5 Reasons poor workforce readiness will cost your product launch

5 Reasons poor workforce readiness will cost your product launch

The days before a big launch, event, or holiday sale can be fraught with nerves and a flurry of urgent activity. Head office, store management, and frontline staff all want the launch to go well:

  • Head office wants the revenue boost and branding lift from a successful launch or promo
  • Store management wants a memorable customer experience and potential for return customers
  • Retail staff wants the information and tools to execute the event without a hitch – and take ownership over the organization’s success

All want the event to succeed…and yet many retail launches fall flat on their face. This happens for a multitude of reasons, but the most important – and the most impactful – reason is the simple fact that retail workers were left unprepared. 

As organizations continue to navigate the new normal, workforce readiness is playing a make-or-break role. This isn’t the sole responsibility of the store manager, or the retail staff. Head office and leadership have a major role to play in making sure each and every worker has access to the training, information, and tools they need to successfully execute on a key event with consistency. And in this, the industry is unfortunately lacking. 

This training gap affects day-to-day performance, of course. But it also greatly impacts launches and events–times when a sales associate is going to promote a new, little-known product. 

When people at the front line are unprepared, things can go wrong in a multitude of ways. Here are 5 reasons poor workforce readiness will cost you – big time: 

1. An inconsistent customer experience

Whereas online shopping experiences are more consistent, in-store shopping experiences can be hard to standardize. Two customers walking into the same store at the same time may have wildly different experiences depending on the product they’re looking for and the associate that they talk to. Things like signage, shelf stock, and POP marketing materials affect their experience, too. 

Another impact of online shopping is now much information customers are armed with when they want into a brick-and-mortar store. It’s gotten to the point where customers might even know more about the product than your own retail staff. 81% of retail shoppers do their research online before even stepping into the store. Unless you’re investing in workplace readiness, your customers might come into the store with more training than your associates! 

If your frontline staff is going to keep up, you need to help them prepare. They need in-depth information – not just the “what,” but the “why,” and “how.” They need knowledge testing, pulse surveys…they need the resources to showcase your product effectively and deliver a consistent (and memorable!) customer experience. 

2. Poor launch performance

You could liken a retail launch or promo event to a sports game. Everyone needs to pull together in both scenarios. Without all staff mobilized around a single goal, the odds of having a successful outcome are stacked against you. 

Sure, some retail locations might be star performers, or a single location might have a superstar retail worker, but that’s not going to carry your brand through a poorly-executed launch. It’s like when Lebron James scored 50 points in an NBA finals game but still lost because the rest of his team couldn’t deliver: it’s a bright spot, but it doesn’t scale widely enough. 

What will scale is adequate workforce readiness and training. By spreading the training resources across your retail workforce, and taking steps to improve knowledge retention and address gaps, your launch has a greater chance of enjoying operational consistency and widespread success. 

3. Inefficient use of labor

Think back to the last time you threw a birthday party or took a road trip. How prepared were you? How hectic were things a few hours before show time? We’re willing to bet you were running around doing things at the last second, and that those things could have been done much earlier. 

Take that stress and multiply it a hundred – or even a thousand! – and that’s what it’s like for your frontline staff. Without steps in place to ensure workforce readiness, the days and hours prior to a launch will be filled with floor managers fielding question after question; leadership making extra visits to various locations; countless phone calls to answer (and ask!) questions. In short, your staff will be pushed to their limit, before the launch has even started. That’s an inefficient use of labor. 

Retail workers are already in a very difficult position, with the COVID-19 pandemic and all the other work-related stresses involved. A recent study by The Retail Trust found that 84% of retail workers admitted to their mental health deteriorating during the pandemic. This resulted in symptoms such as increased anxiety, changes in eating and sleep habits, and prolonged sadness for more than a third of the staff. The report went on to say that younger retail workers in their 20s are among those workers with the lowest levels of wellbeing. 

Preparing your workforce well in advance of your event will help alleviate this stress, and boost their performance, morale, and ability to provide excellent service. 

