The In the Know editorial team greatly appreciates the feedback we received from the SMPH community via our internal communications survey, which ran from July 28 to August 30, 2021. We look forward to using the data and feedback to introduce changes to our internal communications.
We received 363 responses, with responses heavily weighted toward staff members. Staff (university and academic) comprised 94% of respondents and faculty made up 4%, with learners and “other” making up the remaining 2%.
Publishing schedule moving to Tuesdays and Thursdays
Opinions varied on the preferred publishing schedule of In the Know. Quantitative data showed support for the current three days a week, as well as interest in a twice a week and a strong preference for a once-a-week schedule. Other quantitative data pointed to high satisfaction with the overall volume of messages coming from the Dean’s Office.
Qualitative responses indicated a range of perspectives about volume, with some respondents indicating that there are currently too many emails per week, while others said the schedule and timeliness of the information included is essential to their work. To accommodate these findings, starting the week of September 20, 2021 we will be publishing the In the Know e-newsletter twice a week — on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
This will reduce the volume of In the Know employee newsletter emails by one-third and still allow for information submitted to be shared with the SMPH community in a timely manner.
Publishing time shifting to early morning
Based on quantitative responses showing early morning is the preferred time to read internal communications — coupled with qualitative data expressing that evening send times can be disruptive — we will be releasing In the Know in the early morning (two days a week) starting the week of September 20. It will be scheduled to send to all SMPH employees around 7 a.m. (Please note that on rare occasions, technical issues can affect the actual receipt timestamp vs. scheduled timestamp.)
Other changes and looking forward
This is only the first set of data-driven actions we are taking in response to the survey data. Other areas of improvement include:
- Nearly 40% of respondents reported they have less than 15 minutes per day to read internal communications, and approximately 60% interact with In the Know by skimming it and clicking some of the links relevant to them. We will work to keep our communications brief and to-the-point, along with using adequate signposting, such as bolded text and introducing new headings in the future to help employees digest information as quickly as possible.
- Sorting through the types of information ranked most important to respondents to best utilize our content production resources.
- Including more content about staff advancement and professional development opportunities in In the Know.
- Exploring other vehicles and channels for disseminating information in the school.
- Long-term improvements to the school’s Intranet, including increasing awareness of its resources, improving the search function, and assessing its organization and user experience. Given that the SMPH Intranet is a publicly accessible website and not a password-protected site, this could include changing the name of the site.
- Continuing to use a survey instrument to monitor employee feedback over time.
Once again, thank you to those who responded to the survey and to all readers of In the Know and other Dean’s Office communications. We greatly appreciate those who left kind comments about our efforts. We also want to make internal communications as efficient and effective as possible for members of our school community.
We are committed to our readers. Our hope is that when we succeed in our strategic communication endeavors, people in our organization feel informed, included, engaged, and inspired.
The In the Know editorial team
Executive and Internal Communications Writer
Wisconsin Medical Journal Managing Editor
Robyn M. Perrin, PhD, ELS
Director of Strategic Communications