Q: Is there a Web site or a publication to which you can direct me that defines and describes what is considered world class/top quality employee communications programs? I am assessing the internal communication practices and programs for my organization with an objective of comparing them with established top-level communications.
A: Dear Stuart:
Three places you might check:
- The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) sells a “Diagnostic” tool to assess your own communication program based on the criteria identified in a huge study from a few years ago on Excellence in Communication.
- In addition, the Public Affairs Group in Washington, DC, sells an annual benchmarking study about employee communication practices.
- Of course, you can also subscribe to the benchmarking database conducted at our www.CommToolbox.com site.
However, the only way you’ll know if your communication program is effective for your own employees is to obtain their input through a research project. For example, I worked with one client who had what they thought was a world-class video newsmagazine. They won many awards for it over the years. The feedback cards they included with the videocassettes came back with glowing reports. But, when we did an employee communication audit survey, we discovered that over half the employees had NEVER seen a single edition of the video, over a five-year period.
As it turned out, managers who received the video did watch it and like it, and sent in favorable feedback forms. But most of them never showed it in staff meetings as they were instructed to do because they were too long and on the wrong topics for a staff meeting. So, did they have world-class communication? On paper, yes; in reality, no.
Angela D. Sinickas