4. Lost revenue

Making money is one of the primary goals of any product launch. And yet, by leaving staff untrained and unprepared, retail companies are unnecessarily reducing the revenue they could pull in. 

42% of Americans will stop shopping with a brand after only two bad brand experiences. So if your staff winds up disappointing a customer due to lack of preparation, then you’re halfway to losing a customer for good. And if you’ve disappointed that customer before, then you’ve just pushed them over the edge. 

Additionally, another study on consumer behavior found that 93% of customers are likely to make a purchase and (85% buy more!) when helped by a knowledgeable associate. The same report found that 80% of retailers saw sales increase by 25 to 50% when their customers were assisted by knowledgeable associates. 

So what makes an associate knowledgeable? The study found that associates who took at least one training module made an average of 46% more sales per hour compared to those who did not. At the simplest level, the data shows that the associates who are well-trained and armed with information are making your organization more money. You’re essentially leaving money on the table every time you run an event without looking at workforce readiness.  

Can you really afford that?

5. Chronic preparedness problems intensifying the above issues

The only thing worse than failing a launch is not knowing why it failed in the first place. It’s easy to put the blame on the most convenient or safest excuse, like “oh, people weren’t ready for the product,” or “Amazon ruins everything,” and ignore the real root cause – your lack of workforce preparedness. 

According to Salesforce, 53% of millennials don’t think store associates have the tools they need to provide great customer service. This includes mobile devices for looking up customer profiles and recommending products, access to online channels for tracking down the product in-store, and general knowledge of what products are on sale. 

Beyond technical needs, poorly timed launches also mean there’s not enough preparation time. This preparation could impact anything from shift schedules to store displays to product familiarization…if you give it the time it deserves. 

So, what should you do? The path forward is pretty clear. 

Your retail workers need all the help you can reasonably provide in order to make your launch or event a success. This includes effective training, sufficient preparation time, and administrative support. And while it definitely will require additional investment, the actual cost might not be that big of a burden as you might think – especially given the potential benefits.

Wondering where to start? Here are 5 questions to ask to to know if your staff is prepared for your next product launch. These questions will give you a sense of where you’re at in terms of workforce preparedness – and what you need to do, before you launch. 

Measuring communication effectiveness: 4 ways to know you’re nailing it

Measuring communication effectiveness: 4 ways to know you’re nailing it

People analytics can often be a quagmire of numbers. 

There are so many things you could potentially measure that it can be frustrating. Especially if the only thing you want to know is, “are we doing well, or not?”

We hear you. 

In an effort to keep things simple, we have identified the four most crucial metrics that speak specifically to measuring communication effectiveness.

Like with many employee metrics, some of these numbers are easy to capture and some are not. Having a digital communication platform in place will make it much easier to track the four metrics we’ve listed below, but there are other ways to collect some of these numbers – more on that below. 

Also, one caveat: numbers are tricky. No metric will tell the whole story. Part of the magic of workforce analytics is finding the full story behind the numbers, and reacting to that. Again, if you’ve got a communication platform in place, finding the stories that will measure communication effectiveness are exponentially easier when you have robust analytics and an incredible CS team to guide you. 

1. Reachable rate

A “reachable rate” basically tells you what percentage of employees that will receive your communications. In other words, it’s the percentage of your workforce that have access to (and are active on) your communications tool. 

It’s not just the employees that have your tool – that’s your adoption rate. Reachability is more about who’s actually using it. For example, if you have a digital communication platform like Nudge, your reachable rate would be what percentage of your workforce has downloaded the app and set up an account, and then used the app within the past 90 days. 

Email is trickier. If all of your employees had an active company email address, your reachable rate for that tool would technically be 100% – however, a big part of reachability is whether your workforce is actually active on the platform, so email is harder to measure unless you, for example, took into account how many employees have opened an email in the past three months. 

Reachability is crucial to measuring communication effectiveness because it tells you what percentage of your workforce you actually have access to. You could be sending the most engaging employee communications in the world, but if your reachability rate is 20%, you’re not connecting with much of your workforce.

