Sayon went looking for advice on a foul smelling temp worker.   See the advice she got from a staffing pro.


She's only 18 and this is her first job that wasn't working fast food. Her uncle is a full time employee in another part of the company.

Me- senior employee, I don't have the title of supervisor as I only have one other full time lower seniority coworker in my section who I will call V. We have temp workers that come and go as needed that I sometimes have to oversee.

So, A started a couple of months ago and I really have limited close contact with her. She works side by side with V and other temps, as needed.

Almost immediately, I noticed a strong lingering smell in the bathroom and I assumed someone was on their period.

The smell did not go away. I soon realized it was strongest when I was in the bathroom at the same time as A.

I mention to V and she tells me that it's A's natural body odor and that her and the temps had noticed it long before me. V said they just hold their breath around A because they don't want to hurt her feelings.

[...]  Anyway, I am looking for a kind and tactful way to bring it up with her without hurting her feelings. 

Staffing pro:

I work as a Recruiter for a staffing agency, so I've had to deal with these situations before.

I've also had to have hygiene conversations with our internal staff: I've only been with the company about 4 years, but since it's a male dominated organization I qualify as a senior woman in the office and get tapped for these types of conversations even though it's not my job description either!

So I actually have a decent amount of experience in these situations. (Everyone has their own talents, I suppose)

Say something to the effect of "listen, this is a little uncomfortable for me to say, but I would rather you hear it from me than someone else. I want to make sure you're healthy, and I've honestly just noticed a little bit of an odor. It's no big deal, this is something people deal with all the time, but I definitely wanted to make sure you were aware of it. I would want someone to tell me!" Then maybe help her find a solution, maybe find a doctor if that might be the solution. Who knows what her home life is and what guidance she's getting there.

The main thing to remember is the person giving the feedback is ALWAYS more uncomfortable than the person receiving the feedback. Your heart is going to be racing. But think of it from this perspective - you're not trying to be mean or hurt her feelings at all. You're actually the ONLY person in her life that cares enough to say something and that's very, very amazing of you. Try not to think of her as a smelly employee, but as a young girl who can use your help.

Good luck!