What’s going on in the office? They’re up to something and I think they might be planning a layoff.
Did you hear about John? I hear he’s getting a divorce.
I think they’re going to move the office. I can’t afford to travel any longer than I do now so I think I’m going to start putting out some feelers about a new job.
I hear that Susan is getting a promotion.
The office rumor mill is busier than ever before. No longer do employees have to congregate in the break room, at the water cooler, or wait until lunch to give voice to their speculations. Nowadays they can text or email each other and no one will be any wiser.
Such is how rumors get spread in 2017!
In most Companies office gossip is something of a fact of life; as long as it isn’t malicious and vengeful it can be tolerated. Only when rumors turn nasty and spiteful do they lead to bad feelings, low morale, compromised teamwork, mistrust, and an office environment that is tense and strained. When this situation occurs Management cannot afford to look the other way; instead, they must take immediate action to stop the spread of destructive rumors.
Here are (3) three things that you can do to keep gossip from spreading in your office:
Employees can be quite perceptive and may pick up on even the most understated cues in the office. If there is a lack of transparency about important Company-wide issues that can impact their employment, you can expect your employees will experience insecurity about their future. Their lack of certainty can undermine productivity and the quality of work being produced. While you may not be able to reveal all of the details about situations, for example a Company restructuring or merger, you must provide some clarity and address any employee concerns before they spin out of control and rumors dominate office chatter.
Ignoring the problem will only make it worse. Once aware that rumors are circulating through the office you must act quickly and decisively in order to stop the behavior. This may include speaking with the person(s) spreading the rumors as well as the person(s) that have pointed the finger at the others. The goal is to not engage in a game of “he said, she said” but to get to the root of the issue and stop it immediately. Many times the office “busybody” is not fully aware of the trouble they are causing.
Your employees might require training to provide them with the communication, sensitivity, and problem-solving tools they need to curb the spread of gossip. Making employees attuned to the negative repercussions that can emerge due to office gossip is critical to instill the sense of camaraderie and common bond that must be shared by all employees.
By following these recommendations, you will begin to see the rumor mill grind to a halt or at least to a trickle. Employees will become happier and more productive, and gossip-starved employees will find that their drama is no longer interesting or even acknowledged by their colleagues.
For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 935-5641.