Time for an Employee Communications Check-up

StatisticsThank goodness for Jiffy Lube. I drive up, they check a bunch of fluids and things like that, replace some other stuff (can you tell I’m not a mechanic?), and send me through the car wash. A mere 20 minutes later I drive off, secure in the knowledge that this mysterious machine I rely on to get me from Point A to Point B won’t break down on the way to a client meeting. Best of all, they slap a little sticker on my windshield to let me know when I need to come back.

We communicators can learn a lot from Jiffy Lube.

Seriously. When was the last time you gave your employee communications programs a check-up? I’m not talking about a full-scale audit, just a quick assessment of your messaging and vehicles.

Unless your organization has adopted a balanced scorecard system of quarterly metrics, it’s probably been a while. You can’t be sure which vehicle is operating at its full potential. And worse, you have no way of knowing whether that labor-intensive vehicle is worth the time and effort you put into it.

So here are some simple steps for giving your employee communications programs a check-up.

Step One: Inventory

You can’t measure something if you don’t know it exists. So I recommend that you pull together a comprehensive listing of all your communication vehicles. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy — a table or spreadsheet that lists each vehicle, the target audience, content, frequency, method of delivery, etc. Take advantage of this inventory process to collect any metrics associated with those vehicles (web traffic, readership and post-event surveys, program participation, etc.)

Step Two: Assess

Now that you have a snapshot of your communications efforts, you should be able to see where there are redundancies and vehicles with low ROE (return on effort). Take a look at any metrics collected in Step One and use that data to determine if the vehicle is meeting your expectations.

Step Three: Purge

Now is the time to take a hard look at those “pet projects” and eliminate those that don’t support your overall communication strategy. Be bold — if less than 30% of your target audience is actually reading that newsletter, it’s time to retire the publication and deliver that content via another vehicle.

Step Four: Launch

With the “deadweight” eliminated, this is your opportunity to introduce a new vehicle — or expand an existing vehicle — to fill that gap identified in Step One. Look for ways to maximize your effort and multipurpose content in as many vehicles as possible.

Step Five: Schedule

Make a point to do a quick check-up at least once a year. This information will be particularly useful when budget time rolls around — the valuable insight you’ve gained will help determine where to devote your resources in the year to come.

Susan

Susan C. Rink is principal of Rink Strategic Communications, which helps clients take their employee communications to the next level.  Email her at rinkcomms@verizon.net.

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About Susan Rink

Susan C. Rink is principal of Rink Strategic Communications (www.rinkcomms.com), author of the "Take Note" blog and presenter of the "Take Note" podcast series (http://www.youtube.com/user/RinkComms).

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