If your office has a healthy, but morally damaging rumor mill, it's time to take steps to limit the damage.
Internal communication is key when managing one or several office locations. It's no secret that when there are multiple locations within a company, this area is pushed to the far backburner unless there is an issue and that's when things get messy.
Rather than wait for problems to occur, take a more proactive approach to knowing what is going on within each office and have a common area to share those communications. Do you have employees leaving or joining your team? Do you have practice marketing events planned? Is there healthcare industry information that you'd like to share? Does anyone have a birthday this month? These are just a few areas you can start looking at within your organization. Still just a one-location company? This still applies to you.
At my company, I started an internal newsletter I used to do years ago, and it's proving to be a great source of information allocation. A few of the ideas mentioned above are some areas that I touch on: Billing tip and tricks (these are the items you cover with staff multiple times and perhaps its not getting through), any employee spotlight (catch them doing something correct and showcase it!) small personal information (not too personal) about employees (ie. Susan had her baby, Mark won an award for serving his community, etc.), upcoming holidays and the work hours surrounding that. There are several areas that you can talk about within the company. Annual goals perhaps to make sure all other employees' professional goals are in alignment with the companies' overall plans.
The idea is to start the ball rolling in the direction of positive internal communication. The rumor mill exists in most businesses, and it's more prevalent in some since there is nothing else to talk about. If you give people something positive to read about, they are more apt to exclude themselves from said rumor mill. It also is providing a space of transparency, which is often lacking in a majority of companies. This is when speculation, fear, and insecurities begin, and new rumors start.
Consider this, one of your competitors was seen with a higher-up from your company (owner, partner, director) having lunch by a fellow employee. The employee watches the interaction and concludes that your two companies must be merging, as a handshake concluded the lunch visit. The employee then goes back to the office and starts talking about their perception of the meeting. Rumors spread like wildfire and now you have upset, hurt, scared and confused employees. What if the two colleagues' children are on the same soccer team and they were making carpool arrangements? It literally can be as simple as a misunderstanding like this, but without internal communication, it can get messy, quickly.
A newsletter is one idea to keep your employees in the loop on what is happening. Obviously, there will be business transactions and communications that details are not disclosed, nor would it be appropriate to do so. But sharing information with your employees show they are valued, and you can even ask them for their feedback and content for next month's newsletter. Getting employees involved in the monthly project gives them a sense of job ownership, and that really will take your business to the next level quicker than you realize.