Communication Needs Identification and Communication Model Development

L

Lavania

#1
Dear Friends

After carrying out a gap analysis using the RADAR tool for enablers in the EFQM model, we came across a lacuna in many of our processes. :D
Actually we are still not over with the exercise.

Under the People Criteria we do not have a robust method of identifying communication needs.

Is there a scientific approach to identify communication needs of employees? If not then how can it be done? How can a communication model be built with the help of it?

Can anybody please help me out?

HR was suggested to use the KANO model considering the communication to be a service to identify needs, but somehow its not giving me comfort.

(I am not from HR but am the business excellence coordinator and can always suggest for an improvement...:))


Regards
Lavania
 
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RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#2
Lavania said:
After carrying out a gap analysis using the RADAR tool for enablers in the EFQM model, we came across a lacuna in many of our processes. :D Actually we are still not over with the exercise.
I actually had to look up the word 'lacuna' and English is my first language. :cool:

Lavania said:
Under the People Criteria we do not have a robust method of identifying communication needs.

Is there a scientific approach to identify communication needs of employees? If not then how can it be done? How can a communication model be built with the help of it?

Can anybody please help me out?

HR was suggested to use the KANO model considering the communication to be a service to identify needs, but somehow its not giving me comfort.

(I am not from HR but am the business excellence coordinator and can always suggest for an improvement...:))
Why do you not wish to pursue H.R.'s suggestion? It's a starting point. Granted, it presumes that all of the characteristics and attributes for determining effective communication are in place and the "right" ones.

Keep it simple. Why not simply survey employees to find out what they want to know about the business and how they would like it communicated to them?
 
L

Lavania

#3
Hey RCBeyette thanks.

Actually, the HR team is struggling to frame the questions based on the KANO model

We are having umpteen no. of surveys which is not being liked by the people.

So was wondering if there was any other scientific approach to identify needs based on which a communication model can be developed which clearly identifies 5W 1H of the communication to be done.

Regards
Lavania
 

RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#4
Actually, the HR team is struggling to frame the questions based on the KANO model
The Kano model is less about questions and more about perceptions on attributes and characteristics. For example, if using Kano, you would not ask, "How would you like the organization to communicate performance to you?" Instead, it would be something like "The company newsletter clearly articulates company performance in an engaging manner." 'Articulates' speaks to the implementation of communicating performance whereas 'engaging' speaks to level of satisfaction.

Lavania said:
We are having umpteen no. of surveys which is not being liked by the people.
WHY don't like the surveys? Is it the quantity? The length? The purpose? The lack of communication regarding the results or outcomes? Surveys can be a useful tool, but also easily over-used. Some organizations perceive them as the easy way to engage staff, not realizing that there are more creative - and less irritating the whole population - ways to gain opinion. Although, let's face it...sometimes, folks just want leadership to lead the way. Don't ask for opinions. Leaders are there to lead...to make decisions...to set the direction and pace.

Lavania said:
So was wondering if there was any other scientific approach to identify needs based on which a communication model can be developed which clearly identifies 5W 1H of the communication to be done.
If all you want is a communication plan, document the steps on developing a newsletter and gaining feedback on the content and style. If you want something effective, you'll need a plan that has steps addressing things such as:
  • Stakeholders / Audience - Are there groups of employees where communication must be tailored? Some communication methods are more formal.
  • What are you trying to communicate? What do people want to know?
  • How often is communication needed?
  • Where will it be received? Depending on the message and the audience, options could be email, web updates, lunchroom tv, newsletter, etc.
  • Will the communication be one-way or two-way (i.e., open to feedback)?

But you've mentioned 'scientific approach' twice now. How do you define 'scientific approach'? My definition is more "lab-based" and includes a hypothesis...but that could be because of my technical background.

I'm guessing you mean that you want something that is meaningful and relevant to your company. The only way you can properly identify the communication needs of your employees is to actually talk with them and gain their feedback/input. Survey, crowd sourcing, suggestion box, and other feedback-generating methods are your best bet. Only once you know WHAT employees want to know and HOW they want to hear it, can you identify your organization's communication gaps and develop an action plan to address those gaps.
 
L

Lavania

#5
Hey Roxane....

That was enlightening...Shall surely pass on this information to the HR team.

Thanks
Lavania
 
L

Lavania

#6
Hey Roxane

Just for a small update.

HR carried out a need identification exercise that was pretty exhaustive.

They split the organisation into 20 categories and did a focus group study with each category.

To name a few - Gen Y, Gen X, Baby Boomers, Women, New entrants, about to retire etc. etc.

They then stratified all the identified needs under Top down, bottom up and bi-directional communication.

A calendar was prepared for each of the three clearly identifying frequency and mode.

HR is trying to develop a model based on this study now.

Thanks for your guidance.

Regards
Lavania
 

RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#7
Thanks for the update!

20 groups?!?! Wow. I presume your organization is large enough to justify that many groups. What about people that fall into multiple categories? Was it possible for a person to be included in more than one focus group (because that could skew the results).

Needless to say, it sounds like a lot of data was collected. Here's the thing with statistics...I remember being told by a profession that "If you torture the numbers long enough, they will eventually scream what you want to hear."

Playing with the results in so many ways is all well and good, but it can cloud the reality of the situation. Has a more simple approach been looked at? If it works out for your organization, I'm happy for you. My instincts are telling me that this situation has been made more complicated than it needs to be.
 
L

Lavania

#8
I agree they complicated it a bit...

But the calendar is neat and covers most of the aspects.

The members were repeating in the groups but the needs pertaining to each group were quite different.

We have a workforce of around 270....So 20 is fair enough.

:)
 
P

pldey42

#9
With KANO being a model of customer satisfaction, there seems to be an assumption that this is about communicating to employees, as though they are customers for communications from managers. There's surely a risk too that the categories and stratification prejudge the needs.

Downward-only communications systems rarely work, in my experience, for managers only know what they know - figures, trends, costs, aspirations - much of which is either not of interest to employees, or beyond their control. So managers communicate and people try to listen, try not to fall asleep.

Managers don't know what they don't know - and employees often do. They know what works and what doesn't, they know why customers complain, and they're desperate for someone to listen. They know too that problems are often caused by departments throwing problems over the wall. They're told not to report problems unless they have a solution, and know the solution involves managers and their staff working across departmental boundaries, and that therefore nothing will happen and they'll be marked as "complainers." So they say nothing. Good communications should make people feel free to speak their minds, not talked at.

Rather than communicate about communicating with surveys and the like, I'd start communicating with a simple agenda:

  1. What we want to tell you, especially things that concern you or affect your work;
  2. What we want to do and need your help and ideas with - and here's how you tell us or give us feedback;
  3. What questions you have that you'd like answered - we'll get answers to you asap if we can, or tell you why not.

I'd do it with a cascade down through the organization, with feedback from meetings (ideas, suggestions, questions) flowing back up. Oh, and I'd bring donuts to the meetings. Monthly to start with, see how it goes.

Every year or so, I'd bring everyone in the company together and encourage teams to brag about their successes and talk about new ventures. (15 minutes presentation plus questions each).

Just my 2c
Pat
 
L

Lavania

#10
Hey Patrick

Thanks for your response.

HR did not identify communication needs using the KANO model. That was proposed initially but they were facing problems

It was a focus group study to know what were the actual communication needs of members being part of a particular group.

So the study actually revolved around the three points you mentioned in the agenda but was more for identifying the bottom up needs.

For example...in the women category, they requested the formation of a ladies club to share information.

I could share the calendar and probably take your suggestions on how to maintain timelines effectively.

Regards
Lavania
 
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