As busy as you are, the last thing you need to deal with is griping about a hygiene problem.
But unfortunately, it’s a problem many managers end up dealing with at one time or another.
For example: Human Resources may call you into a situation where an employee’s scent offends others working around them.
Or people may complain about one of your staffers and then you’ve got to get involved.
Most people want to know
This isn’t a situation any manager looks forward to.
Here’s the good news: According to a study by the Emily Post Institute, 75% of respondents said they’d want a co-worker to tell them if they had persistent body odor, bad breath or a similar problem.
Here are three things to keep in mind if you ever need to handle a hygiene complaint:
1. Keep it private
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself, “How would I want to be told if I had a problem?”
Do it in private. If necessary do it off-site or even after work hours if you’re concerned other people might be listening in.
A good way to broach the subject: “If the roles were reversed, I’d want you to tell me right away, because it impacts my reputation.”
2. Don’t wait
The longer you wait, the more impatient the people who are complaining may become. You don’t want them taking matters into their own hands or making a careless remark to the person.
Nip it in the bud. Have the talk ASAP. Like the Emily Post study shows, most people want to know.
3. Follow up
Solving hygiene problems often requires long-term changes by the person – and unfortunately it can require repeated reminders.
Don’t assume the problem’s over once you’ve had the talk. Have HR follow up with the people who complained soon after.