Dismissing the grapevine? Do so at your peril

When employees schmooze about your organization over lunch or in the hallway, they offer clues about pressing issues in your workplace. Here’s how to listen acutely.

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The grapevine is essential to communication in most companies, though it might seem outside the purview of internal communicators.

Managers might ignore or disparage the grapevine as nothing more than a rumor mill or mere gossip.

Actually, they could tap the grapevine as a useful source of intelligence. Listen for these clues to help you make communication relevant to employees.

When people are talking about work, it’s because they want to clarify meaning around their jobs. Listen for points that are exaggerated; they are what employees consider important. Recognize which points are ignored, a signal they may consider them irrelevant.

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