Gossip and hushed whispers have caused more than a few HR pros to lose sleep. But what’s the best way to keep from wreaking havoc on your productivity?
While you’ll never totally put an end to the rumor mill in the workplace, here are three tips for effectively slowing it down, courtesy of Tamara Snyder on the Internal Monologue blog:
- Investigate. If you don’t know what the problem is, how are you going to figure out the best way to stop it? Ask around, talk to employees and supervisors and try to parse out what everyone is talking about.
- Be honest. Your worst enemy when asked point blank about a rumor is, “no comment.” Unless the information is confidential or can’t be shared yet, say something along the lines of, “I don’t think that’s true, and here’s why.”
- Nip the rumor in the bud – publicly. The psychology behind rumormongering is pretty interesting – the people who spread gossip enjoy the power they get from having information that other people don’t.
The goal of HR, then, is to take that power away.
The best way to do that: Acknowledge the rumor publicly. Once it’s out in the open, you’ve taken the wind out of employees’ sails — and made sure to fill workers in on what’s actually happening on your own terms.