Measuring Communication Effectiveness

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    Saswati Mitra

    I’m trying to come up with data collection plan that shall help me measure the current level of communication effectiveness within my team and baseline it.  We’ve conducted communication workshops with team members where e-mail & chat etiquettes, escalation procedures, do’s and dont’s of effective communication etc are taught.
    Now I would like to monitor the progress of effective communication and quantify it.  What are the parameters that I should be collecting as a part of my data collection plan?
    Saswati M


    Mr. It Depends

    What was the purpose of trying to improve communication effectiveness in the first place? (Not that effective communication is a bad thing) What “pain” were you experiencing because of ineffective communication and what was it’s cost? The reason I ask is that could steer you toward how to measure “effectiveness” in communication.
    For example, if the problem was that no one ever responded to important emails about meetings and therefore there were high absences at required meetings, then you could measure the effect of what the communication was about. (Did absences at important meetings decrease after you made changes to the communication plan?)
    I think it would be difficult to measure “effectiveness” directly over a broad range of communication types. Pick one form of communication over one medium and measure the response rate. Perhaps you could measure the effectiveness of email communications by asking recipients to reply and measure the percentage of replies, for example.
    Think about my original question to help guide you toward developing a measurement system.
    CAUTION: If there was no particular “pain” experienced by your communication effectiveness to begin with, you will have a hard time improving it, because you won’t be able to get buy-in to improve it!



    Here’s my two cents worth.
    Every organisational communication has an objective:  The sender intends the receiver(s) to
    a) be aware of something (INFORMATION) or
    b) to do something, usually by a particular date/time, (in a particular way) based on the information communicated       (ACTION)
    If you could, at the end/beginning of each communication, state in unambiguous words what the objective of that communication is, you can begin to monitor how much has been actually communicated, by tracking how many of the actions have been completed by which recepients within the target date. If you have priorities of communication (Low, Medium, High) , you could analyse the data (% defectives – actions not done by target date) in terms of the factors (sender/recepient/Department), priority etc. . After getting data for a couple months, you could brainstorm(without hurting peoples’ ego) to identify reasons for the failure/delay of communications.
    CED and FMEA could lead to strategies for improvement.
    Please also refer to SquareWheels on the net. They have a lot of good illustrations/stories that will help.
    There is also a theory that what has happened is what had been communicated but that strays into philosophy/psychology.Good Luck



    Dear Saswati,
    following might be useful
    – get down those who attanded the training to fill in onile questionnaire first on things that they do always—–and never on the communication and email ettiq. and do’s and don’ts
    – converse with them through various mode of communication taught to validate their saying
    – get the similar questionnaire filled up by other team members about the behaviors seen in two of their colleagues
    this gives validity of improvement shown vis a vis what was taught and in those cases which are below the average levels will be classified as defects
    can provide different tests for visual and oral and written communication defining what is correct as a preferred mode and what is not as a preferred mode
    do let me know if it sounds logical enough
    six sigma – black belt
    Bharti cellular limited,



    In addition to measuring whether message was received, understood, and acted upon appropriately, you may want to include importance and urgency.
    Different perception of importance and urgency is a huge barrier to effective communication. If you think of the sender and receiver as customers of the communication process, effective communication requires both customers to be satisfied with the outcome. If they don’t agree on what’s important to the greater organization, the result will be 1) too much info sent, 2) not enough info sent, or 3) the wrong info sent. If they don’t agree on urgency, messages will be sent by the wrong medium or they won’t be properly labeled for timely processing. The sender and/or recipient will be dissatisfied. 
    The desired state is to have a shared standard for importance and urgency. Measurement Systems Analysis can help identify problems in this area.



    There are  certain maesures to verify the effective communication between the employees
    I would suggest these:
    1.Give  equal/same type of job to each of your employee which can not be completed  in his shift .
    2.Provide written formats to record their work & communicatuion.
    3.Talk indivisually to every one about their privious &   releiving shift.
    4.Give them feedback form asking to judge their collegues about communication seperatly.
    5.Judge the Communication effective ness on your own after analysing these records.
    I think these measures may help you.But if no. of employees are large then implement this down the  order.But this may   come up with incorrect  data.
    With Regards,
    Tejinder Singh

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