Poor communication can trigger business problems. Therefore, it is necessary to carry out a communication audit.
That was the view of Verlyana Hitipeuw’s view as the CEO & Principal Consultant of Kiroyan Partners in the workshop “A to Z Communication Audit” held virtually by PR INDONESIA, Thursday (30/9/2021). According to the woman commonly referred to as Veve, one of the causes of business problems is poor communication. This could trigger various problems, from miscommunication between the management and employees to hindering innovations. Moreover, in a worse situation, the company lost its social license to operate.
To prevent this possibility, she encourages public relations (PR) practitioners to understand communication audit, who does it and its scope of work. A communication audit is a process designed to assess and evaluate an organization’s communication program. A communication audit helps provide the whole image of the company’s communication process, identifying obstacles in achieving effective communication and understanding the gaps in the company’s communication process. “We can also identify which area needs improvement and determine the spot on next steps,” said Veve.
Meanwhile, the one who conducts the communication audit could be the company’s communication team or a consultant. Of course, each option has advantages and disadvantages. For example, it is more economical for companies if it involves its communication team carrying out communication audits. This option also eases stakeholder involvement and requires less coordination. However, the drawback is the possibility of bias or conflict of interest that internal PR practitioners unconsciously do.
Another thing that must be considered when conducting a communication audit is its scope of work divided into two areas, namely internal and external. In addition, before conducting a communication audit, PR practitioners must adjust the company’s needs with its human resources, time, and budget.
The communication audit must also be based on the communication objectives that have been determined at the beginning and pay attention to several things. Among other things, the sender and recipient of the message, the communication channel or activity, the amount of information or message, the quality of the information or message, and whether or not the communication objectives are achieved.
The communication audit stages include determining the scope of both internal and external assessment, reviewing the communication objectives and collecting both primary and secondary data. Then, analyze the data and check for gaps. “After that, we can conclude and make recommendations,” said this Swiss German University lecturer.
For a communication audit to run smoothly, Veve summarized it into five tips. First, communication practitioners must obtain support from the top management. Second, ensure that all parties involved understand the purpose and process of the audit. Third, inform all parties involved about their respective roles in the audit process and ensure they do so. Fourth, be open about the audit results. Fifth, plan and carry out an action plan from the audit results.
It must be remembered, said Veve, that communication audit is as important as any other communication activity. “Communication audit helps us develop future action plans more spot-on,” she concluded.* rvh
This article has been published in PR Indonesia magazine 79th Edition, issued on October 2021, page 47.
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