It doesn’t matter what the business is; there’s always going to talk around the office cooler. When the talk is friendly or matter of fact about someone at your spa or massage business, it’s not harmful. After all, the workplace is a social environment, and most people share information about some aspects of their lives with each other. But when gossip starts to undermine someone else's credibility or popularity or harm your business operations in some way, including affecting productivity, you need to step in bring it to a halt.
Your goal in putting an end to gossip at your spa or massage practice is to be clear that the behavior is not acceptable because it causes internal friction and gets in the way of meeting your organization's goals and objectives.
Here are some recommended steps to take to nip harmful office gossip:
Get all the Facts
Find out what’s behind the gossip – is there any factual basis for it, or is it strictly someone’s gripe against someone else or need to stir up trouble on your team. Based on the facts, you can assess if the gossip is personal or in response to your spa or massage practice changes that may be causing uncertainty. Also, with the facts in hand, you can respond to the gossip objectively rather than emotionally.
Confront the Gossiper Directly
Armed with the background on the situation, schedule a meeting with the person behind the gossip. Make it a confidential meeting – in your office or even off-site so that others won’t overhear the conversation. Try to get to the reason for the gossip. You may find that there’s some resentment towards the other person for many reasons or something happened to cause a misunderstanding. Whatever the cause, be and talk through the issue but be firm in communicating that the gossip has to stop because it undermines the team spirit and even hurts your business. If necessary, let the person know that the continued behavior could lead to dismissal.
Have a Team Meeting
Include a discussion about gossip at one of your team meetings. Talk about what’s acceptable when it comes to talking about other team members or business operations. Be clear, however, that negative gossip hurts an organization. Encourage people to address each other directly if there is a problem.
Head off Gossip
Sometimes gossip starts because employees are feeling uncertain about things going on at your spa or massage practice. Avoid gossip about possible layoffs, a decline in revenue, or a possible merger or sale of the business by keeping your team in the loop. Hence, they have no cause to feel uncertain about their jobs and, in turn, resort to gossip.
How have you dealt with someone who gossips in your spa or massage practice to the point where it was hurting your business?