Disgruntled Employees on Social Media

Social media is useful in so many ways. It helps us keep in touch with friends and family, it helps us stay up dated on world events, it even allows celebrities to connect with fans and followers.  But as with most things, there are down sides to the snaps, chats, posts and tweets.

Below are actual employer reviews found on INDEED, a job posting website.    

Managers are incompetent to destructive–and are tolerated by upper management. And there is no hope of advancement or professional development.

Work/Life Balance is pretty much non-existent in this role.

I was not happy with the way things were done in the department I was working in. I think they could use to reevaluate their management and the way things are done. Nobody is trained the same, so you think you are doing things correctly and then you find out you are not.

This is a great place to work if you want to be OUTSOURCED to INDIA! I gave up too many years of my life to this company. I thought they hung the moon. However, when they want you out, you are out. They will make things up just to push you out!! 

Comments like these are tough to read, and when prospective candidates research to discover what working at a company is “really” like, these posts can truly tarnish your brand. Surprisingly, two of these posts are from former employees of a company that is consistently ranked as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For!

Leaving a company, voluntarily or involuntarily, is an emotional experience, and tensions can run high.   But, especially when an employer makes the decision to terminate an employee, one’s ego can be bruised and lead to negative behavior.  I have never known anyone who admitted that he deserved to be fired. In today’s social media culture, people what to share their experiences with the world, and often before thinking, post an inflammatory comment as a way to lash out at an employer. When this happens, what’s an employer to do?

There are a number of actions an employer can take.

  • Monitor sites for negative comments. Take a proactive stance in managing your company brand. Look for trends. Are all of the comments referencing a single department? Do the negative comments spike at certain times, ex. after salary increases, change in policy? Then investigate the concerns and seek resolution.
  • Social media makes it easy for individuals to exhibit passive aggressive behavior. After all, one can post anonymously or using an alias. So it is difficult to respond directly to the poster. However, some sites allow responses to posts, which provide an opportunity for employers to attempt to reach out to the poster, and resolve concerns. I have seen employers respond with posts like “our goal at (enter company name) is to provide an environment that is engaging for all employees. We regret that you feel that we have missed the mark. Do contact the HR department, we would like to discuss your concerns.” The number of posters who take action is probably small, but at least you let the individual know that you are aware of the concern and want to address it.
  • Be proactive and create a Social Media policy. The policy should address company expectations of on-line behavior as well as consequences for policy infractions. 
  • In the event a termination decision must be made, make sure to cross all “t’s” and dot all “i’s.” Make sure you have all supporting documentation and have complied with all employment law standards to justify the termination. Again, no one ever feels that they deserve to be terminated, but if you have the evidence to strongly support your case and make it clear to the employee during the termination discussion what the determining factors were, it may reduce the employee’s perception that he has been ‘wronged.’
  • If you know that the negative comments are not warranted, and do not reflect the workplace environment, then ask contented employees to post positive comments. These posts will overshadow the negative one(s) and push them down on the comment thread.

There is seemingly no end in sight for the social media craze. I must confess, I too once posted a negative comment on a site after I didn’t get a job that I KNOW I was best qualified for, don’t we all feel that way, but after later reflection, regretted it.