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Recession ripening the office grapevine? 3 communication tips to keep employees on track

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in Employee Benefits Program,FMLA Guidelines,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Office Communication,Performance Reviews,Workplace Communication

You may have noticed more people than usual lurking outside your executive’s door. That’s because economic fears are prompting more employees to eavesdrop and gossip about what might happen next at their workplaces.

In a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 54% of HR professionals report an increase in gossip and rumors among their employees since the recession began. Twenty-three percent say they’ve had to address more frequent “eavesdropping incidents.”

The solution? The times call for stepped-up communication, says Steve Williams, director of research for SHRM.

Williams' suggestions:

Aim for transparency. That means if you have information to share, plan to do it as soon as possible. Hold a brown-bag lunch meeting or “state of the state” conference call to bring everyone together so the information reaches them all at once.

“The more transparent you are, the less likely you’ll get gossip about the recession” and people lingering around other people’s desks and offices, trying to hear something, Williams tells Human Resource Executive.

Stop the leaks. If possible, keep sensitive discussions away from e-mail or written communications. Leaks of information could be “cancerous in an organization,” says one consultant.

Give ’em nothing to talk about.
When private meetings must be held, go off-site if you can. That stops people from lingering outside conference rooms. Caveat: Too many off-site meetings will send the gossip mill into overdrive.

The High Cost of Rudeness at Work

Jan blames James for a project gone wrong ... Bill takes credit for his assistant’s creative work ... And Bryce always has an unpleasant rumor to share.

Rudeness and incivility at work have a huge effect on performance, according to a Harvard Business Review study. In response to rudeness at work:

  • 48% of employees decreased their work effort
  • 47% decreased their time at work
  • 38% decreased their work quality
  • 66% said their performance declined
  • 80% lost work time worrying about the incident
  • 63% lost time avoiding the offender
  • 78% said their commitment to the organization declined

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