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How is your company communicating?

Does communication between management and employees and across the organisation work well.
If not you might need to review your communication through a proper audit.

Communicating outside the organisation can be a difficult task, but never as difficult as communicating within the organisation.

A communications audit is often a good start to analysing and improving internal communications. The audit is a systematic examination of each of the component parts of the ‘communicating organisation’.

It is achieved through qualitative (individual interview, focus group) and/or qualitative research.

It establishes an accurate imprint of where the organisation has reached on certain key indicators and assists the decision-making process about how to appropriately structure the mechanisms and the tone and content of communications.

THE COMMUNICATIONS AUDIT
Process
The audit is based on a recognition that corporate improvement is more than just good business planning and better systems. That it is also the outcome of strong corporate culture - uniting managers and employees in positive attitudes and behaviour - to which a critical input is effective communications.

Approach
The audit provides information, analysis and understanding on the critical communications factors contributing to morale and effective organisational performance.

Purpose
The communications audit provides a platform from which the organisation can work to ensure it maintains and develops relationships which are strategic, integrated, focussed and productive.

Objectives

  1. To identify and analyse the critical components that comprise the corporate fabric of the organisation: culture, prevailing and potential issues, key relationships, information flows, information content and information mechanisms.
  2. To assemble the data in a report that aligns with organisational philosophy and objectives.
  3. To use this diagnostic process as the basis for the development of strategies and plans.
  4. To ensure the audit process itself focusses staff on relevant issues and demonstrates the organisation's concern to consult with and listen to its staff.

Process
The communications audit needs to satisfy these objectives:

  1. Culture. To evaluate the organisation's culture - its strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Issues. To identify key prevailing and potential issues faced by the organisation.
  3. Relationships. To assess current relationships within the organisation and between the company and the outside world.
  4. Information flows. To define the effectiveness of internal and external flows.
  5. Information content. To assess the relevance and appropriateness of information content.
  6. Information mechanisms. To evaluate the capabilities and effectiveness of delivery mechanisms.

These or similar agreed objectives will be transformed into a specific interview framework to guide the conduct of the audit.

Methodology
By far the most effective method is to undertake face-to-face discussions either individually or in groups. Quantitative survey methods can also be a useful adjunct.

Outcomes
At the end of this process, you will have:

  • An excellent description of key issues, relationships and information within the organisation
  • An acute appraisal of the culture of the organisation and how this may be influencing morale and performance
  • An analysis of the implications of this data
  • A series of recommendations for changes and enhancement