Reduce Gossip

March 28, 2018

Gossip Ruining your Culture?

Absolutely Address it Now!

Culture is a living entity which needs constant vigilance, so it doesn’t decline. Gossip is one aspect that can damage morale, destroy trust and cause good team members to leave.

Kris Boesch, CEO and Founder of Choose People, discusses the issue of gossip in two of her “Culture Tips.”

In the first one, she mentions 4 reasons why people gossip:

1. They fear the unknown.
2. They want to belong and be included.
3. They crave intimacy and a sense of connection.
4. They want to work with people they consider their peers.

Then she follows up with 4 ways to address gossip. The following is directly from her blog.

1)      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.

2)      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.

3)      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?”

4)      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?

Kris Boesch is the CEO and Founder of Choose People, a company that transforms company cultures, increases employee happiness and boosts the bottom-line. The Choose People 360° Culture Audit is based on over 1000 hours of research conducted with the Industrial Organizational Psychology Department at Colorado State University.  She is also the author of Culture Works: How to Create Happiness in the Workplace. Prior to Choose People, Boesch was the CEO of Exodus Moving & Storage.  Under her leadership Exodus became the largest mover in Northern Colorado with a turnover rate nearly 40% less than the industry average and a bottom line twice that same average.  Kris has been featured as a workplace culture expert in Inc., Entrepreneur and Forbes and was recently named one of the “Top 100 Leadership Speakers for 2018” in Inc. 
To receive Kris’ weekly culture tip, visit her website: