When it’s hot we can become more aware of other people’s bodies and not always in a good way 🙂
Tackling an individual who has a problem with body odour is one of the least liked management and HR tasks.
It has to be up there with handling a redundancy. Yet it needs to be tackled and in many instances those who do address the issue find that the recipient respects their honesty and support in dealing with the root cause.
Much of the time other people will walk away from the problem and hope it will go away.
So if you are asked to address an issue with an employee, here’s some tips to dealing with it effectively.
- Get the person seated away from other people.
- Explain the difficulty you have in making this approach.
- Show sincerity. Do not laugh.
- Explain that you have a ‘keen sense of smell/ and that you’ve noticed an aroma around them each time you’ve come into contact with them. DON’T SAY EVERYONE HAS NOTICED IT!
- Explain that you have waited to make sure it’s not a one off and that you need to talk to them about it before other people start to notice and talk about it.
- Don’t let them interrupt during this bit, so you can get your point across in its entirety.
- Tell them about how the bacteria grows on the hair under the arms and is transferred to clothing. So maybe their deodorant or washing powder is letting them down.
- Then ask the crunch question of them. What do you think it could be? Then shut up and let them speak.
- Some people may become aggressive, defensive or upset at this point so be prepared.
- Explain that you want to help them with this. This creates empathy.
- Monitor the situation. If it improves give them the thumbs up and if no improvement get together with them again and find out what happening.
- Ultimately you may need to use your disciplinary procedures. But this is extremely rare.
If you need assistance with any HR or Employment law issue calls us on 01527 306135.