We know effective internal communications leads to an increase in employee engagement, retention and ultimately productivity (Gallup, 2020). The key word here is effective communication. So how do you know if what you are saying is getting through to your colleagues? Our Internal Wire Audit service is a good place to start.
Why do I need an internal communications audit?
First you need to have a clear goal in terms of what are you trying to achieve with your internal communications and how will you activate it? The Internal Wire audit will give you valuable information on which activities are working well, what employees are responding to, what they would like to see more of and if your messaging is effective. Location is no longer a barrier — for both teams and businesses — and we are seeing increased demand locally and globally for our services.
The key elements of an audit
The first question you should ask yourself is why you are conducting this audit?
- Are your engagement levels low?
- Are you struggling to create content that resonates?
Once you know your goal for the audit, you can create an effective internal communications plan. The elements of this plan can vary but some key activities that often form part of our internal audits include:
Get feedback from your colleagues across the organisation.
- How do they feel about the current internal communications activities?
- What do they see is missing?
This will be different for each organisation – items flagged for improvement in our recent research ranged from more clarity on transparent business updates to opportunities for two-way feedback.
What channels are you using to communicate with employees? What are the comfort levels and engagement rates with these platforms? You need to understand what channels your organisation is comfortable using and which have the greatest cut-through. If engagement is low, an audit provides you with the opportunity to seek information on how this can be improved.
Critically reviewing the type of content that you are sharing is always a useful exercise. How is the content you are creating and posting being received? Understanding if video generates more engagement than written copy, if posting in the morning is more successful than afternoon – these are valuable insights that should inform your content planning, going forward.
It is also useful to check in with senior management – are they on the same page when it comes to what the internal communications strategy is and how they can drive and activate the activities themselves. Only 13% of employees strongly agree that their leaders are effectively communicating with the organisation (Gallup, 2017). For internal communications to be effective, leadership needs to be aligned and engaged.
Once you gathered the data, you can then review if your current objectives still ring true and adjust your overall strategy, as relevant.
Types of data
You can use both qualitative and quantitative research to inform your audit. Ideally start with the quantitative; surveys, metrics and analytics and then to dig deeper, use qualitative such as internal focus groups and interviews. These are all useful ways to collect data, observations and, most importantly, pinpoint the key areas for improvement.
When we complete an internal communications audit for clients, we generate a comprehensive report, giving an overview of findings and suggested next steps and timelines. This report should then inform your updated internal communications strategy and planned activities. We would recommend carrying an audit on a regular basis to ensure you are responding to the ever-changing business needs.
Key information gathered can also be shared with employees – keeping them informed on the actions you are taking based on their feedback will show you are listening and taking their concerns seriously.
If you would like to undertake an internal communications audit of your organisation, email Springboard Director of Strategy & Insight Sandy Boundy.