At some point in your career, you will encounter certain problematic behaviors and issues that are rampant in many offices, regardless of what line of work you may belong to.
In this case, we are going to talk about gossip
According to The Balance Careers, gossip usually starts as a trivial thing since it stems from either boredom, wherein people have nothing better to do than gossip about each other. Also, most employees and employers often find it hard to find the difference between gossip and mindless chit chat so many of their chats compose of small topics like the company, their daily encounters — which eventually evolves into big issues like pet peeves, lying, and other direct attacks about their co-workers and their bosses. It seems as if no office in the world is immune to rumors and gossip, which can eventually lead to negative effects such as misunderstandings, miscommunications, office fights, etc.
Although many people enjoy hearing certain news about someone else, there are individuals who cannot stand their chatty colleagues who talk about things and topics that aren’t really their business, or are in no way related to them.
According to Career Addict, gossip within the workplace does not bring any good news as it can only hurt multiple parties, and some even lead to drastic responses like harassment and bullying.
How does gossip impact workplace culture negatively?
According to the FIrst Cry Parenting website, there are many negatives that revolve around gossip since not only does it hurt other people, but it can also isolate employees from one another — which eventually creates an unfriendly or hostile and tense atmosphere within the office.
Gossip can also lead to workplace harassment, especially if it gets out of hand since there are times when words aren’t enough. Some employees make it a point to downright bully their colleagues, physically. Workplace gossip potentially leads to more conflict and fights, as well as possibly leading to the development of mental health conditions such as trauma, depression, and anxiety for the victims.
Furthermore, The Balance Careers says that the best way to handle gossip is when the issue gets out of hand and starts to disrupt the entire workplace and the overall business, starts to hurt employees’ or colleagues’ feelings, begins to damage interpersonal relationships within the office place, and places the company’s morale in a bad light.
If you think that your office place is slowly getting torn apart by gossip and you want to finally put an end to it, listed below are several ways you can avoid and get rid of office gossip.
Dealing with gossip and false rumors within the workplace
1. Review company policy
Should the gossip develop into a big problem for everyone within the workplace, reviewing the company’s policies about certain attitudes is the first step to preventing gossip from destroying companies and fights between employees.
However, if your company doesn’t have certain policies, it’s time to create a policy that directly handles this area, all from the inclusions to consequences.
2. Institute a zero-tolerance policy
Meanwhile, another way you can prevent gossip within the workplace is by firmly incorporating a zero-tolerance policy regarding negative behavior, particularly with gossip.
According to Career Addict, one way you can do this is by firing an employee after conducting an exhaustive investigation and having given warnings. ‘There is no place for the perpetual gossipers in any corporate venture because they threaten the livelihood of others,’ adds the website.
3. Conduct team-building activities
On the other hand, First Cry Parenting says that one way you can stop gossip within the workplace is by conducting team-building activities to bring employees closer to one another.
If certain colleagues feel distant with one another, team-building activities are the perfect way they can build their relationship with each other as they are fun and effective ways to enable employees to get to know each other better.
4. Send written warnings directly
Warning your employees is also another way to stop gossip since this can help them reflect on their character. According to the First Cry Parenting website, instead of broadcasting the warning to your employee, send them a written mail warning to remind them of the office’s policies regarding gossip and other negative behaviors.
5. Encourage privacy
Lastly, encouraging privacy is another way to ultimately stop gossip. Since oversharing of information within the office leads to gossip, it’s better to encourage employees to discuss private and difficult matters with the management or to the supervisor in order to keep things private and confidential among co-workers and colleagues.
Overall, gossip is a life-long habit that needs to be broken and stopped since it is a destructive behavior that can cause negative consequences for both gossipper and the victim/s. According to The Balance Careers, besides conducting the steps stated above, other ways you can handle and deal with gossip properly is by turning the situation into a learning experience for both affected parties through a coaching approach.
However, when things get too messy, the website says that the management should be involved where there should be serious talks between the gossiper and their respective manager or supervisor. Although if the employee still continues to gossip even after participating in the coaching, employers should then consider firing the said employee since you need to create a healthy working environment that does not tolerate gossip and other kinds of negative attitudes.