Bad Apples

Most business owners who have been in business for any length of time have experienced an employee that has been dishonest or spiteful.  While we do our best to hire staff that are trustworthy, it is impossible to avoid all negative people.  Even the best employee in the world can over time turn into a bad apple.

Loosing a valued employee is an inevitable part of owning a business. It’s difficult enough when they leave on good terms, but when you have to let them go or they quit because they are unhappy, it can become a big negative influence on your business and personal life.

Finding ways to deal with angry ex-employees is important to your sanity and the morale of your current staff. I’ve come up with some ideas that help me move on that I’d like to share in case you’re ever in this situation.

  • Take the high road. Don’t discuss the reasons someone left with customers. This is especially difficult if you’ve had to let someone go for due cause (abuse, theft, embezzlement, etc.) but you’ll end up looking much classier if you don’t gossip.
  • Try not to listen to the “bad press”. I say try, because sometimes it’s hard to avoid ( I haven’t been perfect on this one or I wouldn’t know what people were saying about me!). While it is tempting to check them out on Facebook or try to find out what they’re saying, it’s maddening and draining and stressful, and letting it get to you does exactly what they intended. Don’t give them that power!
  • Correct false reviews. I don’t recommend flagging negative comments, preferring to answer them instead, but if someone has written a review that you can prove is false you have every right to ask that it be removed.
  • Realize how much you’ve learned from this person. There hasn’t been an employee, good or bad, that has worked for me in the last 20 years that hasn’t taught me something. You might be better at hiring, have new systems in place to protect your business, or be more pro-active with your employees because of the lessons they taught you.
  • Understand the emotions you are feeling are normal. It’s normal to feel betrayed, hurt, or jaded when someone you know turns on you.  Let yourself process these emotions, and then…
  • Try to move on from the situation. Remember it is not your fault.  Hopefully in the future, you will be able to spot a bad apple a little more quickly… but nobody can completely avoid bad people.  Remind yourself of employees you have that are good and trustworthy.  Try instead to focus your efforts on the good people you have in your shop or in your life and begin to rebuild trust again.



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