On 5th January 2016 the topic on BBC Radio 3 Counties Drive with Rob show was ‘people moaning on Facebook about going back to work after Christmas, should these complaints be taken seriously by employers, or should they turn a blind eye?’ and, as Hertfordshire’s tip top HR specialist (Rob’s words not ours), I was asked to comment on air.
In summary, it depends on the nature of the post, the audience reading the status update, the employer and the job. To listen to the interview, Click here.
A lot of the time, people experience ‘New Year blues’ and it’s only the thought of going back to work that is a hassle. Many people dread the thought of having to get up early, put a suit on, put makeup on, drive to and from work and actually wear a proper pair of shoes after wearing their slippers for the past two weeks over Christmas!! In this case, it’s just whinging and once the employee is back to their working routine and in the swing of things they are fine and therefore comments on Facebook complaining about going back to work should be taken with a pinch of salt and ignored.
However, if the comments are combined with other negative behaviours, and the employee continues to have a bad attitude, to moan about how much they hate their job and their boss or they discuss their feelings with clients and suppliers, you, as the employer need to take notice of this and manage the situation in a calm, considered and legally compliant manner. Now, don’t be irrational and go ahead and fire them – it is not as simple as that; talk to your employee and find out what their issues are. Many people’s New Year resolutions are to get a promotion or change departments, or even change their career path completely. Sometimes people genuinely aren’t happy in the job they’re in and that is when the employer must step in and ask their employee(s), what can I do to keep you engaged and stimulated? As an employer you should do all you can to be fair and keep your employees happy, engaged and productive – it is better for business. Recent reports indicated that as many as 18% of employees start to job hunt in January and over 20% cited being bored at work as the primary motivator.
Many employees are unlikely to look forward to going back to work after having a relaxing and joyful two week break over Christmas with family and friends. Going back after a summer holiday is no different. Everyone is entitled to a little whinge and moan, however, as an employer, keep an eye out for a bigger pattern of negative behaviour, because it may be more than just a moan!