How to undertake a communication audit

As we hurtle towards the end of the year and have some semblance of normality as schools return and workplaces are encouraged to get people back into the office, now is a great time to consider undertaking internal research, or auditing, your existing communications.

THE AUTHOR

Lisa Pantelli, head of content & community

Lisa is simply’s head of content and community. She is an award-winning employee engagement and internal communications specialist.

The case for good communication has never been stronger; but as the Covid-19 pandemic continues with its grip across the globe, there’s no doubt that organisational life for millions will change forever.

After what has been one of the most challenging times to be a communicator, as many of us start to see some semblance of normality, now is a good time to be thinking about undertaking a communication and channel audit.

Whether you’re in the throes of planning for the next 6-12 months, or, just want to sharpen up your internal communication capabilities, undertaking a communications audit will help you steer the course to guide you on the right path to meet both communication and organisational objectives.

Why audit? 

An audit helps us to understand a particular problem you’re trying to solve by listening to what people have to say.

Common triggers for a communication audit are:

  • Large-scale change
  • Introduction of a new leadership team
  • A new vision
  • Need for data to build a business case for a new platform or channel
  • Development of, or fine-tuning of a communication strategy

Lisa Pantelli, head of content & community at simplycommunicate: “it’s completely understandable how communication and channel audits are pushed down the agenda. However, as we’ve seen, change can happen so quickly, despite our best efforts, ongoing listening is crucial to support employee engagement and internal communication. We’d really encourage teams to take the time over the next few months to take stock and ask themselves, is what we’re doing right? What’s working? Are we trying to shoehorn ‘old’ practices into new ways of working?” 

Key areas to explore in an audit are:

  • Demographic: Clarity of insight on your audience. Who are they and where are they?
  • Communication needs: What matters to our people? What do they want to know and what’s missing?
  • Channels: What channels are people using (or not using) and why
  • Leadership: How effective is leadership in sharing communication through the organisation?
  • Engagement and message testing: What do people do with the information they receive? What’s the impact? What difference are we making?
  • Ambition: where do we want to go? Where are the gaps?

While audits can take time out of busy schedules to complete, what you receive in return is invaluable. Undertaking pulse check and periodic check-ins on key challenges can help keep your internal communication on track.

An audit, in our view, should never a standalone piece of work. It should help support the internal communicator to achieve a specific goal. In this simplyguide, we provide a five-step framework for undertaking a comprehensive communication audit.

And don’t forget, the simplyteam are here to support you wherever you might need it!

simplycommunity members log in to download the guide here.

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