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

September 6, 2000
Q

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.

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