By Rieva Lesonsky
The surest way to bring down staff morale is to let negative gossip run amok in your business. Even running a virtual company doesn’t free you from gossip. Nasty rumors can circulate through email or worse, social media. And, if gossip becomes grounds for suing your business for harassment, you may find your new small business loan funds allocated to lawyers. Here are four kinds of gossip your business may encounter:
- In many businesses, there’s bound to be some resentment towards the boss. But if you’re the target of office gossip, then you’re not building a loyal culture, and your business could suffer. You want an atmosphere where employees want to work hard to make your business a success, one where they have pride in their jobs. This may be the time to call in a business coach for advice.
- Spreading gossip about a coworker can lead to office tension and bad feelings. If you let it go on too long, you might have to take stronger action, such as like dismissing an employee. It’s smart to put a no-tolerance statement in your company handbook and have new hires sign it so you’re protected if the situation gets worse.
- Sometimes gossip about your company can be a good thing. And sometimes the gossip is negative and goes viral on social media. Whatever is being said, you need to respond immediately. Make sure you keep an eye on review sites such as Yelp and Local.com. You can also do a search on your name and on your business name in a social media search engine like socialmention.
- Rumors are different from gossip because the intent is probably not malicious, just the spreading of unverified information. Rumors too, though, should be nipped in the bud before they have time to circulate. Even if the rumor is true, make sure you let employees, clients and vendors know more details so no one has time to speculate.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.