In a previous Culture Tips blog post, we discussed why people gossip at work. We then received a number of request to help solve gossip problem. And, by no means do we believe we can eliminate gossip, we do know that we these four tips definitely help to reduce it.

Keep your employees in the know

  • Be transparent.  Constantly communicate where the organization is headed and the opportunities, challenges and obstacles that occur on your way there.  Don’t have people wonder, guess or assume what’s going on – all of this leads to gossip.
  • Be ferociously consistent in your communication and your actions.  Secrets, unwritten rules, hypocrisy and uncommunicated motives are a surefire way to have employees wonder if they know the whole truth.
  • I also highly suggest open book management.   The first step consists of sharing the financials with your team in a way that enables them to understand the implications of certain decisions and choices as well as how they can personally impact the bottom line.  This culture tip outlines my favorite way to share financials.

Whenever possible and appropriate, include employees in decision making.

  • Seek employee input and feedback before and during any significant organizational change.
  • Take employee suggestions and concerns seriously and make sure to complete the information loop as far as communicating chosen actions/considerations taken as a result of their input.
  • Collaboration is an incredible tool for having employees feel like they belong – however there are times to use it and not to use it.

Provide real opportunities for people to connect, share, and learn about one another.

  • One of the easiest and most natural ways to go about this is to provide opportunities for cross-functional teams of people to work together on projects.
  • However if project work isn’t realistic in your organization, consider something fun like SALO, Oberon & NumberWorks’ May Madness foosball tournament in which those who don’t often get to work together are teamed up.
  • Another opportunity is to create a monthly story jam on a Friday afternoon in which folks share real life personal stories – “you wouldn’t believe what my brother and I did when we were little…”
  • Lastly, you can also create one on one opportunities for people to have lunch together or participate in a quick 15 minute “getting to know you” with some suggestions for topics/questions that get past the surface such as “What makes you tick?” or “What’s something you’ve done that you’re really proud of?”

Promptly address employees who are not performing.

  • Uncover why the person is not performing.  If it’s a question of skills or competency, can they be mentored or trained?  And if so, do they want to be?  And do you have access to timely resources to mentor or train them?
  • Are their strengths/skills better suited for another position in the company that you already need to fill?
  • Or are they simply not a good fit for the position and it’s time to move on?