Should I Tell My Colleague About His Body Odor?
Thanks for sending regular emails on the HR subject and enlightening me like always.
I am sharing with you a problem, however I do not know how to convey it to the person concerned.
Please help. I have a colleague of mine in our team with a very strong body odor. He has a great sense of style and dressing. By just looking at him you can’t even make out that he will not be conscious of his body odor. He is well qualified but seriously I would not want to be even in the same room when we are told to work together. How should I tell him so that I am not going to hurt his male ego?
I have always believed and experienced one thing in life.
People will accept and appreciate your inputs, if they feel that your feedback is for their own good and that you truly care for them.
You ought to sound “GENUINE” so that things work on the positive side.
I think your colleague is not ignorant on his body odour, it’s just that he himself might not know about it.
What I can make out from your mail is that you really want to help him so I see no way of you hurting his male ego.
Communicating effectively is a vital point here.
According to me there can be 2 approaches here.
You can go up to him and can tell “My dear friend you stink. Use a deo or people might stop talking to you“.
You you may suggest him that “My dear friend, as I am working with you for sometime now, I am a bit concerned and would like to suggest you to use a deodorant for hygiene and personal health. My intentions are to help you as I think this will help you in your career and would also increase your efficiency at workplace. Hope you don’t mind on my inputs as I see this will help you in the long term“
Which approach you think will be more effective?
On the first go it may come as a surprise to him, as there are some people for whom personal hygiene doesn’t matter that much. There are people who make it to adulthood without understanding which parts of their bodies need a good soaping regularly. Even though there are quite a number of deodorants in the market these days ranging from strong to mild (depending upon your stink capacity, people however ignore this basic hygiene aspect and consider it a bad investment.
So if your colleague is one of those guys, on the cheaper side ask him to wash his clothes regularly. So, if you guys share a good rapport, you need to explain to him in a polite manner that this may prove bad for his career. A bit of soap, some deodorant and laundry detergent would help him resolve this issue.
Further, if this thing is pointed out by a senior person, it could result in embarrassment for him. Make him understand that your discussion around this topic is for his own benefit and not that you would like to insult him. Your sense of genuineness will play a big role in this communication. I know being a female it would be challenging to convey such a thing but you never know your help may shape his career in the long run.
Further, I would ask you to suggest him to see a doctor as his stinking thing can be based on some medical problem, hence recommend him to bring it up as soon as this problem doesn’t become obvious to all. Secondly, if you feel that you would not be able to deal with it address it to your HR as a hygiene issue and let them take it up with him.
What do you think on my approach on this subject? These things sometimes becomes sensitive if taken wrongly by an individual. Let me have your views on this………please reply in the comments section below.