How to Tackle and Prevent Workplace Gossip

In an office environment, employees might speculate about what’s going on in one another’s personal lives. Regardless of whether the gossip is positive or negative, it can leave colleagues who are the topics of the discussion feeling exposed or violated. According to Indeed, “work environments with too much gossip can also make employees feel uncomfortable, which may lead to job dissatisfaction, a decrease in productivity, and even high turnover rates.” Generally, gossip revolves around information that is private and personal to the employee. Sometimes, employees choose to share their personal information with each other with the intention and desire to form a new friendship or to feel a sense of belonging. However, choosing to share their own personal information is not considered gossip. Office gossip is a method of informal communication pertaining to other colleagues, coworkers, or supervisors and is typically shared behind their backs and without their knowledge. This blog will share tips and tricks on how employees can tackle instances of office gossip, whether intentionally harmful or not.

Encourage Inclusive Behavior

Inclusivity is a crucial element for an organization to thrive. According to Indeed, “[employees] should behave in a way that makes everyone feels welcome and important.” This means treating one another with respect and dignity. When conducting meetings or meeting colleagues in person, the decent thing to do is to be open to all ideas, to engender a culture of transparency and collaboration. Encourage the fact that there are no such things as “stupid questions”. Promoting an inclusive work environment also refers to acknowledging and celebrating each other’s differences and recognizing the value of each team member’s contribution to the overall organization. When employees appreciate and support each other, the office environment will feel less like a high school environment with social cliques. This is a great way to prevent office gossip from occurring in the first place.

Talk to Your Supervisor

Let’s say all measures to prevent gossip from continuing any further have been exhausted. The next step is for employees to turn to their supervisors and let them know what’s going on. Employees need to feel that their office is a safe zone for them to express their thoughts and ideas. According to Indeed, “managers know that it’s in everyone’s best interest that workplace gossip does not take place.” Rather than working in a negative and unpleasant environment, reporting the rumors and gossip to managers will help them get clarification and potentially stop the rumors from spreading any further. Encouraging positive behavior within teams and amongst teammates will result in solidarity and retention, rather than resignations and turnovers.

Encourage Positive Gossip

When people think of gossip, it usually implies a negative connotation. However, gossip can also be referred to in a positive sense. According to Indeed, “positive gossip is workplace talk about another person that is meant to positively affect other people’s impressions of their personality or character.” Positive vibes are infectious. When given the chance to do so, employees should talk positively about colleagues and co-workers regarding their work ethic, courage, and endurance. Examples should look like the following statements:

  • John works so hard. The way he treats his teammates is so respectful and professional. We are really lucky to have him in our organization”.
  • The new intern is wonderful! She is so meticulous and organized with her workload. It’s great that she is always eager to learn more and is constantly asking fabulous questions! I hope we can keep her for as long as possible”.

Statements like those above will not only improve your organization’s culture internally, but it will also lead to employees speaking highly of it externally.

Keep Your Personal Life Private

There is a reason why your personal life is private. Giving out information about your personal life is usually not a great idea in the workplace unless the situation demands it. According to Inc Magazine, “the dead giveaway that you’re dealing with serial gossipers is this: If you find them gossiping about others, you can bet that they will be gossiping about you as well.” Never underestimate the power of human nature. Sometimes, choosing to give out your personal information is like walking straight into a lion’s den. Your personal information needs to be protected. Employees should always remember that those they disclose personal information to may use it maliciously when they’re not bound by any specific professional code around that information. They need to ensure they do not give them any information that they wouldn’t want to be compromised.

The Best Way to Beat Them is to Ignore Them

Gossip mongrels thrive on the attention given to them. Their goal is to prey upon the naïve and invite them into their trap of distraction. Employees need to make it a point to act like they are occupied and busy. The best way to escape from gossip is to not listen to it in the first place. LinkedIn makes a suggestion to “avoid the gossiper as much as possible.” If the employee is aware of a specific person who always ends up causing trouble, they should strive for little to no interaction with them. This way, gossip won’t spread like wildfire and no further incidents will happen, especially with manager intervention or support.

Navigating Improving Work Culture With PxidaEX

Office gossip may be inevitable, but it is also preventable, through these tips and general best practices for developing a more inclusive and equitable work culture. Making sure your workplace has a healthy and thriving culture, designed for collaboration and easy avenues of feedback and support can help your employees in the long run. The happier your employees are, the longer they’ll stay with your organization, and continue to help build your business and brand. Make sure that you’re getting all of their important feedback using a tool like PxidaEX. With our expert-designed survey templates, you can get the most data from your employees on what they want and need from their place of employment. Sign up for a free trial today to try it for yourself!