Being able to spot trends, adapt and support your team accordingly is a critical part of your role as a comms leader. Our most recent benchmarking data revealed that the ability to collaborate, listen, and coach stakeholders is more important than ever and yet the two competencies associated with these consistently score the lowest in Kademy’s skills and competency assessment tool – 40% rate A Curious Coach as lowest and 52% rate A Flexible Collaborator lowest.

Talent management, succession planning, high-potential programmes … all of these also fall within your remit. To do them well, to attract and retain the best talent, you need to know the make-up of your team and also understand how you compare to other organisations. Providing clarity for new starters and existing team members around how the team fits together and why does wonders for engagement levels, efficiency and productivity. Being able to lay out and deliver opportunities for ongoing growth and development signals a commitment to excellence and enables your team to map their career path in meaningful ways.

So what data should you gather about your team’s capability and why? Having put hundreds of communicators through Kademy’s competency and skills assessment, we’ve seen first-hand the outcomes that collecting and using the right data can deliver:

1. A clear map of a dispersed or decentralised team
Gathering even the most basic information like who makes up the total comms network, where they sit and who they report to, can be challenging for the leader of a dispersed team. Beyond knowing these basics, you also need to have confidence that these individuals are capable and engaged in supporting your comms initiatives. Adding the right data cuts can give you even deeper levels of insight – we regularly provide them around business unit, region or job function – but even if you only manage to capture the basics, you’ll already be reducing the risk that you’re missing out on the value that remote team members could deliver.

2. Efficiency and focus for lean teams
It’s not all about size. What we’re talking about here is any team that has limited time and resources. Having a clear view of the capabilities in the team enables you to optimise what you do have by spotting and avoiding duplication and any missed opportunities for efficiency gains. It also provides a level of focus for any learning that you’re able to undertake so that you know you’re putting your time and money against what matters most. And when the time comes to expand your team, you’ll be making smarter, more informed hiring decisions.

3. Meaningful support through change
The relentless pace and volume of change is taking its toll on comms teams, almost without exception, and the reality is that this uncertainty is with us for the foreseeable future. So you need to know that you have a team that’s fit for purpose and be able to prove it. You don’t need everyone to be great at everything, but you do need to make sure that as a group they have the skills and competencies to deliver what you need them to, and that they can adapt and thrive in a change-heavy environment. And if the worst happens and you find yourself needing to make decisions around structure, you’ll be able to do so much better and quicker with the right data to hand.

4. Balancing generalists vs specialists in the team
The generalist vs specialist debate has been around in the comms space for many years. During times of change it’s been suggested that the optimal set-up is a team of generalists with consistent and high levels of knowledge and confidence, with known specialists who can be deployed as needed. Having data-driven insights to hand increases your chances of finding that sweet spot.

This is a lot – gathering, analysing and actioning data can be daunting, especially for comms leaders who already have a lot on their plates. You may not have the time to commit to getting the right things in place, or know where to start even if you did have the time. But it’s all do-able and as we’ve shown above, absolutely worth it.

Email hello@kademygroup.com or call +44 (0)207 157 9787 to talk about how Kademy’s competency and skills assessment and associated learning programmes could deliver these outcomes for you and your team.