Q: I have an opportunity to design and implement a thorough audit of employee communications for the quality department at a major pharmaceutical corporation. I’ve never done one of these. Can you help me get started?
A: Dear Clark:
An internal communication audit can include several or all of the following steps:
- Review of previous research on communication
- Executive interviews to determine what they consider ideal communication and how they evaluate the current communications
- Employee focus groups to obtain answers to open-ended questions about ideal and current communications
- A survey to quantify many of the issues identified from executives and employees, such as levels of interest and understanding about key messages, current and preferred sources for each message, access to various communication channels, overall value of each channel, ideal frequency of each channel, effectiveness of communication skills for supervisors/managers and executives, and a host of other more broad questions about credibility, accuracy, timeliness, etc., as well as more focused “readership” type questions about a key channel or two.
- In-depth research about specific key channels. For example, a content analysis comparing the actual coverage of topics in a publication or a website against the ideal topics it should be covering, reading grade levels of the writing, Starch Tests of aided and unaided recall, objective assessment by outsiders of content/format, usability testing of intranets, etc.
I hope this provides an overview for you. Good luck and have fun!
Angela D. Sinickas