Dealing With Rumors in the Workplace
The full and original article was published on The New York Times
Rumor breeding ground “uncertainty in organizations is a given in environments that are unstable and complex, and uncertainty serves as a precursor to rumor generation,” said Jamie mcintosh, describing the business environment we find ourselves in on Suite101.com.
Deal with it a common theme in all the advice is that you need to address the rumors. You shouldn’t pretend they are not there. “In the absence of information, employees will make up their own information and that information soon snowballs into a full-blown rumor,” Zoey Day said on Helium.com
Straightforward and scripted if the whole company is affected by the rumor — say, you are going out of business — addressing employees individually is not the way to go, the experts say. The message will quickly will spread through the company grapevine and may get distorted along the way.
Face it directly If the rumor is groundless, Emory Mulling wrote in The Atlanta Business Journal, call a staff meeting and “address the issue and stress that rumors will not be tolerated.” If the grapevine has some details right, “do your best to provide enough information to put everyone at ease.”
Preventative measures Keeping staff regularly, fully and honestly informed of planned changes through a range of tailored formal and informal communication such as e-mails and face-to-face meetings at various levels” of the organization, Kim Harrison said on Cutting Edge PR.
Prevention part II “To make sure you are not the last to know what rumors are swirling within your company, “tap into the grapevine,” suggests Business Management Daily, a National Institute of Management Web site.
Last call. When all else fails, you can always try to put the rumor in the best possible light. That can be extremely difficult to do as a cartoonist, Mark, Anderson points out at Smallbiztrends.com.