Workplace Gossip: Cutting out the Mean Stuff

It’s unreasonable to expect any workplace to never gossip. Gossiping occurs most commonly as an outlet for employees to express their feelings, and sometimes it’s a good thing, when it’s done in a constructive manner that isn’t about tearing down others. Unfortunately though, gossip often turns ugly, fueling negativity and spreading company-wide. But it can be confronted, and transformed into a positive form of communication. Here’s how.

Tackling a gossipy atmosphere

  1. Do not engage in it. The first step in addressing the problem is in not partaking in it yourself. It may be tempting but if the management team is gossiping, it will undermine the entire endeavor. Break the habit.
  2. Promote a supportive environment. A successful team environment is one that does its’ best to uplift others, not tear them down. So if someone is underperforming, or struggling in any way, identify what can be done to help them. Consider a mentoring program, or shifting some duties into a team project, or establishing a training program. These are useful endeavors that can address performance issues.
  3. Address gossip when it occurs. Once problematic behavior is noticed, it’s best to deal with it right away. Here’s where your HR team can step in and make policy and consequences known. And it’s also an opportunity to reassess team structures and duties, if needed.
  4. Offer a way for employees to be heard. And do so anonymously. Gossip can be the result of employees not feeling like they can issue grievances to management so set up a process in which they can communicate these feelings. Anonymously works great for getting the conversation going, since employees may feel safer. And make sure to respond, as an unanswered concern can worsen the problem.
  5. Break the habit through coaching. It may take some outsourced help to sort out the problem, and that’s okay! In fact, inviting someone in with a new, objective perspective might just make eliminating gossip that much more possible. It’s certainly worth considering!

Utilizing these steps can do some serious good for the sake of the company culture and propelling employee’s capability to succeed. It’s completely worth the time and energy it takes to do as the potential to completely transform employee morale is very much possible. And nothing is more valuable than a happy and productive team!

If you’re interested in learning more about cultivating a positive and productive workplace, Eos HR can help! We make sure small business teams are successful in maintaining the practices that support a productive company culture. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

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