How to Avoid Grapevine Communication in Order to Improve Efficiency


Communication is very important to the growth and success of a company. It can either make or break the company. To ensure that all employees are efficient, communication should be clear and effective. One common practice that could hinder the efficiency of the company is grapevine communication. Here's how to avoid grapevine communication in order to improve efficiency:

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What is grapevine communication?

It is unofficial, informal and personal communication system or channel that takes place in an organization as a result of gossip and rumour. As grapevine communication can distort facts and create conflict, it is important that this type of communication should be avoided. Below are the tips on how to avoid grapevine communication and the negative effects that it can bring.

Poor communication: the best Grapevine Fertilizer

Not only can poor communication create conflict and misunderstandings, it can also lead to the spread of gossip and rumours. For example, if management fails to address the company’s issue of downsizing, some employees may spread rumours about certain departments or employees to be eliminated. This can cause tension and deterioration of the employee’s morale. To fix poor communication, here are some tips:

  • Pinpoint critical areas for action and highlight key issues
  • Create a baseline from which to measure success and progress
  • Communication recommendations should be backed up by facts and figures
  • Use the right data and tools to measure the efficiency of communication
  • Engage employees and drive accountability

Recommended reading: Why Employees Should Play an Active Part in Organisation Redesigns

Organise a Question and Answer session

Having a question and answer session is a great medium to air out questions and concerns and clear any misunderstandings. It could be a highly valuable opportunity to understand the management and employee’s sides. Use the following tactics for having an effective Q&A session:

  • Dedicate enough time for the question and answer session
  • Select a good moderator that can boost the effectiveness of the session. He can create preset questions and ensure that the session is objective and well-maintained.
  • Collect questions ahead of the event. Then employees can have enough time to consider their questions instead of scrambling to come up with the questions during the session.

Work out who are the credible gatekeepers and liaison people

In every office environment, there are employees who play the part of gatekeepers and liaison. What is the difference between these two? A gatekeeper is a person who controls access to something or an individual that holds the decision if information will be disseminated to a wider audience.

Liaison, on the other hand, is someone that facilitates a close working relationship between organisations. As these people hold influence and power over other employees, it is very important that you identify them ahead of time.  

Use key communicators to disseminate information into the Grapevine quickly

Once you have identified those gatekeepers and liaison people, you can use them as a medium of communication. Since they have the trust and respect of the employees, having them as communicators would be for your benefit. Employees perceive them as trusted source of information so this clears out misconception and misunderstanding.  

Hold periodic group meetings

Periodic meetings in every organisation are important since this is a venue where the team is made aware of what is happening in the office. It is also a great way to know any issues that have arisen. Group meetings should be fun, effective and energising. Have your periodic group meeting as something to be looked forward to with these tips:

  • It should be diverse and interesting.
  • Design it as a social activity. Have the first few minutes as a social mixer where everyone gets to mingle with each other.
  • Encourage everyone to air out their ideas and concerns.
  • Bring a different kind of food at the meeting. People open up easily when there is food involved.

Recommended reading: How to Have an Effective Team Meeting

Avoid unnecessary spin

Not being clear and direct to the point is often the cause of misconception and miscommunication in the workplace. When things are not laid out clearly, other people may tend to interpret it incorrectly and relay this misinterpretation to other employees. To avoid unnecessary spins, practice these basic rules in communication:

  • Focus and understand on the “why” before engaging in communication to avoid rat holes and side issues
  • Deliver communication that has high emotional content in person.
  • Communicate factual information in writing.
  • Listen
  • Make your message as easy and simple to digest as possible.

Conflicts and troubles can be avoided if there is an effective communication within the organisation. 

Generate news for the Grapevine to make sure employees get the information they need

When people don’t have all the facts in hand, they tend to speculate information and create distorted facts. It is very important that employees have all the information that they need so that there is no room for speculation and rumours.

Updates should be emailed to all employees and electronic signatures can also be used by employees as an indication that they have read and understood critical news and updates.

Be concise but complete as the Grapevine distorts complex and incomplete messages

People may have different interpretation at facts based on the tone and information presented. When delivering news and critical information, make sure that you avoid using words that can be confusing. Be clear and direct to the point. Ensure that all necessary information is provided to avoid distortion of facts and adding incorrect information. 

Having clear and open communication within the organisation can be challenging, but if you can garner support from key communicators and share things openly with plenty of opportunities for people to communicate back then the company will be more efficient and successful.


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