You come into work, ready to slay the day! Your mood is bright, your smile sunny and you have a positive outlook on the day. Maybe you are a list maker, and you are happily crossing To Do items off of said list. Then it happens. Cue that movie music – dun du dunnnn – can you hear it? An employee comes to you and says something like, “I don’t want anyone to get in trouble…..BUT…._______ is happening and it is really bothering me”.
If you are a manager, chances are, this has happened to you. If it hasn’t yet, be assured that one day, it probably will. How do you respond? What do you say? How do you react? The first thing to do is to take a deep breath and remind yourself not to make any judgements about what the employee has related to you. Do not let the desire to go back to your productive day and just make this go away cause you to brush off the employee. Do not make a decision about whether the behaviors causing the employee to come to you are actually illegal harassment and/or discrimination. And know that your next words to this employee are super important. There are a lot of things to NOT say and I’ll give you a short list at the end of this article. For now, I’m going to give all you lucky readers a short script for when someone comes to you with any kind of complaint.
Start with something like this, “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The company takes these things very seriously and it is important to us that our dealership operate in a professional manner as it says in our handbook”. Then, assure the employee that you will keep this conversation as confidential as possible and only those key people who need to know will be involved, and that you are obligated to follow the company policies and procedures (which hopefully directs you to HR). Let them know that they have done the right thing by coming to you. Then follow your company’s complaint procedure. (Note: it is always my advice that every complaint trigger an investigation—at the least an informal one to determine if an in depth investigation is warranted. When in doubt, call your labor attorney. You know what? Just call your labor attorney.)
Do not Retaliate. I repeat….Do Not Retaliate in any way, shape, or form.