would happen if you lost a job. Have a strategy. You must think about yourself. Don’t depend on the company. The company is going to protect itself, so you need to depend on yourself.

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