Office Rumors Start When Managers Don't "Fill The Gap"

by on June 29, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Talk to your Employees Once A Week to Help Cut Back on Office Rumors

One of the things we’re going to see to help control office rumors as management at all levels is the communication piece. I got to communicate. This is real time now because there’s a tendency in many managers to hunker down, and start putting in extra hours, canceling special events and holiday parties, trying to force people to focus on work to get through the tough times. But doing that leads to morale problems. Your good people are going to start leaving at that point. If you don’t communicate with your employees, they’ll fill the gap and most likely assume the worst, and that’s how you end up with office rumors.

There is a Gallup survey. HR people know this as the Q12. These are 12 critical questions that separates good employees from great employees. And one of the things great employees said was, “I want to be talked to at least every seven days.” This issue isn’t complicated. It’s hard work and it’s constant. It’s going to require constant attention. Don’t expect that same level of commitment from employees especially not in rocky times like we’re in now. So, yeah, it’s once a week. Think of your good people. What have you done or said to them in the last seven days? You’ve got critical people that report to you that you count on, “Oh, yeah. That’s why I don’t have to talk to them.”

Well, what message does that send? “Well, Sam you’re a great employee so I’m going to totally ignore you this year. If you don’t hear from me until next year’s evaluation, know in your heart you’re a good employee. What am I going to be doing? Whomping up on my problem people and trying to cut back on the office rumors.” It sends a message, “Hey, you want to get my attention? Start complaining, start spreading office rumors and gossip.” Then you’ll start to understand how management can be a part of the problem.

You know you’re in trouble when you’ve spent more time in honest communication with the employee at their exit interview than you have all the previous year. Warning two, when good people leave, they take their friends with them. And we don’t know what a downturn is going to do, how serious this gets in terms of people be less likely to jump jobs about every three to five years is what we’ve got now.

So, is this going to slow down? Don’t know. But if we send the message that the only time we value your feedback, that we communicate, that we take the time is when you leave us, then no wonder people fill that communication gap with office rumors and all this destructive communication.

Edited Remarks From “Gossip, Gab, and the Grapevine: How to Neutralize Its Negative Impact” by Hunter Lott

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