Social Question

jonsblond's avatar

If you were a business owner, what would you do if your employees were badmouthing your company?

Asked by jonsblond (36885 points ) December 1st, 2010

If you are a business owner, how would this make you feel? How would you handle the situation?

If you aren’t, be as creative (or serious) as you would like.

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23 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I would make them eat dirt.or clay ;)

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Ask them where they want their last paycheck sent and show them the door.

chyna's avatar

I would talk to them first to see what their issues were. If we couldn’t come to some kind of understanding, I would suggest we part ways. If an employee is bad mouthing their own company, it gives the customers a bad feel for the company and won’t want to return. Customers should be the number one priority.

Cruiser's avatar

I would glue their mouth shut! XD

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Make them remake The Human Centipede.

Eclipse's avatar

Fire them and then hire someone to rape their families.

chyna's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Just when I get that image out of brain, you bring it back.~

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I was going to say fill their mouths with clay and then glue their lips shut, but that image jumped into my head. I think I blame symbeline.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Tie them up and make them listen to Barney.

Or fire them. Depends on what kind of mood I’m in.

tinyfaery's avatar

If the employee is doing it on their own time then that’s their business. Mostly, it makes the complainer look like an ass for complaining about a job they can quit. If the employee is complaining on my time then I would directly ask them why they want to be employed by the company when they obviously do not like it. I think that would make the employee feel ashamed and uncomfortable enough to STFU or quit.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I would spend at least a few minutes trying to figure out why they are doing it. Are their concerns/criticisms valid? Talk with them about it then explain whether or not you can address the issues. Remind them their paychecks depend upon the success of the business and dirty laundry should be aired at home.

If they are all doing it, you might consider looking in the mirror.

bunnygrl's avatar

Where I work, our head office have a department whose sole purpose is to detect derogatory mentions online and trace them, we have posters dotted around the place warning us that we can be disciplined or even be fired if we bad mouth the company online (ie:facebook etc). So, some companies really do take it seriously, and after all, you’re relying on your employer for your salary, isn’t it in your best interest for them to do well? It’s kind of a no brainer really.
hugs xx

wundayatta's avatar

If I were being sensible, I would talk to the employee and find out why they were saying these things.

If I followed my instincts, I fire them on the spot.

jonsblond's avatar

@bunnygrl I’ve heard of some companies that do that. Sounds like a comfy position. Where do I apply? ;)

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@bunnygrl Ouch! That’s why I only let “friends” view ANYTHING on my facebook page, including basic info. If you allow “friends of friends” to view stuff, you never know who else could see it. :-)

holli's avatar

It’s very inappropriate to bad mouth the company you work for. As the owner I think you would want to learn as much about the issue as possible because there could be some great lessons here. Does this person have a point? Do they need to feel more ownership in the organization? Need more responsibility? Or perhaps need a reality check because having a job is a bit of a luxury for many of us right now and bad mouthing the org you work for hurts the individual and the entire organization.

bunnygrl's avatar

@jonsblond I couldn’t agree more, being paid to do nothing else but surf and drink coffee all day long, wonder what the formal job description looks like?

@Dr_Dredd Agreed. It creeps me out thinking how many sinister little folk are out there, the thing is, most people are (until they get stung a few times, sadly) very trusting and it’s so easy to forget that the net has the potential to be a very unsafe place.
hugs honeys xx

marinelife's avatar

I would look seriously at what the employees were saying and try to improve my business.

wgallios's avatar

I think it depends on what they were saying. Like @marinelife said, I would first review it to see if its something we could fix. Say they were saying “The company offers no vacation time during Christmas and I hate that! But I don’t care about the company, its just getting me by for now”, or something to that effect, I would like to think I would work with them to correct the issue.

However if it was something like, “Oh don’t from them, their product is total B.S.”. In that situation we may have some type of issues, I would probably let that person go.

Or perhaps if they were bad mouthing someone, say the business owner for example, “He doesn’t know what he is doing, I dont know why he started this business. He’s such an idiot!”. I think I would consult with them first to see why they are thinking that way, and what changes again could be made to correct it.

AmWiser's avatar

I would definitely try to find out what the employees are so unhappy about and exactly what problems do they have with the company. If they (employees) didn’t try to air their dislikes or what they perceived as problems beforehand, than termination would still be inevitable.

BarnacleBill's avatar

First I would investigate what they are saying and why. If you ask why 5 times, you get at the root cause of the problem. Usually the problem is a disgruntled employee, lack of communication, or a problem that I would not be aware of that was serious. (This happens a lot.)

Next, I would look at my hiring criteria. Did I hire people because they were willing to work cheaply? Because they would do what I asked without questioning? Perhaps I made bad hires for the wrong reason.

Secondly, do I have family members in key positions who are not pulling their weight, or are using their family position as an excuse to slack off? Is a family member stealing from business? Leveraging their position over employees?

Working in small businesses, people are generally unhappy when the owner is a poor communicator, or has a patriarchal way of running the business (“my way or the highway”) and are often obstinate about improvements or the importance of problems. Sometimes problems are averted when an owner says “I want you to do it this way because___ (valid reason, not “because I own the business and I said so.”) That gives the employee an opening to say, “there’s this software that will enable us track inventory/improve billing/whatever”.

Sometimes people really do need to be fired. They don’t want to work.

I once worked for a company where a former manager had the keys, and was coming in at night to use computers and copier equipment. He would scare the girl who stayed to do the billing. She assumed because he was coming in, the owner said it was okay, so she complained to the other people that worked there, about how creepy the guy was to her. Finally, someone went to the owner and got mad at him, and said why are you letting this guy come in after hours? The owner had no idea, and within an hour, every single door lock on the building was changed, and keys issued only to certain people. It turnes out there were people who had bootleg keys to the building, and were stealing stuff.

It was a good lesson in management can’t fix problems they aren’t aware of existing.

HolisticBusinessCoaching's avatar

The way you wrote the question, it does not sound like you are experiencing this for yourself so I do not think I will offend you when I say…

An organization is fully a reflection of its leadership. If you are experiencing ‘cancerous’ employees, it might be time to take a look at yourself.

Whatever decisions the leader made (or didn’t, which is still a decision) has created the circumstances in which these employees now feel open to badmouthing. So as a leader one must own these actions. And in doing so, they will regain influence and respect.

@BarnacleBill I agree with you about hiring criteria and communication and I will add that this can only be as clear as the leader who oversees it.

So to actually answer the question… If it were my company, I would feel like there is an opportunity for me to step up and own my actions. That there is an opportunity to show up more powerfully with my team. And, if I was unable to do this, I guess I would have to fire myself. If your employees are cancerous, it is spreading from the leader. If it cannot be healed, the cancerous leader must be cut out completely.

jonsblond's avatar

@HolisticBusinessCoaching My husband has an internet radio show. When he first started over a year ago, his co-host would make comments on air during the show. Comments that badmouthed the show. My husband got fed up, thought about doing the show without him, then decided to give him another chance. He told his co-host he needed to shut the f#!% up or he would no longer be the co-host. I lived through this stressful time with my husband. His co-host is/was a Debbie Downer. He’s always been that way. We’ve known him for years.

When my husband spoke with him, his co-host said he thought he was being funny with his comments, but realized what he was doing was not good for business. He stopped making those comments about their business because he wanted to continue with the show. The badmouthing had nothing to do with the business. It was the bad attitude of the co-host that needed to be nipped in the bud.

Yes, sometimes leadership can be bad, but that is not always the case. Some employees do have a bad attitude that they bring to the workplace. This is not the cause of the leadership.

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