When you think of the grapevine, you think of gossip, mostly bad news about the organization. Whether you like it or not, a grapevine will exist in your company. You can’t eliminate it but you can limit its potential for demotivating staff by feeding it accurate information.
Begin by sharing good news with staff members faster. Enjoy the excitement of telling your staff yourself before they hear it through the grapevine.
If you learn that inaccurate information is being spread, set the record straight. Meet with your employees and nip the destructive rumor in the bud.
Do this even if the news is, indeed, bad. Get the information out in the open where you can examine the implications with your staff. Whatever you say should be truthful. Avoid spin. Most people know when they’re hearing half-truths and propaganda-like messages. The only accomplishment of such communications is decreased morale.
Include a question and answer session to demonstrate your openness and desire to be candid with your employees.
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Set a regular schedule in which you and your staff will meet to discuss operating issues and other topics. Your employees should be able to count on receiving information at regular intervals. That way they’ll spend less energy looking for information elsewhere.
Besides formal meetings, be prepared to handle questions from your employees when they come to you. Then tell the employees what you know. If you know what might happen, say so. If you know something is under discussion but nothing has been decided, let the individual know that. Employees will appreciate that some things are just confidential and can’t be discussed. In such instances, reveal as much as you can and then let your employees know that the rest of the information is confidential. If circumstances change and you can share the entire story, you will do so.