For starters, it has a tendency to cause a lack of productivity – the more that employees are participating in gossip, the less they are getting done in their day. Next, it can increase the level of mistrust that employees have in one another, which prevents them from working as a cohesive group.
This can lead to poor morale among your employees as well as a higher turnover rate – whether people decide to leave because of the poor morale or because they are high performing individuals who do not want to be bogged down by office politics and drama.
Finally, in more extreme instances it can lead to legal issues as people could accuse those around them of the gossip being “malicious harassment”. Clearly, this is not something that will do any good for your organization and you want to minimize it as much as possible. Here are the best steps to take to do so.
How to Stop Workplace Gossip in its Tracks
Have a conversation with the specific perpetrators
If there are known “perpetrators” who instigate, spread, and perpetuate the drama plaguing your workplace, having a one-on-one conversation with them is always a good idea. This should be done somewhere private rather than confronting them in a group environment.
During this meeting, you should not only discuss with them the problems associated with them initiating and participating in gossip, but also note the consequences that they will suffer from doing so (for example: adding a note to their permanent file).
While this initial conversation may just be a warning, make it clear that the continuance of this behavior will not be tolerated.
Have a team meeting
To further enforce the emphasis on not tolerating this behavior from your team, bring it up at a team meeting. Here, you should not call out any specific individuals, but instead make a blanket statement about the fact that it will not be permitted, the reasons that it is frowned upon, and the consequences associated with anyone you find to be participating in it going forward.
Encourage “positive gossip”
This may seem like a weird concept, but circulating good stories about your business and those who work for your organization is a good thing!
It will raise the morale of your employees and make your office a generally better place to work. Having people discuss items that those around them have been praised for, examples of a job well done, or the great services your company provides are uplifting and spread a good energy that should be kept alive.
How a PEO Can Help
If you suspect a “gossip” issue at your organization, a PEO can be helpful in constructing a way to diminish it altogether. Since all companies have different needs, values, and organization – you need to ensure you find the right PEO to match those attributes.
We are here to help with that and thus enhance the happiness of your employees and financial efficiency of your organization.