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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.

Learn how to use “positive confrontation” to simultaneously protect yourself and your organization, while treating employees with dignity (and boost your image).

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.

Paul Falcone, VP of HR at Time Warner and the man who literally wrote the book on the subject, presents his 75-minute session on Tough Talks: Scripts & Strategies for Difficult Employee Discussions, first heard at SHRM's New Orleans conference. Learn More...

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
Topics covered in the CD include:

Part I:
  • The “9 Rules of Engagement” for successfully handling employee discussions. You’ll want to print out and reread those rules before any important employee talk.
  • Using “perception management” in your favor to frame the discussion.
  • How the power of guilt can be used to help employees assume responsibility for problems.
  • A legally safe script to use when employees want to talk “off the record” about an employee relations issue.
  • “New supervisor syndrome” and how you should address new managers differently than experienced ones.
  • The 3 practical steps for discussions that stop attitude problems in their tracks.
Part II:
Paul will then provide sample scripts to use in addressing some of the most common—and the most serious—employee problems you’re likely to encounter, including:
  • Behavioral problems
  • Excessive absenteeism
  • Patterns of absenteeism
  • Personal hygiene
  • Disputes among subordinates
  • Layoffs
  • Foul language
  • Sexually inappropriate actions
  • Time card “mistakes”


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