This paper is based on a review of twelve leading academic and consultancy studies representing 10,928 respondents. It argues that approaches to assessment are too narrowly focused on process, rather than content. Assessment tools are outdated, rooted in a positivist research philosophy, and take little account of employee communication needs and the rise of internal social media.
The paper explored approaches to assessing internal communication and the associated links to internal communication theory. As theory is incomplete, it is not possible to establish a definitive conceptual model of internal communication that can be used to guide assessment. However, it is possible to outline a new conceptual model of internal communication (figure 2) that takes more account of the individual and the social communication needs of employees, the cognitive and social psychological aspects of communication and identification, bridging and buffering, and the drivers for employee engagement that are missing or marginalised in many of the assessment instruments.
Measuring internal communication
Valuing internal communication; management and employee perspectives Kevin Ruck and Mary Welch University of Central Lancashire, UK
<ul><li>The research </li></ul><ul><li>A review of twelve leading academic and consultancy studies representing 10,928 respondents. </li></ul><ul><li>No journal articles were found that specifically tackled what employees would like their organisation to communicate. </li></ul><ul><li>As Chen et al., (2006 p. 242) argue, “A review of the research on organizational processes concluded that member satisfaction with organizational communication practices has been ignored”. </li></ul>
<ul><li>State of play Satisfaction with organisational information ranges from 53% to 64%. </li></ul><ul><li>However, questions about satisfaction with content are rarely asked and it is worth noting that employees do, naturally, expect channels to be used appropriately for the information provided. </li></ul><ul><li>60% of employees understand where the organisation is headed, though this is undermined by senior manager clarity (48%) and minimal senior management involvement in telling the story (54%). </li></ul>
<ul><li>Emphasis on process and volume rather than understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Shortcomings in establishing theory in internal communication have often led to a predominance of the assessment of channels used, or volume of information generated (the what); essentially process explanations rather than the content of the communication itself, how well it is provided, or understanding . </li></ul>
<ul><li>Theoretical weaknesses inherent within standard assessment tools </li></ul>
My organisation provides plenty of support for people. I identify with the organisation’s values and am an advocate of what it does. I know what my job responsibilities are and how they contribute to the team and organisation. I know how I am doing and have good development opportunities. I have regular opportunities to have a say and what I say is taken seriously. I am well informed about what is going on and what is planned and my line manager is committed to the organisation.
<ul><li>Assessing internal social media </li></ul><ul><li>Social media represents a shift in culture from “information gathering” to “information participation”. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment is falling into same trap as for traditional media... </li></ul><ul><li>internal communication teams enjoy sticking to the basics with 61.6 per cent suggesting they measure the success of social media initiatives by using website data and analysis or intranet traffic figures. </li></ul>