The word “audit” usually conjures images of not-so-friendly tax accountants with calculators at the ready. But for employee communication, an audit is a useful tool to get a high-level view of how communication is performing.
Just as you visit the doctor for annual(ish) physicals or take your car for regular maintenance, it’s a good practice to pause and understand how your communication system is working.
Since audits tend to be more comprehensive than one-off research (such as a stand-alone survey), use them when you need to:
- See the big picture of how communication is experienced across the company—especially when the communication function is decentralized
- Understand how to make incremental improvements to your communication program
- Build evidence to make the case for big changes, such as consolidating newsletters, implementing a leader communication program or centralizing channels
Employee communication audits typically use several research methods to develop a clear picture of strengths and opportunities, including:
|Surveys||Ask employees to evaluate their communication experience, including satisfaction with channels and knowledge of key topics|
|Invite employees and stakeholders to review their needs and preferences, explain how they participate in communication and share their ideas for improvement|
|Vehicle assessments||Assess communication channels against leading practices|
|Site visits||Review workplace communication (posters, signage and bulletin boards) to determine effectiveness|
|Benchmark studies||Compare your employee communication program with the approach of companies you admire|
Next week, I’ll dive into the four steps of an audit project.