Squash office gossip and you'll likely raise the integrity of your employees. There's never anything productive about gossip -- in fact, it puts a cloud over everything from morale to attendance to credibility. But if you cut out back-stabbing behavior and build trust among the group, your employees will reap the many benefits of working in a friendly environment. Simply set a positive tone for how workers are expected to communicate, and insist that everyone respect one another. If you treat your employees well -- honor their feelings, dole out praise when deserved and celebrate office diversity -- the whole office can swim in a sea of camaraderie.
Spread the Love
Fulfilled employees usually don't feel the need to gossip. It's oftentimes the disgruntled, powerless worker who starts circulating office gossip. Combat employee angst by recognizing your employees for bringing in business, closing a deal or simply getting work done ahead of schedule. Reward them with things like vacation days, an unexpected bonus or public praise. Employees who feel valued, trusted and appreciated will have a lower absentee rate, work harder for the company and project a cheerful attitude.
When you get wind of a misunderstanding or issue between employees, it's important to hear both sides of the story so you can understand the facts. Talking separately to each person allows employees to feel valued. Then call a meeting all together. Help your employees get back on track by figuring out the real issues at hand. You can shed some light on how to solve gray issues, but ultimately allow the two people to come up with a solution that works best for both. Open communication will hopefully quell the desire for either employee to gossip about the situation to other office mates.
Smells Like Team Spirit
Setting goals together as a team tells employees that everyone is on the same level in working for the betterment of the company. Talk about where the team would like to be in the next six months and encourage employees to set personal goals. Review these goals at staff meetings to reinforce accountability. It's also a good idea to mix some wackiness into the workplace, says Paul Spiegelman, founder and CEO of Bedford-based Beryl and author of "Why Is Everyone Smiling?" Play games, have fun creating office traditions and give employees creative titles. This softens stressful times and allows individuals to express themselves on a personal level.
Make it a priority to walk the halls at work with a smile. Acknowledge staff as you pass by, create opportunities for employees to chat with you and keep your employees informed of company business so they feel important. Exuding an approachable attitude shows employees that you care about them as people, and are aware of their skills and company contributions. It's also a good idea to connect with the staff on things other than work. Bring in a cake for someone's birthday, buy a few gifts for a baby celebration or have everyone sign a card of well wishes when someone leaves the company.
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