Hello. Today, in light of the recent firing of 900 employees during a Zoom webinar, I’m thinking about their well-being. My sympathy to those employees—what an awful experience—and may all of them find much better jobs.
So, how do we, as #internalcommunications professionals, contribute to employees’ overall job satisfaction? First, measure it. Second, take action. In this post, I’d like to talk about employee communications audits; next week, ways we can turn what we learn into action.
Start where you are: Measure employee satisfaction, and go beyond the online survey if possible.
The best-run companies I’ve worked for had multiple systems for employee satisfaction measurement, as well as processes in place to act on the feedback.
Employee communication audits are conducted through confidential, one-on-one interviews. A human resources specialist could be dedicated to the job, or it could be conducted by an outside firm. Usually, the interviewer would visit one site or department at a time, cycling through all of them so that each would be offered interviews at least every three years.
Employees are asked open-ended questions like “Where do you get your information?” “How much do you trust the source?” “Is it timely? (Do you learn company news from the media before you hear it from your manager?)” “Is it what you need to know?” “How do you communicate with coworkers and managers?” “Do you feel that management listens, understands and responds to your concerns?” and “How can we improve?”
The information gathered is anonymous and, yes, anecdotal. It’s useful, though: communications audits offer actionable understanding about what’s working, the company’s culture, and employees’ trust levels. Audits can pinpoint roadblocks: maybe a location or group doesn’t receive corporate messaging or doesn’t trust it, signaling that a manager might need coaching, or the CEO should perhaps spend some time with the group, in person.
Maybe we need to look at ourselves: our corporate communications vehicles and tools, or our tone. (Are we a little condescending? Are we focusing on employees rather than product? Showing exactly how fellow employees are excelling, rather than dictating goals?)
Follow-up and confidentiality are crucial.
· Keep the audit scrupulously confidential (I can't emphasize this enough!)
· Act on the areas for improvement
· Communicate about the actions taken.
Thank you for your time today, and have a great weekend.
Past travels with a trusty camera; current work on James E. Brewton Foundation research and memoir
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