How to Handle “Doomsday” Employees

Doomsday EmployeeQ: I have a “Doomsday” employee causing stress and frustration; what should I say to them?

A: As we have discussed before, fear is easy to come by right now. Everywhere we turn we’re hearing nothing but doom and gloom, so it’s not surprising some employees may be more sensitive to that. The best way to address this type of situation or employee is head-on, and in a private conversation. It’s a good idea to get your human resources representative involved so they can help guide the conversation and stay on track.

Remember to begin with the end in mind: “I want to understand why you’re feeling this way and what we can do together to make it better while you’re here at the office.” There is usually a root cause as to why this type of behavior is happening; always look for it. Let the employee talk to you about their concerns and fears openly and then provide them with the positive steps your organization is taking to mitigate those fears.

In the end, it has to stop because it’s disruptive to the rest of the workplace. Acknowledge that you hear their concerns, and that as an organization we’re doing our best to keep people safe and able to earn a living at the same time. Make clear that if they have concerns, they need to come to you first privately because doing otherwise can cause unnecessary disruptions for the rest of the workplace.

Is your business struggling with employee issues related to COVID-19? We can help with that. Contact Jennifer Heylmun at 281-469-1800 or by email at to schedule a Discovery meeting.

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