Reachability is especially important in an emergency, like the pandemic, where you need to get in touch with your entire workforce as quickly as possible. 

2. Reachability vs. open rate

Those of you who’ve ever measured email metrics before will find this very familiar. Of all the people who could see your communication, this is how many people actually opened it. 

Comparing your reachable rate against your open rate tells a few stories that can help measure communication effectiveness: 

How enticing your introduction or subject line is. This depends a lot on the message format of your communications tool, since not all tools allow for subject lines or any kind of snippet. But when possible, this metric will tell you how effectively you’re enticing your workforce to actually open your communication. 

What your user experience is like. Your open rate is going to be pretty low if your communications tool is hard to navigate, or people rarely get (or see) new message notifications. If you’re seeing a low open rate compared to your reachable rate, that might be a sign you need to make some usability changes. Consider running an internal survey or focus group to evaluate your tool’s user-friendliness. 

How relevant your communications are. Employees will ignore messages that aren’t relevant to them. This is a problem, because if employees start ignoring irrelevant messages, they might start ignoring the relevant ones, too. A low open rate may be a sign that you should audit your communications strategy or consider segmenting messaging to different regions or groups. 

3. Read rate

Next, a “read rate” will tell you how many employees actually read the content you shared. Again, the metrics that you’ll have access to will depend on your communication channels and tools. Sometimes, a tool can even tell you how much of the content they were able to finish. 

This is a great metric for measuring communication effective. If you get a consistently high read rate, then you know that your communications are hitting it out of the park. But watch for any variations. If any of your messages receive a surprisingly low or high number, investigate why. Compare it to previous communications and scan for differences. You may learn something valuable. 

Note that you won’t always be able to reliably track this metric, as it depends heavily on the comms tool in which you’ve invested. Nudge Analytics, tracks read rate through “response rate,” which would tell you if a user has read an in-app message and clicked the button at the end of it. 

4. Knowledge rate

“Knowledge rate” is basically a fancy term for skill testing. 

This is where your employees (whether all of them or a specific segment) are given quizzes or spot-tests to evaluate their knowledge on important work-related subjects. It tells you how well information has been consumed and retained. Depending on the nature of your communications, this might be one-off knowledge testing (like for a specific retail campaign) or ongoing (like for safety regulations). 

Any survey or testing app can put together a quick learning test, of course. But not all platforms are created equal. Some might be intended for desktop workstations, which means that frontline employees would have a hard time completing the tests. Other platforms might not be able to aggregate the data across the entire company, or might not go deep enough when it comes to calculating scores. 

Using a communication tool with robust knowledge analytics is a valuable asset for deskless and frontline organizations, because it allows you to zero in on red flags at scale. Even if your organization employs hundreds of thousands of workers, knowledge rates can tell you quickly if there is a region, location, or even individual workers that need extra training.

To get the most visibility – and the most useful insights – into your communication effectiveness, having access to all of the above metrics will give you a more complete picture and allow you to take appropriate action. 

Remember; those are not arbitrary or abstract numbers you’re tracking. Every metric represents an employee who relies on internal communications to do their job. The longer you take to put those metrics together, or the fewer metrics you take advantage of, the more risk there is of the employee making a crucial error or becoming disengaged from the organization. 

In contrast, if you’re tracking all those metrics and doing consistently well across the board, then you can rest assured you’re on your way to building an engaged, agile team ready for anything.

4 ways people analytics drives business-wide ROI

4 ways people analytics drives business-wide ROI

People analytics is one of those things that has been around for a long time, and is crucial for business growth and longevity – yet isn’t used as much as it should. 

A Deloitte survey found that 71% of companies consider people analytics to be a high organizational priority, and 31% even rate it as “highly important.” But actually executing on these people analytics programs involves collecting, analyzing, and interpreting employee data, which can be intimidating for organizations – particularly deskless ones, where they’re looking to collect data from thousands of workers. There’s a lot involved, which admittedly makes it difficult to see the tangible benefits from such an endeavor. 

