What do you do when one of your best employees quits or when one of your best customers or suppliers no longer wishes to do business with you, all because they finally confide, they were not treated well.
Doing effective damage control is imperative to not only attempt to retrieve or mend what has been lost, it’s also to prevent the situation escalating or arising again.
The first thing to do is to address the situation as soon as possible. It’s not going to go away magically by itself!
Speak to the individual(s) involved and find out what occurred from their perspective. If you discern that they were in fact poorly treated or harassed, ask them, “Is there anything that you can say or do to encourage them to reconsider and stay? What can be done, if anything to make amends? How can you support them in this transition?”
If they do reconsider and decide to give your company another chance, personally oversee that they are being treated well and have all that they need. Check in with them regularly to get feedback on how things are going.
Ensure that all your staff and principal company members are trained on the latest standard operating procedures (SOPs) and protocols to be followed at all times regardless of their rank and position within the company. Update your SOPs when applicable to incorporate any necessary changes or improvements.
If not already in place, make sure that you introduce stringent and clear protocols & guidelines on how your employees, clients, customers, suppliers, JV partners, independent contractors etc. are to be treated and if this is not adhered to, it will result in corrective disciplinary action and/or instant termination.
Make sure your managers supervise your employees to ensure your protocols and procedures are adhered to and have them check in with you weekly or bi-monthly about your employees conduct, performance and treatment of clients.
If any of your employees have not been treated fairly or there’s been any situation where they have been coerced, bullied or sexually harassed make sure that there is zero tolerance of this behavior so that it never happens again.
Have an open door policy when your people are facing serious problems. Provide the opportunity for all your employees to be able to openly communicate with you if ever an issue does arise, where they have no fear of recourse and they can talk to you honestly about what they are dealing with. Reassure and support all your staff so that they feel taken care of.
Give your clients the opportunity to fill in an anonymous survey where they can rate your company on the services you provide and express any concerns they have or make suggestions about how your services, products, procedures and protocols can be improved.
Have an anonymous survey available for everyone within your company so that they can do the same thing and leave their comments as well.
For those individuals that do not wish to reconsider, make sure you thank them for their feedback and honesty in person. You may wish to send them a gift, a restaurant gift voucher or something of value as a sign of your appreciation of them.
Finally, send them a follow up letter, acknowledging them and what they meant to you and your company. Let them know that you’d be delighted to have them back if they choose to reconsider in the future. This will be a welcoming gesture on your part. It lets them know that the door is always open if they wish to change their mind and helps to mitigate the damage that was done overall.