How rumors undermine staff trust—and 6 ways to quell them

Watercooler talk isn’t always about the big game, the Oscars or the next holiday weekend. Too often, gossip is the hot topic. Here’s how to keep destructive speculation to a minimum.

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We are rerunning the most-viewed articles of 2019. This was one of the top five most-popular employee engagement articles of the year.

Psssssst. Want to hear something juicy?

Workplace gossip could be undermining your organization.

Rumors—regardless of how outlandish or inaccurate they are—can damage morale, foment cynicism and lower productivity. Rumors circulate amid organizational change, new leadership, mergers and acquisitions, media attention and more. Once they take root, they can be difficult to remove.

There is a remedy: Effective internal communications can quell rumors, even eradicate them before they take seed.

Follow these six tips to combat rumors:

1. Provide a constructive outlet.

When it comes to spreading workplace rumors, email is a prime culprit. About one in seven work emails could be considered gossip, and it’s nearly three times as likely to be negative as positive.

It’s not always possible to prevent rumors, so instead, provide a positive outlet for feedback.

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