A grapevine always exists in the office, organization, community or anywhere. Trying to crush it out entirely is both hopeless and counterproductive. But rumors that threaten job security can destroy an organization if left unchecked. One of the major concerns in dealing with the grapevine is that it is usually impossible to pinpoint the source of rumor.
The following are the strategies that we must utilize to soothe the potential damage of grapevine rumors:
1. Always be available for frank discussion of employee concerns. A minor rumor may loom important to employees if it is allowed to worsen, taking a toll on morale and performance. Make an unfounded rumor the subject of the next employee meeting.
2. Give your undivided attention to the employee who comes to you with the latest rumor. If it is totally unfounded, tell him so, honestly. If there’s some truth to the story, but management doesn’t want to address it at this time, simply tell the employee that you’re not at liberty to discuss it. Then report the conversation to top management right away. The timetable for announcing the subject of the rumor should be moved up if employees are already aware of it.
3. Don’t waste a great deal of time trying to trace the source of the rumor – unless an employee is releasing confidential information. Never try to publicly embarrass employees who are responsible for spreading rumors. You can accomplish the same goal by releasing the facts and having other employees realize how deceptive their information really is.
4. Devote time at every meeting for employees to ask questions about subjects that may be bothering them. There is no better way to detect the subject of the latest rumor.
5. Keep the work environment predictable and give employees as much control over their work as possible. They should have sufficient power and authority to accomplish the jobs they are expected to perform. Insufficient authority breeds discontent, a major fuel for the rumor factory.
If you have other strategies in your mind or have remarks to this post, I’m inviting you to leave your comments below . I love to hear from you.