Assessing Communication and Understanding
Communication comes at the heart of all we do. If communication isn't effective in an organisation, then - by definition - the organisation isn't effective.
For employees and employer to flourish there must be clear, two-way flows of communication mean everyone knows:
What we're all aiming for
What that means we need to do each day
How we can bring everyone together to make that happen.
Or in other words, does everyone know what we want them to know, do they what they need to know and do they know what they'd like to know?
For all of these types of messages we seek to understand: If people receive the message, do they understand it, do they believe it and utimately, do they act on it?
As well as investigating what channels work best for what kind of messages, and for what kind of people.
We'll leave you with a full understanding of what to continue, what to stop and what to add.
Reviewing internal comms
Through the eyes of employees
Internal Communication has the power to energise and bring together entire organisations. But there’s every chance that it misses its targets, falls on deaf ears, or simply fails to catalyse and embed the intended action.
Too often, the effectiveness of internal communications is not measured, and it:
Relies for too long on trusted channels
Is prone to fads or local initiatives that cloud the picture
Focuses too much on what-we-want-to-tell-you…
…And not enough on serving what-you-need-to-hear
Instead of…Complex Communication
We will… Help simplify to the most meaningful messages
Instead of…Talking at the Audience
We will … Help you creating a meaningful dialogue
Instead of…Focussing on Outputs
We will … Help you be clear about the right outcomes
What we'll do
Every employer is different in priorities, culture, what’s happened before – so the exact programme will look different for everyone. But our conversations/measures are likely to include a review of existing material and channels, focus groups, interviews, survey and desk research.
What we will uncover
For three types of communication:
What we need you to know
What you need to know
What you like to know
We will examine:
Which channels work best … for which messages?
What should you do more or less of?
What should you do differently?
What it might cost
As an example prices, for our planning, listening, reporting, by size of organisation
Up to 250 people: £2,000 - £4,000
Up to 1,000 people: c£6,000
Up to 2,500 people: c£8,000
What you'll get:
A clear understanding of what works and what must change
An action plan of how to develop internal communications
A plan to continue
listening or a handover
The most important measures to see the effects of action
CASE STUDY: Retail
"Thanks loads Sam. You're an absolute star”
“I honestly think you’re the easiest person to work with”
This retailer wanted to improve their ability communicate internally, so they could better perform.
They operate in two very different environments – stores and support offices – with very different needs. We designed a series of listening exercises and workshop that:
explored the needs of the different audiences, both in terms of channels and messages
understood the reality of how communication works now
investigated different communication priorities for different moments
proposed new ways of communicating, allowing them to be ranked
And we then took these findings into a survey to a broader audience to test our findings.
This allowed us to show the whole landscape. We presented all the different needs and priorities, as well as all the commonalities, laid out in a way that hadn’t been seen together before
We were able to show that communication had improved, but that challenges remained, with detail of those challenges. With preferences understood we were able to make strong, clear recommendations on what to retain, what to lose, and what needs to be adapted to work better.
We kept a strong focus on what those supporting stores must consider. Chiefly, that time is limited. This means that both: Repetition is aggravating …but equally that pressure means things can be missed … and so repetition may be necessary. We recommended a way out of this vicious circle.
We left an already effective internal comms team with a clear way to improve, become more effective, and drive business performance.
What should you consider using an outsider to review your internal communications? And why?
It’s going to come at a cost, and this is your territory, so why consider bringing in an outsider?
It’s going to occupy the time of yourself, and others. We can be pretty sure you’re already busy. We can be equally sure you’ll hear plenty of times “I don’t have enough time to keep up with comms”. Now you’re asking for more of people’s time?!
It’s going to be really important that this commitment enables you to far better cut through, inform, engage and enlighten your people, and allow your organisation to run more smoothly and effectively.
Your options are:
Keep doing what you do
Do it yourself
Involve an expert
If you keep doing what you do, the communication, engagement and performance stay as they are. And if you’re even starting to think about a review, you probably know you really need to do something.
So, the other options and considerations are:
Do It Yourself – Continual tweaking of comms
It will take time, when you’re likely already stretched. So, it’s probable you’ll need to work in phases rather than all-at-once.
OTHER STAFF TIME
As much or as little as you like – but it’s always best to involve as many people as possible. You’ll probably have a few regular voices whose opinions you already know. It’s vital to get many other voices too.
You’re going to have to listen to criticism and that can be hard. Can you be objective and open to ideas from other non-experts? The risk is that you – perhaps subconsciously – dismiss or miss ideas that can make a real difference.
Involve an Expert - An objective plan
But quite possibly, not as much as you think.
(For an organisation of up to £250 people, our prices start from £2000.)
As experts, we specialise in gathering insight at pace.
You can expect your plan for improved comms to be ready to action in just a few weeks.
OTHER STAFF TIME
Again, as much or as little as you like. The more views, the more robust the recommendations – but getting people involved can be hard.
You will have already a lot of insights and data, we will be itching to make full use of all of that.
We have a detached, neutral view, and more experience in more organisations. That willset you up for faster and more reliable success. Meaningful measures – an area where IC pros often struggle – will be included, drawing lines between communication, action and performance.
Dig Deep – Expert research, including personas
This is for the bigger and more complex employers where the information or motivations will be quite different across the organisation
It's going to take longer to understand all of those different aspects, but an outside expert should always come with the assurance of speed of action.
It may take more than a month, there should be no reason you’re not fully informed within 2-3 months.
OTHER STAFF TIME
To understand more different types of people – you need to speak to a greater number of people in different roles or territories or functions. But that doesn’t mean you need loads of time for everyone. There’s a balance to be struck between of investment of time vs value of the outputs.
As well as the organisational plan, you’ll also get a picture of the priorities of and preferred channels for different groups of people. That might be done demographically, it might be done by attitude.
You’ll understand how to communicate with many different types of people – and how to measure that in a way has relevance to your leadership, and those you need to influence.