Dealing with Disgruntled Ex-employees via Social Media

SarahSimsYour company is forced to terminate someone’s employment, with good reason, and now the ex-employee is blasting your company on Twitter, Facebook and other popular social networks. Everything you’ve read about Social Media says you should be transparent and engage your audience – so how should you respond?

When dealing with social media, your responses should always be on a case-by-case basis. But in this case, let’s assume the rant is simply that – a rant – and it doesn’t raise legitimate, business-damaging issues. In that event, you DON’T respond.

Here are three reasons why, in THIS case, you should ignore disgruntled ex-employees on Social Networks.

1)     People know a rant when they read one

When an upset employee rants on a social media website they are usually just blowing off steam – and their audience sees that. The individual is just trying to generate sympathy or brew anger and, in most cases, readers know better than to take them too seriously.

2)     It’s a Human Resources issue

Companies are often legally restricted regarding what they can say in situations that involve HR issues. For this reason alone it’s usually best just to leave it be. Don’t put your company and yourself at risk of crossing a legal line.

3)     It’s a lose/lose situation

Nothing you say or do will make up for the loss of that person’s job so it’s best just to let it run its course. By engaging in a conversation you are just prolonging that individual’s fury and drawing more attention to that person and your situation.

When dealing with personalized attacks with no merit and no business-damaging substance, please consider that saying nothing is better than saying the wrong something.

  • http://www.hcci-ks.org/ Michelle D

    Great blog article! In a time where lives and business in general are so public, this presented great wisdom for small business entities that would probably be hurt financially if they fall prey of the comments of an ex employee.

  • http://www.hcci-ks.org Michelle D

    Great blog article! In a time where lives and business in general are so public, this presented great wisdom for small business entities that would probably be hurt financially if they fall prey of the comments of an ex employee.

  • Pingback: Consider the effect of social media throughout the employee lifecycle

  • Pingback: Consider the effect of social media throughout the employee lifecycle | News |Views |Reviews

  • gruntle me

    …so what about when your company deserves the rant?

  • http://www.jhpblog.com AlissaSheley

    gruntle me –
    Great question! It's sparked a lot of discussion amongst the jhP social media team, in fact, we believe your answer deserves it's own blog post. Stay tuned!

  • http://www.jhpblog.com AlissaSheley

    gruntle me -
    We've just posted a follow-up to this blog discussing companies that have bad publicity in social media and have deserved it. You can read about it here: http://www.jhpblog.com/social-media-crisis-mana

    To finish out this series, we're also planning a post from the disgruntled employee's perspective, and why it might not be a great idea to use social media as a retaliation tool.

  • Dhjg

    Thanks for the article, I am in the unenviable position of having to”let sometime go” due to financial reasons at the moment, she has posted on Facebook that she’s been “screwed over” and kickedin the gut” this of course is not the case and if it wasn’t necessary for my own survival in business it would have happened. Your article has helped me deal with the situation and define when the line has been crossed so thanks