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Developing leaders to turn idle gossip into positive change


Every office has its gossips. It might be the sales director, the secretary or the office manager but every office will have one (or two).

You might just ignore it as meaningless chitchat, but are your employees actually using this environment to accurately evaluate your business and their colleagues on a regular basis? If they are, and you’re ignoring what’s being said, you could be missing out on a treasure trove of information.

Whether it’s outside in the smoking area or next to the water cooler, your employees will be telling each other what they like and dislike about different aspects of your business. They could be assessing their superiors, the office atmosphere or even their career prospects. While it’s fair to assume that this happens in every office, that doesn’t make it irrelevant.

Maybe it all sound a bit too much like Big Brother, but with 360 feedback appraisal you can access honest and authentic appraisals from staff that make them feel valued and not intimidated.

Gossip can be simple human interaction that helps your employees to bond, however it could also be hiding some uncomfortable truths that will affect your business. If there’s a particular aspect of your business that your employees detest, it is surely better to know about than let it fester. Equally, it’s not necessarily all bad news. While your employees might be critical of one aspect of business, they might also be spotting your next rising star.

The human element of any business is crucial and embracing it holds the key to success and growth in the future. Engaging with employees to extract this sort of information can build employee commitment and help them to feel valued.

It can also be done more easily than you’d expect. Some employees might feel intimidated by the prospect of telling their superiors what they think. Therefore, however engaging your personality is, the personal touch might be the wrong option.

The anonymity that 360 feedback provides will allow your employees to provide honest and authentic feedback. Therefore you’ll get meaningful information from the people that matter so that you can make changes and build training programmes that help your staff develop.

Elva Ainsworth
Talent Innovations - 360 Degree Appraisals

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