How To Do an Internal Comms Audit (+Free Template)

Colum Nugent

Head of Expert Services at Workvivo

9 Feb 2023

Want to be a better internal communicator than Willy Wonka? Use our free internal comms audit template and checklist!

In an ideal world, what would your perfect internal comms strategy look like? And now that you’re picturing it, do you know what steps you need to take to get it there? Carrying out a comprehensive internal comms audit is a super strong start. 

You’ve read the word ‘audit’ and now your head is filled with thoughts of finance, profit and loss statements, ring binders full of receipts, and a broken-hearted intern flopped over their laptop with a wrinkled shirt and their sixth cup of coffee in hand.

Good news! We’re here to show you a whole different side to the workplace audit – one that can be uplifting and, dare we say, fun. An internal communications audit is your golden ticket to greater transparency, connection, and engagement. 

Since we’re starting to sound like the employee experience equivalent of Willy Wonka, let’s take that as a cue to move on… 

What to strive for in your internal communications strategy

If the internal comms strategy you want can’t be articulated on one page, chances are you’ve over-engineered it. It needs to be simple, easy to articulate, and easy to execute. 

People across the organization need to understand their role in it, what’s expected of them, and what the strategy is trying to achieve. It has to span the length and breadth of your company; that’s why it can’t be owned and executed by any one person or team. 

Here at Workvivo, we see the perfect strategy as one that brings people on a journey together (not in an ominous boat ride down a chocolate river). It ties our business ambitions with celebrating our people. It infuses our company culture, celebrates our successes, provides our vision, and fills us with optimism and inspiration. 

Sound good? Then let’s take a look at that all-important first move in transforming your internal comms: opening a mysterious chocolate factory assessing where it’s at right now. 

1. Ask loads of questions

At the outset of any good strategy, the first port of call is identifying the information you’re missing. To do that, you’ll need to ask yourself lots of questions.

Who are you trying to reach, for example? And what are you trying to tell them? Maybe you need to get a specific message out to your teams in a particular department or country. It’s best to keep your communications as relevant to individual audiences as possible so that your employees aren’t bombarded with information they can’t engage with. A case of content overload can be hard to bounce back from.

As for what you’re communicating, it could be anything from updates on the company’s vision, values, and D&I resources to sharing employee shoutouts and news about sustainability. 

Next, what formats should you use? With so many options available, from internal newsletters and livestreams to employee podcasts and online forums, you can (and should!) trial diverse ways of spreading messages and driving conversations. 

You’ll also need to consider how you’ll track success and validate that your approach is working. Examples include content analytics, engagement and pulse surveys, feedback from people managers, live Q&As, post-event feedback forms, and focus groups or listening sessions. 

Sample questions for your internal comms audit:

  • What are the key messages we’re trying to communicate?
  • What are the channels we can leverage to communicate these messages?
  • What are our key strategic company priorities for the year ahead?
  • Who are we trying to reach? 
  • Are we reaching everybody in our organization with our current methods? 
  • What format resonates best with our employees?
  • How do we track success and validate that our approach is working?

2. Pick your players

Here’s another question you’ll need to ask yourself: what key stakeholders from across the business should be involved in the audit process?

As mentioned, this process will be a journey and you’ll want to put together the best team you possibly can. Think Fellowship-of-the-Ring levels of unity (but without the orcs, of course).

Typically, your internal comms audit will need to draw on colleagues across corporate communications, HR, people management, talent acquisition, the executive team, marketing and creative teams, and operations leaders. But every organization is different, so don’t treat this as an exhaustive list! 

And to elevate the process even further, consider setting up champion groups that bring together employees from across the organization – in various roles, tenures, and locations – to gather feedback, act as sounding boards, and help make decisions as inclusive as possible. 

3. Define the data

We’re not through with the questions yet! Next on the list to ask yourself are these:

  1. How do you assess whether a current method of communication is serving you?
  2. How do you know when it’s time to make a change?
  3. What kinds of data should you be gathering to inform your decision?

Any assessment mechanism needs to start with some inputs. Try compiling the data available to you to understand the current situation. Ideally, you are leveraging a platform (like Workvivo) that can facilitate a range of metrics: open rates, reach, impressions, likes, comments, and views. And if these can be broken down by demographic, even better. 

Season this data with some employee anecdotes. Try running focus groups with cross-sections of your workforce, from general employees and frontline managers to program teams and heads of departments. For consistency, make sure to use the same set of questions in every focus group. This will help you build a narrative on whether the intentions and objectives of this strategy are being realized and achieved based on how your employees feel. 

Cross-reference your platform data and qualitative employee feedback with key business metrics, namely your scores across attrition, retention, and customer satisfaction. 

A comprehensive comms plan can engage and motivate employees, foster loyalty, and positively impact the overall customer experience – but only when your people are invested in it instead of simply coming along for (or trailing behind) the ride.

Help them sync with your organization’s mission, values, and purpose, and the path ahead, while not made of chocolate, will be so much clearer.

Your internal comms audit checklist

Ready to revolutionize your internal comms? Keep our audit checklist and audit template (download below!) handy as you embark on this new journey. (Again, not in an ominous boat down a chocolate river.)