By Hollie Simpson

We’ve all heard rumours at one time or another in the workplace; you know the kind where voices are hushed to share a piece of information that was overheard. But when gossip becomes a problem, how should you as a manager handle it?

It’s only natural for your employees to want to get to know each other –  it’s great for the business however, the bad news is it’s considered a toxic part of working life and can have a negative ripple effect within your organisation.

So, in this article, I’ll share my top tips for dealing with workplace gossip and how you can stamp it out before it becomes a problem.

What is workplace gossip?

Even though not all gossip is bad, it often focuses on personal, private, or sensitive information that doesn’t relate to work activities. When employees engage in conversation it can aid in team building, fostering support, and helping staff navigate challenges. However, gossiping can create a toxic environment for those who are left out or if the topics discussed concern another employee.

Talk is cheap, but why does it happen?

Putting two and two together makes four, and when it concerns personal information, it can unintentionally create a thread of gossip that comprises inferences and rumours rather than facts. It can be hard to identify its origins but understanding the reasons why people gossip will help you curb its instances. These reasons include:

  • Fear of the unknown;
  • Sense of belonging; and
  • Sense of connection.

Policies and policing: when should HR or management intervene?

It’s reasonable to assume that there’s always going to be a certain amount of gossip within any workplace because people are curious and want to know what’s happening. Avoiding engaging in unnecessary conversation is one part of an employer’s job, another is ensuring you know when the talk has the potential to become harmful and hurtful. Knowing when to step in as an employer will make the difference between effectively dealing with the situation and handling the fallout from it.

How enableHR can help?

We believe HR should be simple. Simple enough for you to run your business confidently. Inside enableHR is everything you need to manage the entire employee lifecycle, from recruitment and onboarding to managing your people and termination. If you’d like to see enableHR in action, contact us to learn more about how we can help your business.

Hollie Simpson is the People & Culture Coordinator at FCB, enableHR’s sister company. Hollie is passionate about creating meaningful HR initiatives that add value to our people and our company’s culture. In addition to her role in HR, Hollie heads up FCB’s Social Committee and is always on the lookout for new ways to engage and connect with colleagues.