Conduct a Communications Audit
Often, companies conduct a communications audit. The audit reveals how information is currently shared, what types of information are shared, who delivers the information, who receives the information, and the frequency. By understanding the current state of information flow, you can ask employees what works and get their suggestions on what can be done to improve it. Be sure to evaluate information flow not only top down but also bottom up and laterally.
Improve Meetings and Cascade Information
Typically, after conducting a communications audit, one of the action items is to improve the flow of information from meetings. This entails improving the management of the meeting and the cascading of information from the meeting. These improvements can be applied to information flow both top/down and bottom/up.
Take a few moments to evaluate your meetings.
- Is there an agenda for each meeting?
- Are objectives for each element of the meeting listed?
- Are meeting minutes posted on flip charts–in real time–documenting all decisions made and action items?
- Is a document developed at the conclusion of the meeting that lists the decisions and action items in a way that everyone who reads it can understand it?
- Is there an expectation that the cascade document is distributed to the next level–either up or down–within a set period of time?
- Does someone who had attended the meeting have the responsibility to discuss the cascaded information and answer questions?
Improve how you structure your meetings and your processes for sharing information after meetings. Don’t leave communication up to chance. Communication is often a key driver of employee engagement. And when information gets bottled up, the organization suffers. Employees expect companies to share information with its employees. Keep employees informed, so they feel like owners and are an integral part of the organization.