When was the last time you conducted an internal communication audit?
In our webinar, titled, “How to Audit Your Internal Comms for Future Success,” award-winning communications professional and Director of Helen Deverell Communications, Helen Deverell, covered everything you need to know about what an internal comms audit is, things to think about before doing an audit and why you should run one in the first place.
Helen has spent ten years working in various in-house and agency internal communication and project management roles before setting up her own consultancy in 2016.
She helps organizations listen to their employees and understand how they can improve their internal communications.
Helen blogs about the profession, regularly judges awards and has spoken at events, and on webinars, on the topic of internal communication. And from December she will be the Vice Chair of CIPR Inside.
In 2012, she was also listed as one of the Institute of Internal Communication’s (IoIC) top 30 under 30 internal communicators and has also received The Kathie Jones Rising Star Award of Excellence.
Here are my key takeaways from the webinar on how to successfully conduct an internal communication audit.
Tips for Running an Internal Communication Audit
1) Understand Why You’re Running an Internal Communication Audit
It’s super important to know your why and have clarity on what you’re hoping to achieve out of an internal communication audit.
There are tons of reasons why an internal communication audit may be beneficial for you. If you’re an organization that’s looking to figure out how to make sense of your internal comms data and need a baseline to measure certain things against, an audit may be the way to go.
Or perhaps you’ve just started a new role as an internal comms pro at an organization and you’d like to evaluate where the company stands in terms of its internal communications.
Or you may be looking to create an internal comms strategy and might conduct an audit in the hopes that it’ll help you be more strategic with your decision making skills.
Whatever your reasons are for conducting an audit, be sure to have clarity on why you’re choosing to go down this road.
2) Preparation is Integral
You need to prepare yourself before you decide to run an audit.
This is because there’s a lot of questions you need answered before you can decide you’re ready to start auditing. According to Helen, “Audits can be scalable so even if you have a small budget, there are ways of still getting the outcomes you desire.”
You also need to figure out who will conduct the audit.
It’s always better to get an external agency or consultant involved as they’re likely to be unbiased and can bring a wealth of auditing experience to the table. You may also need to consider whether the organization is at its busiest time at the moment or things are slow (which would be an ideal time to conduct the audit).
Be prepared to hear some hard truths and try not to take any feedback you get personally. Remember, the truth may hurt but if it helps you improve your internal comms and make your employees happy, it’s better to swallow the bitter truth and work on how you can improve things.
3) Be Clear on What an Internal Communication Audit Entails
In order to successfully conduct an internal communication audit, you need to do your homework in order to prepare certain documents.
The first item you’ll need to prepare is a comprehensive brief. You need to give this to any external agency you’re hiring to run your audit and this should outline the scope of the audit, what you’re hoping to accomplish etc.
Get any relevant stakeholders involved in the auditing process from the start. Whose approvals do you need? How can you help the C-Suite see that conducting an audit is a strategic decision that will help improve internal communications?
Evaluate the scope of the audit. This is especially important for companies dealing with dispersed workers across the globe. A scoping session will also help the external agency conducting the audit to gain a solid understanding of your organization’s structure.
Conduct desk research and review current internal communication tools, strategies and any other data that will help you gauge how internal comms are currently being run in your organization.
You can run surveys, focus groups and interviews to gather data on your internal comms.
While surveys can be a great way to get everyone’s opinion, focus groups can be helpful for getting a group of people in the same room and gauging body language, thought processes etc. Interviews are also great for kick-starting conversations and asking follow-up questions.
4) Analysis is Key for a Successful Internal Communication Audit
Once you’ve gathered all the data, you need to analyze it so you can look for common threads and connect the dots.
A SWOT analysis, where you evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of internal comms within the organization, can be extremely helpful here.
Analysis can also sometimes lead you to discover new audiences that you hadn’t thought were relevant to your internal comms.
5) Prepare a Final Report
The next stage of an internal communication audit involves preparing a final report with recommendations on quick wins, medium term priorities and long term priorities.
It can be helpful to structure your report using the SWOT analysis.
You should also create an executive summary within your report so that you can outline the key findings to executive leadership who may not have time to go through the whole report.
6) Outline Action Steps
It’s important to take action straight away. Audits can be time-consuming and if you decide to simply create a report and not do anything about it, all that time and energy will have gone to waste.
Outline the next steps to the organization so that you’re accountable and likely to follow up on the action items you’ve outlined.
Helen suggests booking a follow up audit and/or doing other regular temperature checks as measurement shouldn’t just happen once a year.
Are you ready to audit your internal comms? Still need more convincing? Check out the recording of the webinar below:
Further Resources to Check Out:
- Keep an eye out for the CIPR Inside guide to internal communication audits – coming soon.
- Helen’s blog on How to Audit Your Internal Comms for Future Success.
- Helen’s blog on Running Focus Groups.
- How to Run an Internal Communication Survey
- Writing Good Survey Questions.
- Questionnaire examples and sample templates
Convinced of the power of measuring and tracking your internal comms? Want to learn how to track your internal comms using ContactMonkey? We can set up a personalized demo for you and your team. Just click on the button below to book your demo!