Poor communication can trigger business problems. For this reason, it is necessary to carry out a communication audit.
According to CEO & Principal Consultant Kiroyan Partners Verlyana Hitipeuw in the workshop “A to Z Communication Audit”, which was held by PR INDONESIA virtually, Thursday (30/9/2021). According to the woman who is affectionately called Veve, one of the causes of problems in business is poor communication. Poor communication can spur things on, Starting from miscommunication between management and employees to hinder innovation. Even worse, companies can lose their social license to operate.
To avoid this possibility, she encourages public relations (PR) practitioners to become familiar with a communications audit, who should perform it, and its scope. A communication audit is a process designed to examine and evaluate an organization’s communication program. It helps provide a complete picture of the company’s communication process, identify barriers to achieving effective communication, and understand gaps in its communication process. “We can also find out which areas need improvement and plan future work steps that are right on target,” said Veve.
Meanwhile, the party conducting the communication audit can be from the company’s internal communications team or a consultant. Of course, each option has advantages and disadvantages. For example, companies are indeed more efficient if they involve the internal communication team in carrying out communication audits. They are also easier to involve stakeholders and require 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 that the scope is divided into internal and external. In addition, before performing a communications audit, PR practitioners must adjust the company’s needs with human resources, time, and costs.
The communication audit must also be based on the communication objectives determined in advance by considering a number of aspects. Among other things, the message’s sender, the message’s recipient, the channel or communication activity, the amount of information or message, the quality of the information or message, and whether or not the communication objectives have been achieved.
The communication audit phase includes determining both internal and external scope, reviewing the communication objectives, and collecting data both primary and secondary. Then, analyze the data and check for gaps. “After that, then we can conclude and make recommendations,” said the Swiss-German University lecturer.
For a communication audit to run smoothly, Veve summarizes it into five tips. First, communication practitioners must get support from top management. Second, ensure that all parties involved understand the purpose and process of the audit. Third, inform all parties about their roles in the audit process and ensure that they do so. Fourth, be open to audit results. Fifth, plan and carry out an action plan from the audit results.
What must be remembered, Veve said, is that communication audits are as crucial as other communication activities. “The communication audit helps us to organize our work steps forward with a more precise target,” she concluded.* rvh
This article has been published in PR Indonesia magazine 79th Edition, issued on October 2021, page 47.
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