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A lot has been said about the impact of the pandemic on the world of work and the need, within every organization, to find wellness. What is meant by wellness? Why should organizations be healthy? What is the role of assessment?

By Mariela Rodríguez Ponte, Director of Operations in ABCOM, for the Association of Communications Consultants and Agencies (Acacia) [Asociación de Consultoras y Agencias de Comunicación]

Despite the company’s industry, size or business objectives, the health emergency has evidenced the need to incorporate wellness into the productivity equation. When we refer to wellness, we mean wellness to be found personally, but more importantly institutionally.

In the book Personas saludables, organizaciones saludables: gestión de salud y bienestar (2020) [Healthy people, healthy organizations: health and wellness management], Guadalupe Benavídez who holds a degree in Nutrition and is a Health Coach, explains “organizational wellness is much more than the sum of individual behaviors and health. It assumes a conscious and responsible commitment of the organization’s members and leaders”. In this sense, she points out that improving workspace wellness is treating professionals not strictly as employees but as people in the broadest sense of the word.

The author states the need to create appropriate physical and social environments, with shared cultural values and common objectives, and with communication and interchange channels that foster the creation of healthy bonds. How to do so?

From the communications standpoint, it is key to assess an organization if we want to promote a wellness culture with creative strategies. Actions won’t have an impact in the medium and long term if we don’t find out the real status of the organization, its collaborators, and leaders and if we don’t plan based on that.

When we assess an organization, we query and analyze. It demands time, commitment and a group of experts to handle it. What are the aspects every expert should take into account? Even though they vary depending on the organization’s needs, they usually include the following four: business, culture, leadership, and communications.

The first aspect, business, is related to knowing key topics, and the alignment – or not – of the various sectors with the strategy. The second one, the culture, addresses the ways of being and doing that are specific to that organization and how collaborators identify with them. The third aspect is leadership and includes the analysis of the organization’s leadership model – if any -, leaders’ perceptions, how they feel about their role, and whether they have the tools they need. Last, is the communications aspect, which addresses fluency, channels, and the degree of formalization of spaces, among others.

Another important piece for the assessment is the collaborators’ voice, their perception of the company, and the bonds created. To avoid prejudgments, it is necessary to let them know about the process step by step and to make them part of its advancements. Their contribution is vital to guarantee a certain assessment and a successful strategy to implement.

In conclusion, when an organization is assessed by experts, leaders and collaborators start thinking of what is being done within the company and why. Having an expert view in charge of the process is key to reach an objective perspective….

As we have already mentioned, the best Strategic Internal Communications Plan starts with a good assessment. It is essential to analyze and understand the organization’s communication reality before taking part.

In ABCOM, we are experts at conducting audits and assessments. And in this article, you will learn about our “secret”, which is the result of more than 21 years of experience. Take notes!

1- From communication/channel to communication/culture

To carry out a good communications assessment it is vital to bear in mind an important point: we should see the big picture of the object under analysis. In other words, we should ask ourselves: what are we studying or analyzing when we make a communications assessment?

If we just gather information on the communication channels, our analysis might be scarce. However, if we seek to understand the behaviors, practices, and beliefs shared by each and every collaborator, our assessment will be much richer.

In this respect, we should see communications related to organizational culture. An organization’s actions and thoughts constitute its culture and that is how we understand its communication reality.

2. What do the company’s employees say in social media and the media?

It is also important to know what people outside the organization say. What do they share? What is their review of the company?

Social Listening tools help us with this purpose. They have recently been incorporated into our assessments.  With the aid of data analytics, we can track the company’s mentions on printed and online media as well as on social media and compare them to the competition’s.

We can also identify the tone in which the company is referred to, the prominence, themes, speakers, presence of key messages, calls to action, and feeling and compare all these with the company’s vision and business objectives.

3- Methodological triangulation

It is important to combine qualitative and quantitative methodological tools so as to broaden our outlook of a situation. If we only include HR referents’ interviews our view might be biased.

Every collaborator is a legitimate speaker to describe their organization and help us get to know it. By contrasting many views and perspectives, we will be able to delve into the matter and further understand the organization’s reality.

For this reason, we recommend carrying out a document analysis, individual interviews, focus groups, surveys, and social listening. Thanks to methodological triangulation we can combine different instruments according to our needs, and thus, have access to all the necessary information.

After this assessment, the communications and cultural transformation plan will be strategic and based on specific data. Therefore, we will be able to conduct a follow-up periodically and adjust our plan to obtain concrete results.

4- Eyes and ears wide open

When we conduct a communications assessment, it often happens that collaborators or directors bring along situations not included in our protocol questions. It is important to carefully listen to them and ask about those points outside our “roadmaps”. Especially, if we think it can contribute to better understand the communication reality of that organization. In this process, it is essential not to be confounded and ramble during interviews.

After all, we will realize when to stick to the questionnaire or not along the process. Sometimes it will be worth it to step away from it to listen to our interlocutors and their contributions. In any case, eyes and ears should be always wide open.

If you want to learn more about our assessment methodology, click here!

If you want to know why it is important to assess organizational wellness, this is the piece you should read….