One of the contentious debates in the communication profession in recent years has been about the preferred source of information for employees.
On one side of the debate is the view by TJ Larkin that supervisors and managers are the preferred source of most employee information. On the other side is the view that employees want different information from different sources.
It’s common sense – ask employees about their preferred sources of information
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:
- “What is your main current source of information on that topic?”
- “What is your preferred main source on that topic?”
- “What is your preferred communication channel to receive this contact?”
- “How often would you like to receive this communication?”
For simplicity, the sources of information could be numbered as follows for each item of selected information:
- = CEO
- = My Divisional General Manager
- = My supervisor/manager who directly supervises me
- = My manager (where the manager does not directly supervise me).
- = Hard copy newsletter
- = Email newsletter
- = Intranet
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.