Put down the phone, relax and breathe. Olivia Pope is not the only one you need to call on when there is a scandal causing havoc in the workplace. Here are a few ways to get things back to normal when your office is in chaos over a workplace scandal.
Acknowledge the problem. Have a meeting and acknowledge there is a problem in the workplace. You don’t have to be specific about who the parties are, but just let your employees know you are aware there are issues disrupting the flow of work. Apologize for any inconvenience the disruption may have or is causing and ask for your employees’ full participation to move forward with work as usual.
Find the influencers. Influencers will tremendously help with recovery. Have a prior conversation with the influencers leading up to the meeting so everyone is appropriately informed and in support of the process. Allow a few of the influential people to speak-up during group meetings to discuss how the problem has impacted their team’s performance. Ask that they use discretion and not to mention names, but just state the facts of how the problem has changed behaviors and productivity.
Be forthright. If there are any changes or adjustments as a result of an office scandal, let employees know. Help them understand that due to the recent events and issues associated with the leering problem, there are adjustments that need to be made and walk them through the process. Ask for their participation, cooperation and full support while you collectively transition and make these changes. Again, connect with your influencers to execute this process.
Focus on the future. Don’t get stuck in the present. When addressing the problem, plug-in futuristic statements. Be encouraging and let employees know that with their help, the company will get through this and the process will make you stronger in the end. Employees need reassurance from their leaders. They need to know their jobs are secure and that their voices are heard. You are responsible for delivering that message.
You can bounce-back from this by using effective communication skills and trusting the process. Before you know it, it will be business as usual or as Olivia Pope would say: “It’s handled.”
Mary V. Davids is the Founder and Managing Member of D&M Consulting Services, LLC. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management. Mary has over a decade of experience in cultivating employee engagement, enhancing employee motivation and workplace performance, leadership coaching and training & development. She also serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the South Florida Chapter of the National Association of African American’s in Human Resources. Book Mary to speak at your next event or hire Mary for leadership & professional development consultation today. Follow Mary on twitter @MVDavids.