With the right insight, you can upgrade employee communication to ignite engagement and drive business results

In recent years, the practice of internal communication has transformed rapidly.

Technology has evolved.
Content priorities have shifted.
Audiences have become more distinct and complex.  

And there’s more pressure than ever before to show tangible business results.

This has left many internal communication professionals wondering if they need to make adjustments to their programs, and they’re turning to Communication Audits to get the answers they need.

While almost any type of assessment can produce helpful information, there are three ways to boost the effectiveness of a Communication Audit. When done right, these audits can uncover the insights needed to make important decisions with confidence.

1. Use an Audience-Centered Approach

The most effective communication occurs when the intended audience receives your information and interprets it accurately. If the message doesn’t reach them or it’s not interpreted properly, communication fails.

That’s why the single most important way to conduct a Communication Audit is to first gain a deep understanding of the audiences you’re trying to reach. You can then use this audience-focused lens to examine the rest of the program to see what is connecting with employees and moving them to action.

You may notice certain channels are more effective at reaching employees, and you’re likely to see that some of the content you’ve been producing for years can become more effective with just a few adjustments.

2. Think of Leaders as a Communication Channel

When we consider communication channels, we often think of email, intranet, social media, meetings and publications. Those are important items to examine in a Communication Audit, but supervisors often have the greatest influence over employees’ actions, attitudes and mindsets. That makes all of your organization’s leaders a powerful and valuable channel for communicating to employees.

As you look at the other channels you use to send messages, think of your organization’s people leaders in the same way. For instance, you may be checking to see if the content is tailored specifically for leaders to deliver to their teams. Or, you may be looking at the messaging to see if it fits within the context of how the leader will communicate it.

By viewing the role of leaders in this way, you can uncover opportunities that will empower leaders to amplify your message and help the internal communication program make a greater impact.

3. Align Workload to Resources Available

It’s very common to conclude an audit with a long list of action items. You’ll uncover a lot of opportunities to adjust things you’re already doing or to start something new. But it’s equally important to look for things to stop doing. To optimize the impact of the internal communication program, it’s critical to only take on the amount of work that you and your team can do well. When you’re spread too thin, it’s difficult to be effective.

Having an objective method for prioritizing communication activities can be a useful tool in identifying what to keep, what to improve and what to eliminate. Throughout the audit, it can be helpful to assign a numerical value to each channel or activity based on its ability to reach, engage and influence audiences.

For example, meetings or events may have a higher score because they can reach a large group, activate more of the senses and allow for two-way, in-person communication. On the other hand, a podcast that averages only a few listeners each month would have a lower score because it doesn’t reach many people, only activates the sense of hearing and doesn’t allow for two-way communication.

This scoring method will make it easier to determine which activities are top priorities so you can match them against the resources you have.

At the completion of the Communication Audit, you’ll have the insight needed to confidently determine how to optimize the performance of your internal communication program and identify the most effective blend of messages, channels and content types that ignite engagement and drive action.

Learn more about JPL’s employee engagement and internal communications practice.