Ever heard a wise person tell you to first look at the situation at hand before digging right into solving a problem? Well, we certainly have. After all, benchmarking a situation before acting is the only way to know if your activities have actually improved or changed the status quo. If you don’t know where you started, you won’t know how far you got. It’s that simple. But while companies seem to understand this for most business areas, it’s what often gets forgotten in internal communication.
For years, many companies didn’t have an internal communication strategy or plan in place. Topics were communicated spontaneously whenever they came up and somebody had the idea employees might need to know about it. Sometimes, that’s still the case. The result? An email to everybody within the company, without any segmentation of target audiences or thought about the right moment to send the message. But with the urgency of implementing change faster and more efficiently than ever before, companies start to realize this might need to change. Although it has always worked out somehow, employees now need to be onboard of change management processes to make the change happen and keep up with the competition in an ever faster changing market. However, simply adding new, fancy tools to your internal communication mix doesn’t do the trick. To know how to improve a situation, you’ll need to benchmark it first.
It’s not easy to objectively benchmark a situation you are directly involved in. Especially when there is no clear framework to analyze your current efforts, or you don’t have the right data available to judge your efforts based on that. Mostly, you’d need to rely on your gut feeling. And let’s just agree that gut feeling isn’t the best advisor when it comes to efficient communication strategies.
That’s why we came up with something that will help you to benchmark your internal communication efforts: The internal communication Maturity Model. It’s a model that helps you to easily analyze the maturity of your current internal communication efforts and shows you what you need to improve it.
The internal communication Maturity Model
The Maturity Model defines five different stages of internal communication, from ad hoc efforts to interactive internal communication and learning. Most companies start at the first stage at some point: Communicating internally whenever a topic pops up, based on information available and gut feeling. Obviously, there is also no analysis or evaluation of internal communication happening at this stage, it’s just that: ad hoc communication.
From there, the level of internal communication increases based on the available tools, data and strategy that is being used. That way, once you have identified the current stage of your internal communication approach, you can easily see what is needed to reach a higher level. That way, the chance of reaching your employees with your message increases.
Once you have benchmarked and improved your internal communication approach as far as possible, you’ll reach the highest stage of the Maturity Model. At this level, you’ll have all the right data and tools available, you’ll have the insights you need to fully understand your target audience and anticipate their behavior and map out the perfect strategy and plan. Your internal communication is interactive, which means you don’t only tell your target audience what they are supposed to do, but also learn from their insights and points of view.
What for, you might wonder? Well, as mentioned before, the better you reach your internal target audience with your messages, the better they understand the strategy and act accordingly. That way, you’ll be able to implement change faster and more efficiently, which means you’ll also reach the competitive advantages you were hoping for more easily. Win-win! And that’s not it: ever wondered how you can win the war for talent that is currently going on? With companies fighting harder and harder, it’s crucial to keep your employees engaged by including them in your communication strategy.
To reach this high level of internal communication, benchmarking yourself and the situation at hand is always key. Once you know where you’re at, you know what you need to work on to get your internal communication to the next stage.
Want to start working with the Maturity Model? You can download the free version here or request a workshop to dig deeper into the theory with one of our consultants.
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