Psst, most workers get news through gossip first

2005

British workplaces are so riddled with gossip that employees believe they are more likely to hear important workplace announcements through the office rumour-mill than direct from their managers.

The damning finding from consultancy ISR found UK workers are some of the biggest gossips in Europe, matched only by their colleagues in France.

The survey reported that more than two thirds of UK workers say they usually hear about important business matters through rumour before it comes from official channels.

One reason for this is that Britain’s business leaders are poor communicators, suggested ISR.

As a result employees felt left out of decision making and were less inclined to put in the extra effort needed to make their organisations a success.

Those companies where employees said their bosses were poor communicators were more likely to perform poorly on the stock market, it added.

UK managers, alongside their French counterparts, were ranked the poorest in Europe when it came to telling employees about important business developments first.

Managers in Denmark scored highest at beating the rumour mill, but even there 41 per cent of employees said the rumour-mill came was fastest.

The situation is particularly bad in the UK hi-tech sector, where nearly eight out 10 employees say they hear about significant developments through rumour first.

Yves Duhaldeborde, executive director at ISR, said: “Good leaders are good communicators, and this research shows that managers in the UK have a lot to learn.

“Employees care about their manager’s ability to communicate and want to know as much as possible about their organisations. They want to understand its core values and feel involved in key decisions.

“Clear, unambiguous communication helps ensure employees are willing to work harder, understanding and supporting their company’s goals and vision. Without it employees are likely to just tread water and this will be reflected in financial performance.”