Earlier this year, Greg Smith, a Goldman Sachs executive, quit the company and wrote a scathing op-ed in The New York Times as part of his resignation, saying that the firm was using unscrupulous business practices and ripping off its clients. This led to a feeding frenzy and a full-on attack against Goldman Sachs by the media and the general public, creating a major headache for the company and causing significant damage to its brand.
Such is the power that disgruntled employees hold.
They can bring your brand to its knees, spreading all sorts of nasty rumors about your company or wreaking havoc in a host of other ways. Even if they’re not as bold and aggressive with their attacks as Smith was, disgruntled employees can damage your brand in other ways, such as simply failing to do their work properly and hurting your customer service.
How can you make sure a disgruntled employee doesn’t hurt your brand? The key is to prevent your employees from becoming unhappy in the first place. How do you do that?
1. Frequently ask your employees how they’re doing. A simple “Hey, how are you?” can go a long way to showing your employees you care about them. If you never take the time to show interest in the well-being of your employees, they’ll feel you don’t value them and that you aren’t concerned about them. Why would anyone want to work for someone who doesn’t care about them?
2. Encourage your employees. In too many cases, management takes a negative tone and approach with employees. Rather than encouraging and motivating them, they pick them apart and point out their faults. You need to focus on inspiring your employees. Keep a positive tone, and give them encouragement regularly.
3. Show your employees you trust them. A lack of trust kills the boss-employee relationship. If you want your employees to trust and respect you, you have to return the favor. It truly is a two-way street.
4. Focus on career development. No one wants to feel that they’re stuck in their current job forever. When employees feel they’ve reached a dead end, they lose motivation and begin to hate their jobs. You need to take an interest in the development of your employees. Find ways to help them grow within your company.
5. Keep your employees in the loop. It’s important to keep your employees current on company happenings. Good relationships are built on communication. If your employees don’t understand the bigger picture, they’re not going to take an interest in doing their very best at their jobs and helping the company succeed. Your employees want to feel that they matter and that they’re really art of the team. You need to listen to them and use their feedback.
What are some other things you do to keep your employees from becoming disgruntled? Please share your best tips by commenting below.
A version of this article first appeared on PR Fuel.