How to Stop Gossiping in the Workplace

Gossiping in the Workplace | How to Deal with a Gossiping Employee | Gossiping in the workplace policy

Gossiping in the workplace:  Gossiping is rife in many workplaces. Most people like to talk about each other instead of doing what brings them to work. They are quick at spreading rumors, lies, even talking about their personal life and can get everything twisted.

It is true that when employees talk to others, it breeds solutions and new ideas that are all good for teamwork. But not all people conversations in the workplace are for good intentions because most of them are negative and toxic. 

What is Gossiping in the Workplace?

Gossiping in the workplace is the spreading of rumors and lies, unauthorised disclosure of confidential information, and talking negatively about other people who are not present.

Gossiping is terrible behavior that flourishes in the workplace if you ignore it. It can spread the type of negativity that lowers morale and demotivate others from doing their job.

The consequences of gossiping in the workplace are many, as no-one is immune in a gossip work culture. In such a toxic environment, employees trash their managers all the time.

Employees gossip about all sorts of things, like how they could do better without a manager. The problem with that is, people who talk behind their managers, supervisors, team leaders create a toxic culture at work.

One of the effects of gossiping in the workplace is other employees get sucked into the gossip behaviors and then make the entire team dysfunctional.

However, many employees want to work in places where they do not have to worry about their colleagues. So, you must do something about it, because gossiping is destructive. It takes a lot of time and energy to create a good atmosphere in the workplace.

But it is so difficult to build and maintain teamwork in an environment that is rife with systemic gossiping. If you allow people to gossip, they will destroy all your hard work and tear the team apart.

How to Manage Gossiping in the Workplace

If you are going to stop gossiping in the workplace, there are some rules you will have to put in place and then get all your employees to make a commitment to them.  

1. First Check your Behavior

One of the most challenging issues to deal with in the workplace is to stop employees who gossip. But you have to take it on as a challenge and stop it from creating a terrible work environment.

However, no one is immune to gossiping, as even leaders do gossip at work. As a manager, you do not want to be one encouraging and perpetuating gossiping in the workplace.

So, before you do anything, pay attention to your behavior. Your behavior must not be a reflection that your employees are mirroring. If you a manager, make sure that you do not engage in any gossip.

Make sure that you’re not talking about your staff members behind their back or encouraging and condoning backbiting behavior in the workplace.

Also read: How to Identify a Hostile Work Environment?

2. Create a no Gossip policy

Write down on a piece of paper any form of harmful gossiping you do not want to see or hear in the workplace. Make several copies, place in the frames, and hang them on walls in different areas.

Get all employees to read them to understand that gossiping is not allowed in the workplace. By doing so, you are implementing a none-gossip-policy that every employee will have to follow.

3. Discussing Issues with Those Concern

There are all sorts of small talks people engage in every day at work, and most of them are toxic. But one of the worst types of gossips happens when an employee discusses an issue with someone who cannot solve it.

So, let your employees know that if they have work-related issues, they must only discuss it with the person who has the ability or authority to deal with them. There is a point in talking to people who cannot deal with the issue.

4. Discourage Backstabbing

It is acceptable for a member of staff to make a complaint about a coworker. However, it is better to ask a complainer to take their issue to the coworker and give the person a chance to address it before they come to you. If you do that, you are naturally dissuading them from backbiting and backstabbing coworkers.

Related: Managing Difficult Employees and Disruptive Behaviors

5. Set Clear Expectations

Do not just ask people not to gossip and think that they are going to stop. It does not usually make them stop gossip because their gossips do not define what they do as gossip.

So, it is essential that you identify what someone explicitly said and how it breaches the workplace anti gossip policy.

After identifying the issue, then let them know what you do not want to hear again in the workplace. Try to be direct and specific enough to be clear about what you want to stop from happening. By doing that means, you are defining the behaviors that need to change in the workplace.

6. Stop Pointless Complaining

Do not ignore people who complain a lot. Employees who keep venting and complaining are also gossipers. Any pointless complaining is harmful to workplace culture.

If an employee is venting to coworkers to feel validated, that person is gossiping. It makes the person venting somehow feel better about themselves.

7. Set and Enforce the Consequences

If gossiping continues, have a one-on-one conversation with the perpetrators and let the person know the consequences if they do not stop the habit.

The act of gossiping is toxic behavior that can negatively affect productivity. So, you must deal with it the same way you handle other performance issues.

Gossiping can potentially poison your workplace culture, so it is reasonable to replace employees who fail to stop the habit. Remember that a toxic environment can only last if the manager does nothing.


Employees must know that if they spread untrue information around the workplace, they are at risk of being disciplined. Employees also need to understand that if they gossip about confidential information, they are breaking the no-gossip policy in the workplace.

Would you like to work in a workplace where there is gossiping, backstabbing, and backbiting? Please leave your comment in the box below.

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