Communications, both with clients and internally with staff and other stakeholders, is critical to successful completion of work, a feeling of comraderie and of accomplishment. When communications break down, it is more difficult to acheive goals, and stakeholders may feel less valued or less a part of the team. As such, undertaking a regular audit of communications can help to shed light on potential issues, and can surface grassroots solutions to any challenges uncovered.
Our client, a government agency, was concerned that communications, particularly from head office to staff located throughout the province, was not being received and applied consistently, resulting in inconsistent understanding and application of government regulations that govern the industry in question. In addition, the team wanted to ensure that the clients who interact with the agency were satisfied with the communications that they received to and from the agency.
Advanis utlitized multiple modes of simultaneous data collection (both telephone or online surveys, with notifications provided by mail, email or staff e-bulletin) in order to maximize response rates, and to respect the different working environments. We also conducted qualitatitve interviews with both staff and clients to help provide context for the quantitative results.
Results from the research showed the importance of relationships and two way communication, supported by easy to access, searchable, formal communications and reference materials. Clients indicated generally good relations with the front line staff that they worked with, and felt that this would improve if that staff had more timely access to decisions made province wide. They wanted newsletter information to be more directly relevant to their goals. Staff, like clients, wanted more two way communications, with opportunities to share and brainstorm with their peers throughout the province. They were generally comfortable with technology, but workloads prevented them from having more face to face interactions with their peers.
Advanis would be pleased to help your company to develop a strategy to evaluate your communications.
Nicolas Toutant is Vice-President, Research and Evaluation at Advanis. Nicolas specializes in evaluating government programs. He is a past president of the Board of Directors of the Société québécoise d’évaluation de programme and past editor of the SQEP information bulletin. Nicolas can be reached by calling 888-944-9212,or via e-mail. Lori Reiser is a Principal Consultant at Advanis. Her consulting engagements focus on ensuring that the consumer is heard at the strategic table - reducing risk in marketing decision making. Lori can be reached by calling 888-944-9212, via e-mail, or on twitter @LoriReiser.