For many businesses, their employees are their most valuable asset. Often, employers provide a competitive salary and great health insurance benefits to attract the best talent. Don't forget about creating and maintaining a positive work environment for your employees.
Every employer expects a certain amount of gossip; people spend a lot of time at work, they want to know what's going on in their workplace and they like to discuss work issues. The key is to know when the gossip is out-of-hand. Four questions you should ask yourself before you take action:
Has it disrupted the workplace and the business of work?
Has someone been hurt by the gossip?
Has it damaged interpersonal relationships?
Has it injured employee motivation and morale?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, it may be time to step in and take action. Being proactive is always better than waiting it out. If you find yourself having to address gossip frequently, you may want to examine your workplace to understand the consistent themes in the gossip. Consider that you may not be sharing enough information with employees.
If gossip has been unmanaged in the past, gossip tends to become a negative aspect of your work culture. So, don't let negative gossip go unaddressed. Ignoring it won't make it go away. You can manage gossip just as you would manage any other negative behavior from an employee in your work place. Use a coaching approach, when possible, to help the employee improve his or her behavior.
The most effective way to stop a negative behavior is to model a positive one. So if you don't participate in the gossip and you let others know how you feel about it, you set a great example. Dealing with gossip in a proactive and assertive manner sends a positive message to your staff and helps create a healthy office culture.