Part of the issue is that organizations often pigeonhole people analytics as a purely HR tool, used to inform recruitment and retention tactics. That’s just one component of a much wider spectrum of benefits that people analytics can provide to deskless organizations, particularly in the operations realm and other related areas of the business. In fact, this valuable data provides business-wide ROI that can’t be overlooked. 

In other words: it’s not just an HR play anymore. Here are 4 ways people analytics can drive better business outcomes across your entire organization. 

1. Make informed decisions to drive performance and productivity

Executives need information in order to make effective decisions. And when they don’t have that information, it can lead to worries and insecurity. That’s what The Predictive Index found in their recent report, where employee performance and productivity topped a poll of issues that kept executives up at night

This same report showed that only 55% of companies regularly diagnose their employee engagement data. Which means they just don’t have the data to drive performance at scale – and that creates uncertainty and stunts growth. 

Using people analytics allows you to answer the questions that can inform these crucial decisions around performance:

  • How confident are my teams in executing a program or promotion?
  • How consistent are locations in implementing SOPs and protocols? 
  • How reachable is my team in uncertain times?
  • How at-risk is my workforce for mass turnover?

These employee metrics give leaders the insights they need to take action more confidently and with greater effectiveness. From there, organizations can tweak policies, implement new processes, and identify worrisome locations or regions quickly and easily – in short, you can support your frontline at scale. 

2. Identify key knowledge gaps

Knowledge gaps that cause money loss and safety issues, particularly among frontline and deskless employees that are at greater risk due to less robust training, poor employee communication, and inconsistent processes (fun fact: ineffective on-the-job training can cost businesses up to $13.5 million per 1000 employees per year). 

Employees are starting from a more difficult position as well, with less than 40% of millennials and 30% of Gen Z workers feeling like they have the skills necessary to succeed. This makes effective training programs an even more crucial, albeit costly, investment. 

But with proper people analytics, companies can get far more strategic with their training. Through execution metrics, surveys, knowledge quizzes and other data, analytics can identify knowledge gaps, protocol confusion, and other red flags. From there, organizations can triage their training to address the most urgent needs, then fill out the rest of the program as resources become available. 

3. Mitigate disengagement to avoid turnover and productivity loss

Pop quiz: Do you know whether or not your employees are engaged?

If you answered “yes,” then the follow up question to that is: “how can you be sure?”

Fact of the matter is, only 16% of companies use technology to measure and track employee progress and engagement. Those who don’t rely on a combination of observation, anecdotal evidence, gut feel, and wishful thinking. 

This means that you don’t know for sure whether or not your frontline and deskless employees – the ones who are in the most stressful positions – are burnt out or not. And seeing as burnout is responsible for up to half of workforce turnover, this is definitely an area that organizations can’t ignore. 

Data from mental health surveys, feedback forums, and other communication channels can help you establish your workforce’s level of burnout and disengagement. Performance and engagement analytics can further inform the potential business impact of your situation. 

With these tools in place, you’ll have an early-warning system and be able to act accordingly with disengagement strikes. You’ll be able to take measures to address employee burnout and other critical turnover risks – before they turn into costly employee turnover. 

4. Identify the trends that lead to better business outcomes

People analytics data goes far beyond the basic employee metrics – it has the potential to transform your organization. 

Here’s an example: data analysis might discover that one branch of a retail franchise has consistently better sales, higher employee engagement scores, and lower turnover. You might then discover that this branch’s manager has initiated a few new policies that have completely transformed the location. The organization scales these policies company-wide, and numbers across all branches show significant improvement. You would never have detected that outlier branch without looking at the data. 

This may seem like a somewhat extreme example, but it’s not that far-fetched. That’s the power of best practice-sharing, and people analytics is the channel to capture these valuable ideas at scale. 

The key to all of this, though, is capitalizing on it. 

According to LinkedIn, only 29% of companies consider themselves good at capitalizing on people analytics insights, while 37% admit they do a poor job. 

