Gossip causes failed communications, which often result in deadlines not being met or work not done properly. gossip causes misunderstandings that quickly lead to conflicts and sometimes to relationships so strained that some employees can no longer work together effectively. Preventing employees from interacting can be counterproductive and result in the loss of good employees. Pay attention to the gossip that is circulating and who it comes from, especially if certain employees have a history of causing problems.
Take note of where the gossip comes from and how it affects other employees. Check if the source of the gossip is continuously coming from certain employees or from a group of employees. If the problem is ongoing, immediately supervise the employees in question to prevent future conflicts from occurring. For example, Peter Vajda, an Atlanta-based speaker and author of conferences on business coaching, defines workplace gossip as a form of violence in the workplace and points out that it is “essentially a form of attack”.
However, some workplace gossip is actually healthy, according to Rieva Lesonsky, executive director of GrowBiz Media, a media and personalized content company for small businesses. Workplace gossip often concerns a particular person or people. It can be defamatory, negative and embarrassing for the co-worker who is the subject of the rumor. But it doesn't just create conflicts for people.
Gossip can cause divisions within the organization, as people side with each other or lose trust in their associates. For example, if an office manager feels belittled by a salesperson's gossip, the manager could lose trust in the seller. This, in turn, could prevent them from approaching the seller about ideas that could help increase sales. Decreased sales can have a direct impact on bottom line.
If your words aren't something you would say in front of the person, or if they aren't substantiated, they're probably gossip. Gossip in organizations can also inform employees about what type of behavior is acceptable and unacceptable, and learning the news from the office often prevents them from being taken by surprise. Writing policies that prohibit gossip can be complicated enough that companies want to focus on educating employees about the dangers of talking about their co-workers behind their backs, Hyman said. Gossip is, without a doubt, a universal activity that has historically been considered an aid to create social ties.
Sometimes, gossip “is a harbinger of something that is true and makes you realize something, as a manager, that you should work on,” he added. TLK Healthcare, a health care hiring company based in Austin, Texas, includes employees gossip those who talk to the boss with no intention of offering a solution or talking to co-workers about a problem. Others consider “gossip” to be any conversation about the affairs of a person or institution, whether personal or professional, harmless or slanderous. First, the policy must explicitly state that it is not intended to limit the right of employees to talk about wages, hours or working conditions; rather, it aims to spread gossip about topics not related to work, Hyman said.
If you regularly gossip or participate in gossip that harms others (whether you start it or not), consider the following questions. A client whose accounting is done at a public accounting firm, for example, doesn't want to hear that office gossip can cause their chief accountant to leave the company. Corporate email can be a particularly dangerous method of spreading gossip because messages can easily be forwarded to unwanted recipients. For some, it refers only to malicious or actionable conversations about someone who cannot hear; some believe that gossip only involves false stories, while others think it may include truthful comments.