An annual examination of what’s working and what can be improved is a great way to strengthen your internal communications and keep your workplace healthy.

Check 1: How far are you taking your data? Are you thinking beyond your go-to methods for gathering data? An employee survey, for example, is great for measuring the effectiveness of communications, but lack of time and money can limit its use. Consider other creative approaches. Before launching a program, you could identify brand champions and, afterwards, gather feedback from this group. When building metrics into your communications plan, try connecting them to topics that affect your bottom line, such as productivity and turnover in order to gain new insights. Look at email inquiries and social media posts related to your efforts and identify trends in positive or negative employee reactions. When you look at the outcome of your employee wellness program, don’t just look at website hits. Examine whether the program had an impact on awareness of wellness issues using a simple, informal survey.

Check 2: Is it time to refresh your plan? Advancing technology creates new opportunities to keep communications fresh. For Hilton Worldwide’s biggest employee recognition program, Catch Me at My Best®, RSW updated the comment card-based program by creating an online Tally Website that allowed hotels to order comment cards, set goals, and track how many cards Team Members received. Bringing Catch Me online made global participation possible, and re-ignited hotels’ interest in the program. The efforts earned a 2013 IABC Gold Quill Award.

Check 3: Are you using the 80/20 rule? As you create a plan for 2014, challenge yourself to spend 80 percent of your time reinforcing what’s going right, and 20 percent of your time fixing what’s wrong. After all, research shows that it takes 48 percent longer to understand a negative statement than a positive one. When you implement this rule, do a quick check after one month. Is your team more motivated? Is productivity higher? Do your communications seem to have a wider impact? There’s wiggle room in the 80/20 ratio, so tweak your practice until it fits your team.

Check 4: What are others doing? Talk to your peers to see which tactics work best for their businesses. This could be calling up friends in the industry or picking their brains at your next networking function. It could also be finding related LinkedIn or other professional groups, such as Second Wind. Once you establish your go-to connections and resources, you’ll be able to return throughout the year to keep your communications growing.

Regular checkups are the best way to keep your internal communications healthy and effective. Examine your plan to see what needs to be done, and let’s have a great 2014.