How to Tackle Grapevine Communication at Work?

Grapevine Communication
Photo by Ben White

Rama’s company had profited greatly in the festive season. The staff knew about financial growth, and it was discussed that they might get a hefty Diwali bonus.

Ramesh and his boss argued about a creative campaign. Gradually a whisper started that they did not get along, and soon Ramesh will be forced to resign.

Both these are examples of grapevine communication, which is an integral part of every organization. When people of different ages, aspirations, mindsets, goals, and roles come together, this type of communication occurs.

The grapevine communication spreads very fast, and it has a great impact on your work experience. The best way to tackle such verbal communication at work is to understand, control, and manage it. First, let us know what grapevine communication is.  hr communication

What is grapevine communication?

Grapevine communication is defined as ‘a communication that happens and transfers through an informal channel of business communication.’ It is proven that almost 70% of communication in an organization happens through the grapevine. Communication plays a vital role in personality development. An individual with a pleasing personality is appreciated and respected by all.

Even though formal channels exist in every organization, employees resort to informal, grapevine channels. The reasons are multifold: financial or other issues in the organization, lack of confidence in employees, disturbed boss-staff relations, favoritism, and even attitude problems.

Types of grapevine communication

This type of communication mostly spreads vertically, but it can also go horizontally in the organizational hierarchy. There are four basic types of grapevine communication.

  • Single Strand Chain where the communication passes through a line of persons to the final recipient
  • Gossip Chain where one person gets access to the information and spreads it among others
  • Probability Chain where the information is passed as per the laws of probability and others pass it similarly
  • Cluster Chain where an employee transfers the piece of information to people selected by him, and they, in turn, transfer it to selected people

Ways to tackle grapevine communication 

There is no permanent solution to grapevine communication. It can’t be eliminated or uprooted completely. However, you can understand, control, and handle it constructively.

Honest communication 

Do not be indifferent to grapevine communication or try to kill it. Communicate proactively with the concerned persons and interact with your colleagues freely.

Open culture

Freedom to approach your seniors and the management is essential to combat grapevine communication. It solves many issues in their initial stage itself.

Communication channels

Keep workplace trust intact by keeping the required communication channels open and approachable. Good leaders build their credibility through correct messages transferred through proper channels.

Eliminate information clutter

Keep your office information sorted and relevant. Information chaos creates an environment where grapevine communication spreads fast. Share information through credible sources only.

Avoid uncertainty

No one should feel uncertain about things at the workplace. When the times are tough, the employees should be kept in the loop. This increases the sense of belonging, and the clarity of communication prevents the rumors from spreading.

Spread optimism

Develop an optimistic network that includes all stakeholders from various levels. Keep your employees busy with creative, skill-building, and positive activities. In this way, their energies will be channelized.

Support your employees’ productivity, and they will boost your company’s. You can even use grapevine communication for the benefit of the organization. Share it with key people who will spread it properly. Put the message across through blogs, brochures, emailers, social media posts, and so on.

Grapevine communication is a double-edged sword. Use it as a tool instead of a weapon, and you will play a winning inning.

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