We have a small professional services firm with an employee who is good at what she does but likes to gossip and say negative things about how me and my sister manager our company to other employees. We just hired two new employees and we are fearful she will plant negative seeds in the minds of our new hires.
What can we do?
You have to monitor this employee’s behavior and language closely. At the first sign of negative statements relating to how you are running the company you have to address them directly and privately with this individual.
Having employees express complaints in an open forum where they can negatively impact the attitudes of others and build a ground swell of negativity in the workplace is unacceptable. If this person has an issue, that in your mind is valid or not, it is valid for them and must be addressed.
You need to convey two things:
1) That you are open to hearing employees complaints and work with them to have them resolved.
2) That open complaining to other team members is unacceptable and can be grounds for dismissal.
In the discussion keep it positive, reinforce the fact that she is a valuable member of the team and show that you are open to working with this individual to resolve her issues in a way that is mutually acceptable.
Let her know that you want to keep an open dialogue at all times with her and other employees to address issues of concern. But, also let her know that you own the company and must operate it in a way that you believe is in the best interests of long-term success for all and that openly negative comments about the company’s management strategy will not be tolerating under any circumstances.
Hope that helps, write back and let us know how it proceeds.