C10.4.3.4 Evaluating the Effectiveness of Communication

 

Once you have your communication strategy in place, you need to evaluate whether or not it is effective. It is pointless to repeatedly produce newsletters or pay for advertising that is not having the desired effect.

When you know how your stakeholders perceive your communication you can then make adjustments if necessary or concentrate more budget in a specific area. It is also important to recognise that the situation may change. You may need to change your strategy and employ different tactics. You will inevitably face unexpected events, opportunities and threats that affect your work. Evaluation helps you collect valuable information at these critical moments so that you can make tactical and strategic adjustments. It can also help you determine whether your changes are putting you back on the path to success.

In order to evaluate the effectiveness of your communication, you will need to determine what you see as success. Is your aim to increase awareness, motivate action, alleviate concern or change government policy?

Once you decide what your ultimate aim is, you can then start to establish how well you are meeting that aim, or progressing towards it.

Again, using an example of a large project that is being built (say a hazardous waste facility or a new power station), the table below outlines potential indicators of the effectiveness of communication for different stakeholder groups:

Stakeholder Indicators of Effectiveness
Employee
  •   Conduct an opinion survey before and after; compare the results.
    • Do they feel job security?
    • Have they job satisfaction?
    • Do they understand the project aims?
  •   Staff retention.
  •   Absence figures.
  •   Review what they say during employee appraisals.
  •   Near misses raised – the employees understood their environmental training if they are raising these correctly.

 

Supplier
  •   Whether the materials are supplied to specification.
  •   If materials are delivered on time, as promised.
  •   Whether unexpected costs have arisen.

 

Shareholders
  •   Feedback received during shareholder meetings.

 

Regulators
  •   You might look at issues such as the number of site visits they conduct, the number of warning letters received, the number of consents successfully granted, the amount of communication in general and its tone.

 

Local Community
  •   Conduct an opinion survey before and after; compare the results.
  •   Review the complaints received.

 

Client
  •   Informal feedback given at regular Client review meetings.
  •   Formal Client feedback questionnaires.
  •   Future work awarded from this Client.

 

 

 

For more information on evaluating the effectiveness of communication, “Are We There Yet? A Communications Evaluation Guide”, Prepared by Asibey Consulting for The Communications Network in 2008 is available here: C10.4.3.4 AreWeThereYet

 

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