Granted, people analytics isn’t always easy. It is not a plug-and-play program. It requires time, effort, and forethought in order to set up and execute. But depending on the communication channels you have in place, it can be as simple as clicking on a dashboard to learn all sorts of valuable insights about your workforce – and your organization as a whole.

7 mistakes organizations make when collecting deskless employee feedback

7 mistakes organizations make when collecting deskless employee feedback

There’s a right way to collect employee feedback, and there’s a wrong way. We’ve all been on the wrong end of that exchange at least once (30-minute employee surveys, anyone?).

And that’s when we’re already deskbound – supposedly an ideal arrangement for surveys. How much more difficult will this task be for frontline and deskless workforces that don’t sit in front of a computer all day?

The deskless/frontline workforce presents a unique set of challenges to any managers or organizations when collecting feedback, which makes it even easier to make mistakes. And mistakes result in the opposite of what you’re trying to do. Instead of boosting engagement and positivity, you foster disengagement and negativity. 

Here are seven mistakes organizations make when trying to collect information from their deskless workforce. How many of these are you guilty of? 🙄

1. Only asking for employee feedback once a year

12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days.

There’s a lot that can happen in that amount of time. An employee can have a brilliant idea, or they can have a personal crisis. There could be a serious team challenge, or a big company opportunity. 

All of them can pass you by if you only ask for feedback once a year. 

And it’s not like employees are avoiding you; they want to talk. 58% of employees wish their company conducted employee engagement surveys more frequently. But only 20% of U.S. employees say that they’ve had conversations with their manager in the last 6 months. 

Deskless and frontline employees especially need this attention due to the nature of their work arrangement. It’s generally faster-paced and more eventful than in other areas of the company, which leads to less time for administrative concerns, and so management needs to make more of an effort to engage them instead of waiting for the employee to raise their hand. 

You’re not going to be agile enough to react to timely ideas or mission-critical problems if you hear about them a year after the fact. 

2. Being unclear on what employee feedback you want

Frontline employees have lots of ideas. They’re in the thick of things, seeing customers at their best and worst, or they’re toiling at the core of your production and distribution. They see things that you can’t. They have a great sense of what will work and what won’t.  

But you have to ask the right questions in order to draw that information out. 

More often than not, managers or surveys ask extremely vague and broad questions that just confuse employees. What exactly are they asking for? When’s the right time to share my ideas? Will I get in trouble for volunteering this information?

Wondering if you’re being unclear on feedback? Well, have you sent any of these vague questions to your workforce? 👇 

  • How can the company improve?
  • Do you have anything you want to say?
  • I’m looking for ideas… (and end there)

These aren’t going to get you valuable feedback. Instead, be very specific. Are you asking for employee feedback about the hiring process? Thoughts on shift schedules? Do you need ideas on how to boost summer sales? Or how to address employee burnout? These are the questions that are going to tap into your employees’ experience and expertise. 

3. Not having the right employee feedback channels in place

There’s a time and a place for everything – including employee feedback. 

Sometimes employee feedback is sensitive or private, like if it involves a manager or another employee. These cases are best handled in anonymous or private channels. Other times, an employee’s idea is too good to keep private, and would be better off on an online forum where the rest of the organization can brainstorm and contribute.

If you don’t have either of these options, you’re limiting the avenues through which employees can communicate with you. Employees would normally not air private griefs in a public company forum. (Or, if they do, then that means your workforce is seriously past the breaking point, and you need to take action now.)

Feedback can also get stifled by access to proper feedback channels. Depending on the communication tools you use with your deskless employees, there’s a chance they don’t have regular access to the channels to share real-time feedback. And what good is valuable consumer insight if you can’t get it right away? Plus, it’s unlikely an employee will even remember to share the information if they have to wait until they’re home post-shift. 

A digital platform is a great way to provide always-on feedback channels to deskless workers – that way, they can log insights and ideas as soon as they come up, right from their phone. 

