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IDear Workforce-I Is the Grapevine a Good Source of Advice

It can be, but it can also limit your sources and give you a biased view of your work place.
September 6, 2000
Related Topics: Dear Workforce

Dear Workforce:

My question is, can HR rely on or use information gained through informal communication channels when developing people-strategies/policies or general improvements to processes? I am referring mostly to the reliability of the grapevine networks within a company.

--Janette, regional HR manager in New Zealand


A Dear Janette:

I'm not so sure you can always rely on the informal grapevine.

First, there might be a natural human tendency to only listen to one vine. You're going to go to the same people for advice time and time again. You feel comfortable with them, and they feel comfortable with you.

Second, people may be less forthright when they feel like their jobs and their livelihoods may be on the line. They may be less critical, for example. You may want to consider administering a confidential survey to illicit responses that you may not get "live."


SOURCE: Online Editor Todd Raphael.

E-mail your Dear Workforce questions to Online Editor Todd Raphael at, along with your name, title, organization and location. Unless you state otherwise, your identifying info may be used on and in Workforce magazine. We can't guarantee we'll be able to answer every question.


 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

If you have any questions or concerns about, please email or call 312-676-9900.

The Workforce fax number is 312-676-9901.

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