Be it an internal or external organizational communication channel that you manage, running an audit periodically can help uncover gaps, improve value and enhance effectiveness.
Why do you need an audit in the first place?
The reasons are many. Your business may have changed and the market landscape expects the firm to adopt a different approach. Or, the channel has changed ownership and the current method of engagement needs a revisit. It can also be that your channel’s users have matured and now demand more attention. Likewise, it is possible that the channel’s technology has evolved and you need to stay more close to how audiences interact with the vehicle. It can be that there is limited participation on the channel – a cause for concern. Lastly, analytics may indicate that your channel needs an overhaul or the communication on the channel isn’t effective enough. Overall, it is good practice to take stock of how your channels fare and continually improve their impact.
So, how do you go about it? You can approach the audit in multiple ways.
- Review the current ‘as-is’ state:Get a sense of what works and what needs addressing. Conduct studies to gauge the current perceptions and what can be better.
Think about –
- what is the channel meant to do and how is it currently used?
- is it consistent, timely and updated regularly?
- do users have any views about the channel?
- does it need improvement?
- what measures are adopted to gauge impact and value?
- are there opportunities to cross-link/promote with other channel
- Analyze the issues:Through a review of the process or format, a content analysis or a benchmarking exercise you can discover gaps that need addressing.
Think about –
- how is a similar channel used in other organizations?
- what best practices exist?
- what does research tell you about such channels and effectiveness?
- what can you consider at the workplace?
- Act to improve:Take insights and recommendations to stakeholders, pilot interventions and tweak your model
Think about –
- what do you propose to change about experience with the channel?
- what can you do to involve employees or other audiences?
- over the next 6 months what are the possible actions/milestones you can aim to achieve?
- how will it improve the user experience or brand recall?
Is that enough?
Report what you find, share progress and communicate your actions to help stakeholders appreciate and for users to acknowledge your commitment to change. No audit is good enough unless you can do something meaningful with it.
Go ahead and try these approaches. Keen to know what you discover.
If you follow sport and watched your favourite cricketer in action – have you noticed how the bat follows through when the ball is hit to the boundary? Observed how the eyes trace the ball’s trajectory and that the head stays still? Likewise when a soccer player takes a free kick notice how the player follows the ball dipping past the keeper’s outstretched arms? Do you notice changes in the performance of sports persons and wonder how they managed to raise their game?
Irrespective of whether you run your own enterprise or work for an organization these analogies apply to follow-ups and follow-throughs you do as a ‘player’ while you strive to achieve your goals every day.
Anyone managing a project that engages multiple stakeholders and which runs over a period of time will be familiar with the pain of chasing people even when it is their ‘job’ to get things done! Or knowing that your credibility as a professional depends on what you do with the feedback you receive or the insights you gather along the way.
Even with the most sophisticated software that streamlines processes or initiatives you may still end up getting frustrated when ‘stuff’ doesn’t happen when you want it or the way they were supposed to be. Although seemingly inefficient, unless you follow-upwith stakeholders there is little chance that your plans get the attention they deserve. From next steps picked up at a regular team meeting to the larger and complex campaigns that span months having a follow-up plan can make life simpler for you.
However, if you spin it around and view follow-ups as a way to connect, steer and challenge the status quo then you probably are in a better place of not undoing a whole lot that has gone wrong too late in the day. In that sense, follow-ups relates to the steady pace and actions that moves the needle on your initiative. It is about your commitment to see work get over the line.
Follow-throughs on the other hand are about keeping your commitment and ensuring stakeholders see you as reliable and consistent. By matching your actions with your words you give others around you the confidence that you are a partner in a shared journey. Just like how a change to the racquet grip by a tennis player or a bowling action tweak improves a player’s efficiency each of us can evaluate and make improvements to our working styles and actions.
Without being overbearing follow-ups indicate the individual’s interest to get things done right. Follow-throughs indicate the individual’s maturity to grow personally and professionally.
Both follow-ups and follow-throughs need us to be aware and grounded. Aware of what impressions and perceptions our actions or inactions create. Grounded – is about realizing we are human and there are always opportunities to get better; just that we need to welcome feedback and demonstrate our responsibility to change.
What are your thoughts?
In a recent post – Shall We Give Freebies to Improve Our Sign-up Rates? I invited readers to help Dinesh think about his approach while encouraging participation on a learning platform.
Ever looked closely at a product that offers a ‘freebie’? What did you perceive about its quality? Did you think there was something amiss?
Check a product offering a ‘freebie’ or is now selling at a discounted rate. Look up the ‘use by date’ and there is a fair chance that the company or the shop wants to get rid of it sooner than later for many reasons. The product is probably expiring shortly, has lost its novelty, the company wants to kill the product to launch an extension, competitors have eaten up market share, or it isn’t appealing to its customers anymore.
In Dinesh’s case it does seem like he has a relevant product (a learning platform) which employees need. But enticing employees to sign-up is akin to taking the horse to the water. Making it drink the water is what matters and you can’t do that by offering carrots. You do that by selling the drink as a refreshing experience!
With the platform or for that matter any offering, the goal is to make a compelling promise that makes audiences want to engage. Is this platform better than the ones that are freely accessible elsewhere? Why do employees need to bother about this platform?
To identify this promise one needs to understand the need or the gap which exists. That means, spending time to understand the pain points and what really matters for your audiences.
Consider what motivates employees – do they want to grow at work? Are they keen to improve their credibility as a professional? Do they seek recognition through their work?
Build your offer on these aspects to gain commitment.
Sign-up is just an activity. It doesn’t guarantee usage or perceived usefulness. Engaging employees on the tool is the true measure. The questions to consider are:
- Do employees now feel like they are getting better at work and in life?
- Does it improve their experience with learning?
Incentives are short lived and soon your audiences will discount the value of what you offer.
It isn’t enough to have a great offering for your employees – connect the dots to make it all come together.