4. Making your employee feedback channels time-consuming to use…

Some companies love to make extensive employee survey forms in the hopes of “being thorough.” And while your intent is good, the actual effect is not. According to SurveyMonkey, survey abandonment rates increase for any survey longer than 7-8 minutes. Completion rates can drop anywhere from 5% to 20%. 

And while the study notes that employers may “push” respondents to complete the survey (and thus increase completion rates), people tend to rush through long surveys and are less likely to give genuine or thoughtful responses. 

In fact, the study found that employees give higher-quality responses when taking a shorter survey, because they take more time on each question.

5. …or impossible to find

Employees can’t provide feedback if they don’t know where to go. If your employee feedback channels are difficult to find or access, then your employees might assume that you don’t actually want feedback at all. 

Don’t just assume that your employees know how, or where, to give feedback. Find ways to share your channels often and consistently. If you use a digital communication platform (we know a great one! 😏), it will be easier to keep feedback top-of-mind for your staff. And remember: being clear and direct about the types of feedback you want will also help to keep your channels front-and-centre for your workforce. 

6. Not building up psychological safety with your staff

If you worked in an environment where management ruled with an iron fist, had a closed perspective, and belittled their staff, would you feel safe volunteering an opinion?

Of course not!

And yet managers complain that nobody responds when they solicit feedback. 

Why would they? You’ve made it clear that speaking up is not a wise career move. You haven’t built in any psychological safety

A study by Gallup found that managers are responsible for 70% of the variance in employee engagement. Meaning that if your employees don’t feel they can communicate safely, then it’s likely management who is to blame. Of course, you might not even be actually frightening them. It could be you who’s frightened. 

A survey conducted by Interact found that 69% of managers are often uncomfortable communicating with employees, and 37% said they’re uncomfortable having to give direct feedback about their employees’ performance if they think the employee might respond negatively to the feedback. Employees are like kids and pets – they can sense fear. They know that you don’t want to talk to them, even if they don’t know the reason why. And that kills any motivation they have to talk to you

7. Not following up 

So you’ve gone through the effort of sprucing up your feedback collection channels, communicated it to all your frontline workers, and assured your employees that their opinions are valuable and will be heard. 

Responses flow in and you have a hefty chunk of employee suggestions and feedback to peruse, which you do. 

And then you do… 

… nothing. 

No action. No change. Not even thanking people for their opinions. 

What was it all for, then?

Not only are you tanking morale when you ignore feedback, you’re missing out on an opportunity to boost morale. 

90% of workers said that they’re more likely to stay at a company that takes and acts on feedback. And why wouldn’t they? They’ve found an environment where management cares about their opinion enough to actually make positive changes. That’s a real rarity!

No company is perfect. Even the best companies in the world commit some of these employee feedback blunders. But the more aware you are of the potential pitfalls, the better chance you have at getting it right. After all, the goal isn’t just a smooth collection of data. It’s about ensuring that every single employee in your organization has a voice – and a role in helping your company to thrive. 

How to run an internal communications audit

How to run an internal communications audit

This is an excerpt from our Ultimate Guide to Deskless Employee Communication. Download the free 40+ page guide for more information on internal communications audits – plus a printable worksheet to help you track your audit from start to finish! 

An internal communications audit is a review of how well your organization and its leaders distribute and collect information to and from your workforce and how well the current setup aligns with your overall strategy. 

This audit is especially crucial for organizations with deskless and frontline employees, who spend very little face-to-face time with management and don’t have regular access to computers, so a specialized strategy is crucial. A communications audit will ensure you identify the right way to share information. 

Why is an internal communication audit beneficial to organizations?

It may sound unnecessarily bureaucratic at first, but an audit is actually one of the best things you can do for your organization. Even organizations without a formal strategy can benefit from an audit. In fact, we would argue that they need it even more

Well-executed internal communications can engage and motivate your frontline staff. Just ask Clear Company, who found that businesses with effective communication are 50% more likely to have lower employee turnover. And ThinkTalent, who discovered that organizations with effective communication programs are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers. 

