An internal communications audit is a review of your internal communications within your organization. The audit focuses on employee concerns, and includes a review of your communications, their effectiveness and changes to make.

But before you decide to gather your communications team together and tackle your data and send out surveys, you need a comprehensive brief to give you a clear path. In fact, if you choose to hire an outside consultant to conduct the audit, the consultant will ask you for that comprehensive brief.

Why is the comprehensive brief important? And what should it include?

Your comprehensive brief

While some websites will promise you “easy steps” in conducting an audit, the reality is, an audit isn’t “easy,” because there are many factors involved and many people who potentially have a role in the audit. Time is already precious before you add in another necessary task. But once you get into the habit of conducting audits, which should be done on a regular basis, the routine will be roughly the same.

A comprehensive brief for your company’s internal communications audit will help you and your team remain focused on your objectives, the scope of the audit and the parties involved. The brief is a plan and a map of how you are going to proceed, and is your working document to get the audit process started.


Your brief should begin with a summary of the challenges your organization is facing with your communications. You’ll want to include why the audit is important to your employees and your company.

After outlining the summary, you’ll next want to include your objectives.


Your objectives should give your vision and what you hope to achieve. You will need supporting strategies for your objectives. This is key to:

  • convince your communications team why this is important
  • convince your executive team why it should allocate resources for this endeavor

Defining your objectives is what will help you remain focused and keep you on the right path.

Defining your objectives is what will help you remain focused and keep you on the right path.


The scope of your audit outlines exactly what methods are involved and analyzed. Do you desire to focus on one communications medium (for example, your internal newsletter)? Or do you need an overall audit of your internal communications within your global organization?

Keep in mind, most, if not all, of the departments within your organization will likely be involved in the process, including Human Resources, IT, Production, Marketing and Corporate.

Think about where your information comes from and to whom it’s distributed, and those are the departments and people who will be affected by this audit.

Research methods

Larger organizations will require assistance from all departments to gather information. A representative from each department should supply you with the communications mediums and documentation for research.

Ideally, these representatives should do the research for you since they are most familiar with how their departments handle the communications. This will alleviate stress on the communications team while it analyzes the overall communications.

What will you need?

You will need copies of the communications (a few months to a year will suffice, depending on your objectives) with a narrow focus so the research is targeted rather than vague. This includes all your sources in both digital and print formats: surveys, newsletters, memos, videos.

Communications channels

List your current and past communications methods. Give a brief summary of their effectiveness, including reasons if they don’t or didn’t work.

Include employees’ feedback on these channels.

Who will be involved

Determine who will be involved with the audit and how you will collect information and feedback, such as through:

  • Surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Interviews
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Video conferences

Determine your key stakeholders. Include a representative of each group for your audit. While employees are absolutely stakeholders in the audit process, you likely won’t collect everyone’s input. However, surveys (if done properly) are a great source for the information you need from the majority.

If you decide to conduct focus groups, determine who will be in that group or groups. Representatives from multiple locations, functions and levels should be considered so you can collect a healthy balance of feedback with your communications process, methods and goals.

Interviews and one-on-one meetings can be both formal and informal, but ultimately are designed to solicit feedback from a variety of levels and viewpoints. Interviews should be conducted with people who are comfortable with the process and are made to understand their comments will not affect their employment.

Finally, outline who will be involved in the approval process once your audit is completed and you have a strategy and plan for implementing your goals and objectives.

Your personalized comprehensive brief

Your company’s comprehensive brief is the stepping-stone for your communications audit. The brief jump-starts the process by providing an outlined map of your objectives, the scope of the audit, how the audit will be conducted, and it will detail who is responsible within the process.

Special Note: If you and/or your organization would like an examination and audit of your communication arc, call me for a free 30-minute consultation.