Communication channels are the ways that information flows throughout your organization; specifically, the methods and tools that facilitate it. While internal communication is mostly concerned with the top-down flow of information, we should also be aware of and engaged with channels that facilitate horizontal or bottom-up communication.
A channel audit is a tool that you can use to take stock of each channel currently moving messaging through your organization. Look at the channels sanctioned and officially used, as well as apps installed by shadow IT, that may be widely adopted across the organization or by specific departments or teams.
A thorough channel audit gives you a clear view of how you can navigate your organization’s internal communication landscape. It equips you with the necessary information to determine how you can structure and deploy your communications to have the most reach and impact possible. Waste less time on posters no one reads in the hallways, spend more time on dynamic content for digital screens that everyone sees when they’re eating lunch.
So, what counts as a channel? Does it solely refer to a tool, or could it be a general information space … or even be a person? The answer (as it often is in internal communications) is that it depends. A channel is something through which something (in this case, information, or specifically communication) flows. An internal communication channel is one that we can access and use in some way — either to deliver or to receive.
To use this channel audit tool, you’ll need to review and identify all the channels currently active in your organization. Include both the official channels and the ones that exist around the fringes and examine how they’re utilized. Have conversations with people to find out how and why they use each channel. Take a thorough stock of each one, and then use it to guide your planning.