Sorry to say folks, but if you have staff, and you have more than two, chances are high that you have contracted the office gossip! And if you’re not privy to this gossip, chances are it’s about you….sorry Janet, your office drinking problem and lunch time Tindering is well known.
Gossip is a sickness that can spread quickly, infecting your entire team and it’s crippling for a small business. If not treated, it will eat away at your bottom line, deplete morale, erode office culture and in extreme cases, result in death! (that is career deaths/staff turnover).
Symptoms may include: Bitchiness, tears in the bathroom, totally sh!t attitudes, the isolation of a single team member and silence when you walk into the lunchroom (that generally means bad news for you). If left to fester, it results in office screaming matches, sick days and resignations slowly putting your business on life support.
So, if gossip is an illness in your business, what should you do to treat it? Unfortunately, like Herpes, there isn’t a vaccine yet but there are some simple steps to help manage this painful and debilitating disease that include….
Review your company policy: Make sure your team know what’s acceptable and what’s not, this is HR 101 and can be your best protection. It needs to be current, it needs to be signed and enforced….if it’s never seen the light of day, it doesn’t count.
Identify troublemakers: If you notice one person who consistently makes trouble, act quickly to manage their behaviour. If the problem gets worse then you need to start performance management. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, then you need to evaluate the pro’s and con’s of this person being a part of your team.
Review the workload: Nothing promotes gossip more than a bored team with lots of spare time!
Don’t participate I see so many managers and business owners do it. Stop it! This is the worst thing you could do to your culture. If this is a temptation for you maybe you shouldn’t be managing people. You’d do less damage if you just set your business on fire.
Be careful with your information: Bonding and sharing information is great for building rapport with your team but know where to draw the line.
Shut it down: Shut it down as soon as you hear it and make it clear that it is not tolerated.
This type of behaviour is crippling workplaces all over the world, and it is no longer acceptable to turn a blind eye to this. Your employee’s mental well-being in the workplace has to be a priority. It’s probably about time to warm up your hands and examine your business for any signs of this disease and take immediate action if you find any symptoms. Glove up!