Responding to Negative Employee Comments on the Web

HR Resource
February 4, 2013 — 2,471 views  
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Often frustrated employees can place negative comments about your company on major social media platforms. It can create a negative outcome for the employer and the employee. Employees that read the negative comment on the Web may react negatively too and post some more information which can harm your company’s reputation.

Negative comments on the Web about your company, especially your employees, can have an unwanted impact on your business. Consumers often look for good service, no matter what the product is. Negative reviews about the company can lead to consumer complaints and create an overall bad image of the company.

Options for the company

Employers need to draw a fine line between slander that can be harmful for the company and statements that are made against co-workers or seniors. Many seniors take drastic actions such as firing their co-workers for ‘bad mouthing’ in social media websites.

But the employee has all the right to sue the employer as per NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) guidelines. In such a case, the employer has to provide sufficient statistical data or case studies as proof of the fact that the statements published by the plaintiff have negatively impacted its productivity and reputation. Otherwise, the employer has to provide the legal compensation demanded by the plaintiff.

Converse

Firing employees is not the best solution to prevent negative feedback on the Web and can cause more damage to the atmosphere in the workplace. When the company encounters negative comments on the Web, it should first assess the problem. In some cases, the employee’s reason behind the negative comment can be genuine. It gives you an opportunity to improve your work system to increase employee satisfaction.

Another approach to deal with this situation is talking to the employee personally rather than on a public platform such as a social networking site. If the employee’s comments are unjustified, solving the problem internally can avoid public confrontation.

Controlling Employees’ Behavior Online

Online interactions that take place after work hours cannot be prohibited by employers. Companies have the full right to restrict employees from any negative online interaction, which is not in their favor, during working hours.

Employers have full right to intervene if they find any employee’s online interactions placing the company or the employer at any form of legal risk like revealing confidential information about the company, violating Federal Trade Commission rules on company products, and harassing or threatening a co-worker. Employees need to be careful in determining what type of statements can cause problems for the company. For instance, employees complaining about their pay are not exactly against the company’s reputation. But employee comments that go against the company services and products must be immediately dealt with.

Prevention Rather Than Repair

The best way to prevent negative feedback of your employees towards your company is by establishing good internal communication system. Creating an internal feedback system that can let employers to communicate with their employees can help prevent bad feedback being posted on public platforms such as social networking sites.

Companies should welcome negative and positive employee comments and provide solutions to the problem. It will help increase employee retention and employee engagement in the company. Building a good social media policy that blocks the usage of social media at workplace is another method to reduce negative employee comments being posted on the Web.

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