Gossip and scandalmongering will cause problems in the workplace. This type of behaviour can be commonplace amongst employees as it panders to natural human curiosity. However this type of behavior seldom does any good, either to the individuals concerned or to the Company they work for. So, let’s have a look at some of the ways gossip can be the cause of trouble at work.
Firstly, gossiping amongst workers during work time generally means that they are not actually working but taking time out to talk about non work topics. This can of course mean a loss of productivity and a lack of attention to the task in hand. There is a very real risk of personal harm here as well, if such staff members are involved in tasks that involve the handling of dangerous machinery.
Gossip can also be seen as a form of bullying as generally such conversation topics are detrimental to the subjects concerned. Again this could cause trouble at work, as a way of demotivating individuals that are the subject of the gossip and also with a potential towards disciplinary action. It could be that the subject of the gossip decides to take action into their own hands and retaliate against the person doing the gossiping.
This could mean dismissing someone who may well be a good employee otherwise and of course take up quite a lot of time resource for all those involved in the disciplinary process. There can also be a knock on effect upon other employees who side with one person or the other in such a dispute, this again having a demotivating effect upon staff.
Another way that gossip may cause trouble at work is when the subject of the gossip is the Company itself. This can be particularly harmful to a Company if it is going through hard times, during a recession for instance. Rumours and gossip about potential redundancies and lay offs can have a poor effect upon staff. It can cause individuals to look for work elsewhere just in case the gossip has some truth to it. If such gossip gets out of hand then a Company can end up with an unhappy workforce and key personnel gaps just when they need a motivated and dedicated workforce the most.
Good middle Management should, as part of their remit, be alert to gossip and be trained how to deal with it. In addition, such Managers should have sufficient empathy with their staff so that they can lead them past such rumormongering and away from harmful gossip.