The reverse is also true. Poorly-run communications can lead to disengagement, and disengaged employees are a flight risk. According to Gallup, 56% of not engaged and 73% of actively disengaged employees are either looking for jobs or watching for other opportunities. 

Auditing can uncover serious issues with your internal communications strategy and reduce the risk of disengagement. It can also provide easy wins that open lines of communication and get employees back on board. 

So let’s get started. Here are the first steps to take when starting a communication audit: 

1. Create an audit team

Conducting a proper audit will involve time, effort, and dedicated manpower. While it’s tempting to hire an external company to conduct the audit, an internal team can be just as effective, provided they approach it in an organized fashion, and they have the independence and authority necessary to gather data and act on their findings.

If you don’t have a dedicated internal communications team to run the audit, put together an ad-hoc team composed of delegates from operations, HR, and marketing. You may also want to include someone to represent the frontline employees to provide additional perspective. 

2. Set goals

Question: what part of your internal communications do you want the audit to improve? You may be tempted to conduct an audit with a broad scope (“are my communications working?”), but you might see better results if you fine-tune your audit.

Audits work best when they focus on improving specific aspects of your internal communications. The narrower and more measurable the goals are, the greater the chance your audit will succeed.

3. Collect info and insights

Collecting the intel for your communication audit is a multi-stage process. If you have a digital communications platform in place, collecting these insights will be much easier – but taking a more analog approach is definitely possible as well. Let’s take each stage one at a time. 

Metrics review

We’ll talk about numbers more later, but workforce insights are a critical step in any communication strategy – and are extremely informative in your internal communication audit. Raw numbers can be used to either support or challenge the anecdotal feedback you’ll be collecting later. They may also signal warning signs for internal communication problems. 

Look for the metrics that relate closely to the goals you set, but make sure to consider multiple data points to get as wide a picture as possible. Again, a digital communication platform will make collecting these metrics easier, but there are still workforce insights you can tap into and learn from, even if you’re not using communication technology. 

Communication tools review

An internal communications tool is a method, product, or software that you use to send and receive messages to and from your team. Many companies use email, but we’ve seen everything from low-tech solutions like bulletin boards and posters to high-end digital communications platforms. The tools you use should make your communication strategy more effective and streamlined. And the only way to truly gauge its effectiveness is by questioning your assumptions. 

For a worksheet to help you assess your communication tools (and track your full audit start to finish!) download our Ultimate Guide to Deskless Employee Communication.  

Anecdotal information

Numbers can tell you a lot, but the human side can tell you just as much, if not more. It’s important to interview both sides of the conversation: executive management and the workers. When talking to management, get their perspective on what they prioritize, how they think the company should be communicating, and what they think the gaps are. When you do get to talk with frontline workers, don’t ask leading questions. Balance quantitative and qualitative responses  and give respondents an opportunity to free-write their answers.

4. Analyze the intel

Once you’ve harvested your information, you can analyze the data to uncover weaknesses in your internal communications strategy and look for signs your communication is broken (check out our sidebar for warning signs). Compile your findings into key insights, then go back to your audit goals to see what conclusions you can derive. From there, you’ll develop a list of recommendations to share with stakeholders and start to prepare a plan of action. Here are a few examples of recommendations you might bring back to the organization based on your audit findings: 

  • Choose a new communication tool or platform to make communication simple and easy.
  • Create a monthly or quarterly communication calendar to ensure your communications are targeted around a core goal or objective. 
  • Identify the metrics you want to track and how you’ll track them. 
  • If you don’t have one, create a dedicated communications lead who will work with various stakeholders to create and share information. 

Remember, you don’t have to overhaul your entire internal communications system all at once. You can improve one component at a time, focusing on the area that will deliver the most value to the organization and its employees. 

Ready to try your first audit? Get additional tips and an internal communication audit worksheet in our Ultimate Guide to Deskless Employee Communication. (It’s free! And it’s awesome!)

Proven ROI of 484%

Forrester Consulting's Total Economic Impact™ study found a 484% ROI with Nudge!*

*over three years.