Internal communications survey results: Customization, less fluff

December 5, 2017

By Jackie Todd, University Relations

Fewer emails, customized information and more relevant news were the most common themes of Clemson’s internal communications survey, answered by faculty and staff in October. Nearly 1,200 faculty and staff completed the survey, which required about 900 completed surveys to achieve statistical significance, according to the university’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness. Data from this survey will be used in creating an internal communications plan for the university.

The majority of respondents said the amount of information received from Clemson was “about right,” however, 21 percent of participants said the information they receive is “too much” or “overwhelming,” up from 18 percent in the 2015 internal communications survey.

The majority of participants said information received was either “very” or “somewhat” timely, the same as in 2015.

Most respondents (66%) said they get most or all the info they want from emails, however 33 percent—about one in three—think they are not getting info that is important or that pertains to them.

The weekly Inside Clemson faculty and staff e-newsletter scored a top ranking as the source where respondents received information that’s most important to them. Blast emails and information from co-workers followed. Other forms of communication mentioned included Clemson social media accounts, web pages and department/college newsletters.

But not everyone likes the amount of emails they receive. “It’s a flood of useless stuff from which I have to choose,” wrote one respondent.

Faculty and staff web page

More than half of respondents (55%) visited the faculty and staff web page, up slightly from 53 percent in 2015. Survey participants who didn’t visit the page report they were unaware that the page existed or had information pertinent to them, while others simply went to other places to access what they needed.

Easy web page navigation, better organization of content, customization so visitors can readily access what they want to see and hide what they don’t, and page update reminders were among the incentives that would make respondents visit the web page.

What about the content? A faculty-staff web page should have news, events and employee or event pics, according to survey participants. Other suggestions included HR announcements and employment opportunities, training opportunities, and interviews with campus leaders. In other words, respondents would like to easily access things that impact them.

The good idea that wasn’t a great idea

Clemson news and information shared by more than 5,000 faculty and staff through their social media accounts would reach even further in social networks and attract top talent, whose social media connections are Clemson employees.

That’s not such a great idea, according to survey respondents who overwhelmingly reported that they prefer to keep their personal accounts for family and non work-related postings.

“I like to keep my personal and work life separate,” offered one respondent.

Inside Clemson email

Viewing content in Inside Clemson didn’t see much of a change from the 2015 survey results. More than half (52 percent) of those who took the survey reported that they skim the headlines, while the rest indicated they read “most” or “all” of the weekly faculty and staff e-newsletter. Just two percent indicated they didn’t read the newsletter.

Those who put the newsletter aside say that they have “too many emails,” “not enough time” or the information “doesn’t pertain” to them. Respondents said they would like to see information about that pertains to them, such as trainings, policy changes, construction, benefits and events.

Improving internal communications

Survey respondents offered many suggestions to improve internal communications. Many had to do with reducing the amount of emails sent to them. Many complained they either had no interest or there was no relevance in the emails that they received – particularly mass emails. Others asked for a way to select what kinds of information they wanted to receive.

Ideas included:

  • Stop emails coming from multiple sources; stop inundating faculty and staff with emails.
  • Customize emails and the faculty and staff web page.
  • Recognize off-campus employees.
  • Better advertise trainings and growth opportunities.
  • Create a central hub of information with one weekly email.
  • Create listserv guidelines and educate audiences about proper use.

Parking permit winners

Staff member Barbara Hamberg of the philosophy and religion department and Dr. Mindy Spearman of the College of Education scored the free parking passes, the incentives provided by Parking and Transportation Services.

Full survey results are posted online:


Faculty only:

Staff only:

For questions, comments or more information, contact Jackie Todd.

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