Internal communications expert Angela Sinickas says that when you need a comprehensive overall assessment of your entire internal communication audit program, you should consider including questions in the following categories:
How strong are various aspects of the communication environment: timeliness, accuracy, transparency, relevance, even handedness in covering the bad/good, upward communication opportunities, and the like? Are employees receiving too much, too little or about the right amount of information through different types of channels and overall?
Topics of Information
How interested are employees in various topics? How well informed do they feel about them? For each of those topics, where do they currently learn about them? Where would they prefer to learn about them? A common survey trap is to ask employees a single question about where they want to receive all their information. It’s a trap because preferences actually vary by topic, by company, by subgroup within a company, and even at the same company over time as changes are made in communication campaigns and channels. If you ask a bad question, however, you still will get an answer – it will just lead to a bad conclusion. For more information about the impact of asking channel preferences by topic, this article may help: “Supervisors are still not the preferred communicators.”
Channels of Information
How many employees have access to different channels? For those who do have access, how useful is each one? What is the preferred frequency for each channel? For face-to-face channels, how well do supervisors and senior leaders demonstrate various communication skills? For other channels, are the length, tone, graphics, navigation, etc. about right? For new tools you’re considering using, how likely would employees be to use them?
You could repeat some questions from a company engagement survey and conduct a statistical correlation to see which communication inputs on the survey are most likely to predict the most engaged employees. You can also ask direct questions connecting communications to behaviors. For one client that had focused a great deal on safety communication one year, we asked employees which safety behaviors they had paid more attention to in the last year because of the communications they received. On another survey, we asked employees who selected a particular benefit option which of the communications they received had most influenced their decision. Outcomes and the other areas above, if given the proper consideration, will help you with an internal communication audit.
What to measure, how to measure, when to measure and where to measure. So many questions surround the subject of internal communications measurement, and we know it’s difficult territory for IC professionals.
Our 2016 global survey of over 700 internal communicators found that over 95% believe measurement is ‘extremely important’ but over half admitted it was the activity they spent least time doing each week, with two out of three saying they found communications ‘difficult to measure’.
Here at Poppulo, we’ve already developed ground-breaking software to easily measure communications across multiple digital channels (email, intranet, video and social) but we wanted to go a step further and create The Ultimate Guide to Measuring Internal Communications which includes how to find content for internal communication audit surveys.
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So we commissioned Angela Sinickas, one of the world’s leading internal comms measurement experts, to create this highly practical and accessible, step-by-step guide to measuring internal communications. It focuses on the best place to start your measurement journey, dealing with engaging stakeholders, how to develop communication plans and how to survey for statistically valid data so that change can be measured over time, showing the impact of your communications.
I hope that this guide will help you either take your first steps into internal communications measurement, or if you have a more developed IC function, continue to provide value to senior leaders.