How to Handle Damage to your Reputation from Ex-Employees
If you are a business owner, then one of your goals is to get good people working for you. You take time to vet the applicants and train the ones you pick. You do what you can to ensure they succeed and integrate them into your business.
It can be frustrating when one of your ex-employees goes out of their way to make negative remarks or post things that put you in a bad light. The people who read what they wrote may get the wrong idea about your business, and that can hurt your marketplace position and your reputation.
If this happens in your life to you and your company, you can do a few things to counter the attack and handle the situation.
1. Control your reaction
Your worst move when this happens would be to get all upset. If you respond to their attack with an attack of your own and meet them in anger, then you can make the situation worse. Saying mean things back to them, posting information that might damage them or filing a lawsuit makes you look bad. It also encourages the attacker to respond in kind. You can be angry about it, for sure, but you shouldn’t let that emotion control you.
2. Flag inaccurate reviews
A lot of review sites will allow you to flag reviews that are inappropriate or misleading. This action is usually labelled as “flag as inappropriate” or something similar. By taking that action, you can show that the attacker is disgruntled and not speaking from a place without bias. You do want to be careful about flagging every negative review. If there is merit to some of what they are saying, you can hurt yourself trying to get rid of it.
3. Respond in an even manner
Your best bet is always to take the high road. Make sure your language is calm and show some concern for your ex-employee. Ensure you make your company’s policy on the issue clear and discuss how privacy laws prohibit you from discussing the details at length. Make sure you aren’t engaging in any type of back and forth argument with the reviewer. That just makes you look out of control.
4. Stand firm against fraud
When the claims the former employee makes are false, then you can take some legal action. You may want to start by seeking legal counsel. Make sure you tell the site that hosts the review that slander is being put onto their site, and they may do something about it. You can even notify the Federal Trade Commission of the breach, and they may take action as well.
5. Fight it with positive reviews
One of the better ways to fight this problem is to use positive reviews to overwhelm the negative review. You can talk to employees, customers and business associates and ask them to write reviews for your company. Try to direct them to the same site that the negative review is on, since that is where people will discover it. The more positive reviews you receive, the less relevant the negative review will seem.
6. Look for validity in what is being said
There will be plenty of times when a former employee is just being a jerk. However, sometimes there is some truth to what they are saying when they are angry with you or your company. While you don’t have to say that they are right, you can examine some of the issues that the review brings up. If you address them, you may be able to prevent future bad reviews. Sometimes, the solution requires something as small as making a policy clearer or just communicating more to your employees.
No one likes it when their reputation is damaged, and it is especially frustrating when it is a former employee doing the damage to them. However, if you can keep your wits about you and handle negative reviews quickly and calmly, you can repair the damage that has been done.