It’s summertime, summertime, sum- sum- summertime, and with summertime comes the opportunity for employees to come to work with body odor. Having to deal with this matter may be one of the most difficult issues a business owner or manager has to face, especially if you’re in a retail or business setting where a little sweat odor isn’t acceptable.
Most business owners and managers would rather have taken a beating than to deal with this matter. But allowing it to continue will disrupt even the best performing organizations.
Here’s our recommendations we want to share for handling this delicate and sensitive matter well:
- It starts long before the problem exists. It starts by building a trust relationship with an employee. A relationship in which a business owner or manager and employee a mutual trust and appreciation. Without this step none of the others will work well.
- Meet in private with the employee. (Possibly a comment like, “Hey, Bob, how about stopping by my office for a second before you head home today?,” might be a good way to set up the meeting.)
- Start the meeting with a statement such as, “I have a problem and need your help in solving it. May we problem solve together?”
- State the problem and the impact of the problem. (Customers have commented that you have a body odor problem and that it makes them want to limit their contact with you.)
- Reassure the person he/she is valued and appreciated.
- State, “It is important to solve this matter so that the whole team, including you is humming along and doing great work.”
- Ask, “How this matter might be solved.”
- Let the person talk. Listen and listen some more. Remember the problem isn’t the person, but the body odor, so reassure the person they are appreciated.
(Body odor might be a medical issue and perhaps an ADA issue, so be careful when changing working conditions that might adversely impact the person’s income.)
- Let the person solve the problem. (Let the person solve the problem, this allows them to maintain control of the matter and allows them to maintain his/her dignity.)
- At the end of the meeting reassure the person again.
- It might be wise just to get the facts and run it past an HR expert before coming to conclusions about the solution.
- Reinforce success.
- Reinforce success
- Reinforce success.