Tapping the Grapevine

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  • One area of focus was tapping the grapevine.
  • Our Internal Communication System was strong. However, our "Informal" Internal Communication System is also very strong.
  • Our idea for this came from the article Informal Communication Network: factors influencing grapevine activity from the Winter 1998 Public Personnel Management.
  • Instead of clamping down on the grapevine, we need to tap it because if people are talking about and questioning a certain topic, then it must be important to them.
  • The obvious resource for a staff member that has heard something "at the water cooler" or at the "smoke lounge" is their supervisor or manager. However, these staff members can be heavily involved with the grapevine as well.
  • We wanted some way in which questions could move directly from the bottom to the top.
  • While our administration has always had an open door policy for anyone with a question, in reality, not many people chose to seek the truth in regards to matters learned on the grapevine.
  • Also, as much as we train people when they are hired, many staff are not exactly sure who is responsible for what.
  • If we had some way to provide staff with an anonymous avenue to submit questions, then we would hopefully be able to address some of the misinformation that is spread through the grapevine.
  • Our proposal involves a web form, that, when filled out, is sent to a designated staff member. This staff member can then forward the question to the person that would best be able to address the question.
  • Once an answer has been determined, the person can decide how best to relay the answer to the appropriate parties. Does it require an all staff email? Would it be better to inform the Regional Managers, who would then pass it down from there?
  • Once way or another, we have taken a rumor off of the grapevine, and replaced it with verifiable information within the "Formal" Internal Communication System.
  • Click here to see the proposed design.
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