The office environment is usually a good indicator of its productivity. A hostile and uncomfortable workplace is often ineffective, making it difficult for employees to achieve their own and company goals.
In a workplace survey, 72% of professionals admitted to gossiping while at work. This may seem like harmless banter, but in reality, rumors in the workplace can cause irreparable damage to your company or business if word gets out.
Baseless tales can drive skilled professionals away from your company and distract employees from achieving their professional objectives.
If you sense a rumor mill popping up at the office, it may be time to read through our four tips to put an end to it before it causes permanent damage:
4 Tips To Professionally Diffuse Workplace Rumors
It is essential to ensure that all your employees understand the need to be politically correct and no one crosses any sexist, racist, religious, or ideological boundaries. This is the key to building an office environment that respects everyone equally and is conducive to productivity.
These boundaries make it even more critical to ensure that workplace problems be dealt with responsibly and professionally.
Provide your employees with a safe space where they can speak about things that make them uncomfortable.
Do not be afraid to elevate a concern to the public level by organizing conduct meetings and focus groups. This will let victims know that you are making a statement in the office regarding their matters.
Also, build an open-door HR policy to encourage employees to discuss their issues.
Manage The Instigator
When you know the person spreading a rumor – or starting gossip – handle the situation with responsibility. An employee may not have intended to cause damage to the extent that they did.
While it is essential to reprimand the scandalmongers for their mistake, you must also give them the tools and resources they need to show their best behavior.
This means investing in their learning needs and speaking to them in a way that encourages them to practice better workplace communication.
Elevate Your Concerns
If a particular rumor has caused immeasurable damage to office harmony, it would be beneficial to make the instigator an example of what not to do in the office.
Employees must know that there is a no-tolerance policy for those running or empowering the rumor mills. It is equally vital for the victim to see that you can offer them a safe and comfortable environment to work.
If required, don’t shy away from taking the issue up to the upper management to ensure that the instigator is contained and penalized.
Use Message Management
Manage a potential rumor by reinforcing a consistent narrative. Having the same response and approach to all employees, projects, or situations will remove any room for irrelevant stories or idle talks to rear their ugly heads.
You can use this technique as a pre-emptive measure that lets you control the narrative about something or someone before there could even be a rumor about it. You can also use this after a rumor has been created about someone by perpetuating and reinforcing the opposing narrative.
A little rumor has the potential to snowball into a significant HR disaster, one that only a professional HR service can fix.
To protect your company, its employees, and prospects, follow our tips and handle every rumor instigator professionally!