Assessing Aviation SMS Communication Tools

Within the Aviation Safety Management System, it is necessary to develop effective methods of both Top Down & Bottom-up Communication.

How to measure the current status of communication effectiveness?

Consider a Communication Audit!

A communication audit is a thorough evaluation of the organization’s ability to deliver information to every level with the organisation.

Essential the communication audit looks at both the internal mechanisms as well as the external communications for example

a) With Contract Organizations – Data Exchange Methods!

b) With Sub Contract Service Providers (Direct Oversight)

c) Delivering information to the Front Line

d) Dealing with the challenge of the Iceberg or Ignorance

The purpose of a Safety Management System communication audit is to uncover the strengths and weaknesses within the various stages of the SMS system

Moving Data (Information)

Both in distributing information and gathering data, both processes relying heavily on the transfer of information.

One of the most important elements within the organizations safety management system is the development and maintenance of trust processes.

Trust Process is required:

• To develop effective communication and support strategies within the organization

• To provide confidence throughout the system and also with the supporters and stakeholders of the Safety Management System.

The following elements will provide an insight into the current status of the communication processes within the organizations Safety Management System:

• Are you listening to employees and addressing their concerns? How does the Safety Management system communicate with employees is a system of safety reps available;

• By the same token, how does the SMS communicate with the junior (supervisory) and middle managers? how is this evidenced;

• Do all managers fully buy into and understand what they need to communicate Safety Management System initiatives and objectives to their staff and how to answer their questions about the organization’s initiatives;

• Do all employees understand the organization’s strategic safety system goals and objectives and the reasons behind them? How is this evidenced (signed job descriptions);

• How many ways are there within the organization to communicate safety information; and

• How is the success of the various communication processes measured?

A communication audit is a snapshot of an organization’s communication processes strategies, activities and programs in general.

Effectiveness Assessment

Moreover, it is an assessment of the effectiveness and success of the current communication channels vehicles, distribution process and media, including internal publications, You tube activity if any, web site (external), intranet (Internal), blogs, internal briefing and other departmental communication.

The audit uses a number of processes and techniques such as observations, analyses and evaluations, feedback or focus groups, interviews and surveys of employees and other key stakeholders and any other interested persons who may be able to add value to the understanding of the communication methodology.

Benefits of an effective Safety Management System Communication audit may initiate or trigger several of the following:

a) A review of existing communication policies;

b) A review of communication publications;

c) A review of other communication and information distribution processes; and

d) Provides for an indicating of the various strengths and weaknesses of each element.

Sofema Aviation Service and Sofema Online provide both classroom and online training covering all aspects of Aviation SMS please see the websites or email or