Four Ways to put the Brakes on the Office Gossip and Rumor Train

by on June 30, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Workers who don’t know what’s going on will imagine the worst and spread office gossip

You know office gossip and unfounded rumors can poison morale and drain productivity. But you can’t muzzle employees – or be everywhere at once to set the record straight. So what can you do? Here are some suggestions.

  1. Develop a policy.
    A problem named is a problem solved. Define office gossip in a policy as soon as possible.

    Sample language: “You must maintain a positive work atmosphere by acting and communicating in a manner so that you get along with customers, clients and co-workers. “That means not speaking maliciously about others, whether they are or aren’t present, unless you have something positive to say.”

  2. Keep communication channels open.
    Office gossip and rumors can even make good news sound negative. And, when employees don’t know what’s going on, they’ll imagine the worst. That’s why it’s vital to keep communication channels open – especially when there’s going to be a big change.
  3. Set the right tone.
    Managers need to send the message that spreading rumors and gossiping isn’t behavior they’ll tolerate. Employees should know how damaging rumors and gossip can be – and that it exposes the company to potential liability. Note: Courts have held that you can terminate someone for gossiping.
  4. Intervene at the earliest opportunity.
    The longer you or managers wait to stop gossip, the worse it gets. Train managers to keep an ear out for rumor-mongers and nip office gossip in the bud before the air turns toxic.

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