Deborah Mackin

Article Summary:

How to identify missing links in your internal communications systems.

Internal Communications: Identifying Missing Links In Your Systems

Organizations eager to improve their communication systems may wish to begin with a "feedback audit." The most honest responses occur when people are allowed to respond anonymously. Once you have identified the missing links, conduct brainstorming sessions to identify ways to close the communication loop. In the "feedback audit," ask your senior managers, middle managers, supervisors, and workers the following questions:

Senior Managers

  • How many different techniques do you use to communicate regularly with your staff?
  • How often do you meet with managers and supervisors to determine priorities and discuss performance expectations?
  • How often do you wander around and informally chat with your employees?
  • When did you last assess the value of your staff meetings?
  • How have you communicated your organization's mission and goals?

Middle Managers

  • How much effort must you exert to communicate upward?
  • How regularly do you communicate with other middle managers? . . . with your staff?
  • How would subordinates describe the value of your staff meetings?
  • How regularly is your advice as the professional in the field sought by senior management?
  • How much effort must your subordinates exert to communicate with you about problems or concerns?

Supervisors

  • Do workers come to you with problems or concerns?
  • How often do you meet with workers to set goals and discuss performance expectations?
  • How regularly do you communicate with middle management? . . . with senior management?
  • How much effort must you exert to communicate upward?
  • How often is your input solicited? How regularly do you meet with other supervisors?
  • Do you often feel you are the "last to know?"
  • Do you feel comfortable being a spokes-person for management?

Workers

  • How often do you communicate with your supervisor? . . . with middle management? . . . with top management?
  • How often do managers and supervisors wander around and ask for your opinions/ideas?
  • Do you already know company information by the time the formal notice gets to you?
  • If you had an important cost-saving idea, who would you bring it to?
  • Does communication from management respect your intelligence?
  • Do you trust the information you receive from management?

Deborah Mackin is founder and president of New Directions Consulting, Inc. and author of teambuilding books, including the 2nd edition of the Team Building Tool Kit (Fall, 2007). As an international consultant and trainer for 20+ years, Deborah is a widely recognized authority on teams, quality service, productivity, and leadership. For more information, visit New Directions Consulting.

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