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How To Handle Workplace Gossip?

Are you guilty of Smossiping? ‘smossiping’ (smoking outside while having a gossip).

Gossip can have a negative impact on your office culture. Not all office gossip is negative, some is idle chit chat and offers staff an opportunity to meet and discuss what has been going with other staff in the office. However sometimes staff take half-truths and turn them into something that has little basis on reality, staff may also discuss salary information or pass on negative information regarding colleagues. This is when HR should step in and set the boundaries. HRiM suggest immediate action to limit the impact of the gossip.

Recognising when gossip office is bad includes when it is affecting the business, hurting someone’s feelings, effecting motivation / moral and damaging office relationships. And remember to lead by example. A recent survey by IT Firm Iron Mountain says that a whopping 44 per cent of HR staff it surveyed admitted passing on personal information about colleagues!

HRiM recommends:

  • Sitting down with the individuals concerned, including their immediate superiors;
  • Stating what the negative behavior involves and how it is effecting the business;
  • Reaffirming the company culture. i.e. “we promote a positive workplace that cares for all employees. Our staffs well-being is of the utmost importance to us, we want for everyone to feel happy when they come to work”;
  • Get the staff to commit to not repeating the behavior in the future;
  • If the behavior continues, begin the disciplinary process with a verbal warning

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