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Who is the best source of information for your employees?

By Kim Harrison,

Consultant, Author and Principal of www.cuttingedgepr.com

Source gap analysis

One of the contentious debates in the communication profession in recent years has been the preferred source of information for employees.

On one side of the debate is the view by TJ Larkin that supervisors are the preferred source of most employee information. On the other side is the view that employees want different information from different sources.

One way to find out what your employees want is simply to survey them on their preferred sources of information on selected important topics compared against the actual range of sources to identify where any gaps lie.

Typical questions to ask the respondents would be:

  1. “What is your main current source of information on that topic?”
  2. “What is your preferred main source on that topic?”

The questions could be put into a table as shown in the sample below:

Measuring source gaps

Selected Information My current main source of information on that topic is My preferred main source of information on that topic is
1. Organizational strategy 1        2        3        4         5         6        7 1        2        3        4         5         6        7
2. How I can help meet branch objectives 1        2        3        4         5         6        7 1        2        3        4         5         6        7
3. Competitor information 1        2        3        4         5         6        7 1        2        3        4         5         6        7
4. Our products and services 1        2        3        4         5         6        7 1        2        3        4         5         6        7

 

      Key

  1. = CEO
  2. = My Divisional General Manager
  3. = My supervisor/manager who directly supervises me
  4. = My manager (where the manager does not directly supervise me).
  5. = Hard copy newsletter
  6. = Email newsletter
  7. = Intranet

If you want to probe this result further in your survey, ask each respondent to indicate both their first source and second source. To achieve this, you would need to include a second table relating to the current second source and referred second source

A follow-up survey should be conducted to check that any communication activity initiated after the survey has resulted in a smaller gap between the main source of information on a topic and the preferred main source of information.

About the Author

Kim Harrison is a recognized authority in the public relations field. His website, www.cuttingedgepr.com, provides a wealth of informative articles and resources on public relations techniques and management.

 

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