An Apple employee recently leaked an internal memo in which Apple warns employees to stop leaking information. (Read the memo here.)

While it is hard not to enjoy the irony of a leaked memo warning against leaked information, the incident has highlighted a sensitive issue that reaches far beyond Silicon Valley. Here are three reasons every organization should care about leaks.


Whether you run a medial office, law firm or restaurant, information about the inner workings of your organization is valuable. Regardless of whether you have trade secrets or proprietary methods, information about your workplace culture can have a huge impact on your ability to keep or attract people.

Understanding the external view current and ex-employees are painting about your internal environment is critical. Jaded ex-employees can easily reach current staff and potential candidates via social media or word of mouth.

Do not disregard negative comments. Instead, use them to filter out the truth about internal issues and find an open, fair way to begin discussing possible solutions. Doing so can mean the difference between sorting through a few bad applicants or having good candidates line up to apply regardless of whether you are hiring.


The controlled leaking of information regarding new products or services is an effective marketing tool. Organizations often use tantalizing tastes of pending releases to create a buzz. The key to success is managing the flow of information and including employees in the process.

For example, while a few departments may be intimately involved in the launch process, it is important to engage the remaining departments by giving everyone information they can share through their own networks. Doing so helps everyone from the receptionist to the accountants feel involved. It also allows the organization to manage the content and turn their employees into ambassadors who will echo the message in the process.

Insider trading

The stock market may never be affected by your organization's ups and downs. However, the local business environment and your competition may be.

Whether you run a skilled nursing facility or a pest control company, knowing the environment, pay, work hours, staffing commitments and approach of your competitors can be extremely valuable in a small town or tight market. Thus, it is important to understand what information is being shared about your work environment.

The idea is not to threaten and punish your employees for sharing. Instead, you can use that information to your advantage to create a workplace that encourages pride and attracts good candidates by openly discussing it with your teams. While embracing negative feedback from employees may seem counterintuitive, doing so creates trust and supports the development of a strong, loyal culture.

The bottom line is you may not have trade secrets or be developing cutting-edge technology, yet the information employees share with nonemployees can have a big impact on any company. Instead of being undermined by negative leaks, consider the type of information employees can share, find out what they are saying and leverage that information to improve culture, morale and competitiveness.