Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Ending Gossip in the Workplace

The bad news first: it's really difficult to put an end to gossiping. Most people have a natural tendency to talk about others (witness the explosion of sites like and

Yet gossiping about fellow employers or leaders in a business can truly produce incredible morale issues. My experience shows that if employees are happy, they tend not to negatively gossip in the workplace.

On the other hand, I've seen businesses where gossip is crippling morale and reinforcing already negative attitudes.

So what do you do?

Sam Chapman of Empower Public Relations set forth a 'no-gossip' zone in his office, firing three employees and establishing a strict policy of no-gossiping.

Perhaps a more practical approach is to keep your eyes open for unhappy employees and enforce your open-door policy. Find out what is troubling him or her and make sure your policies, procedures, and decisions are frequently communicated to everyone.

That (naturally) has created some consternation among the experts, as outlined in this article in the Christian Science Monitor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like the anti-gossip rule, but think that it would be difficult to fire someone for gossiping and get away with it. It seems to me like the company would, at the minimum, be paying quite a bit in unemployment compensation.