Internal communication strategies are always evolving. Most organizations are still sending traditional annual surveys, with very few embracing the idea of a continuous listening communication strategy.

Similar to building a culture of feedback in HR, continuous listening in internal communication means gathering feedback more often across communication channels, during campaigns, and the overall communication lifecycle.

In this article, we will explore continuous listening, how it’s enabled by technology, and how you can get started today.

What is a continuous listening strategy?

A continuous listening strategy means that you will be gathering feedback more often across communication channels, during your communication campaigns and the overall communication lifecycle.

It is important for this feedback to be collected at the right time which requires you to understands the moments that matter to your employees. Moments that matter can include, but are not limited to:

  • Employee onboarding experiences: Once an employee enters the organization, it is important that they are set up for success. This is a great time to ask about their communication expectations, the channels they prefer, cadence, etc.
  • Campaign based:
    • Before executing a campaign: This is one of critical points in time to establish a good baseline on your campaign.
    • At intervals during a campaign: throughout a campaign it is needed to understand if it is hitting or missing the mark. This feedback will allow you to course correct the campaign as necessary to achieve your objectives.
    • At the end of a campaign: You established a baseline, now it is time to close the loop and learn how effective the campaign was. Have you achieved the outcomes you were aiming for?
  • Time based:
    • At regular intervals: Execute it at regular intervals. Whether that’s monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, you need to determine a frequency that works for your organization and stick to it. It is important to know throughout the year how your communication efforts are being received.
  • Employee promotion and advancement: This situation represents an important point in time where the promotion could potentially come with new systems, culture, and team. This is a great time to ask the employee questions about its experience with internal communication so far and gather feedback on how it can be improved.
  • Employee exit: Losing employees represents a major drawback for organizations. Understand how the employees that are leaving perceive your communication efforts, platforms, and cadence is important to ensure that you improve communications for those that stay behind.

Continuous listening does not necessarily mean surveying every week or every month. Collecting feedback too frequently can frustrate your employees especially haven’t seen anything change since the last time they gave feedback.

Your strategy needs to be anchored in the use of statistics and what is a significant sample size. Determining the sample size is easy, here is an online calculator to help:

How does IC technology play a role in continuous listening?

The answer is simple, you cannot implement a continuous listening strategy without technology. The operational burden is too high and the employee experience too poor.

You need a platform that allows you to send surveys to your employee across multiple channels. The platform needs to calculate significant sample sizes automatically and keep track of those employees that have recently answered a survey to avoid duplication and fatigue.

With the right platform, employees anywhere in the world can be assured that their voice is heard.

With the right platform, continuous listening is embedded right into your communication and feels a seamless extension of your efforts.

While it may seem overwhelming to view the components of a continuous listening strategy piece by piece, mapping them along your internal communication strategy can help you prioritize surveys and moments.

Creating and executing your continuous listening strategy

While there are many components to a continuous internal communication listening strategy, the most important one is how you to get started.

Whether you look to integrate continuous listening in your communication efforts, or you would like to dive in with a quarterly internal communication survey, simply getting started is a step in the right direction.

Our recommendation is to start by creating a plan and mapping the different surveys across the moments that matter to you and your workforce. We offered some examples of those moments above. For each survey, you should determine its sample size, frequency, and the questions you will ask. Remember less is more when it comes to pulse surveys, focus on questions that are absolutely necessary and that you really want/need to know the answer to.

For example, let’s say you are planning your quarterly pulse survey. Here are four potential questions to ask:

  1. Are you getting the information you need — when you need it?
  2. How would you rate the communication you currently receive? You can then present a table that takes a closer look at the different areas. Amount of information you receive, frequency of delivery, accuracy of content, relevance of content and presentation style.
  3. What are your preferred sources of information?
  4. What else would you like to know, and when would you like to know about it?

Also, look for more opportunities to get data and make sure employees are comfortable with how that data is being used.

Set yourself up for success by having a plan of action and mapping surveys across the internal communication lifecycle. See where you have opportunities to get more data and make sure employees are comfortable with how that data is being used. When you’re ready, reach out to us, Sparrow is here to help set you up for success.

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When it comes to communications platforms, the Sparrow teams aims to not only to deliver the best value product but to also be the partner that’s there for you. We work closely with our customers, sharing where we’re going, listening to what they would like to see in our platform, and always thinking about how we can make them even more successful with our platform. At Sparrow, we believe that corporate communications can be transformative. Sparrow – Built for CommunicatorsBook a conversation with us today.  
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