How and why to measure internal communications
The importance of measuring the effectiveness of internal communications is constantly talked about, but too often, it’s over-looked. In fact, let’s be honest, the number of times a project starts with a set of objectives which are not then followed up on in long-term is more frequent than most of us would like to admit.
And, you’re not alone if you agree with this sentiment. Deloitte’s Human Capital 2018 Report showed that 85% of C-suite executives felt that data was essential in making people decisions and yet only 42% felt their organisations were ready and equipped to maximise data. This data is supported by findings from Juan Meng, Bruce K. Berger (Measuring ROI of internal communications, 2012) that suggests that while the importance of measurement is understood, most organisations fail to invest in the channels required.
And if it’s believed, we are not responding to data enough. Employees do not feel that communications are designed with them in mind. The recruitment resource OnRec reports that 52% of workers feel that internal communication does not genuinely involve employees.
BP set in place a disciplined approach to measurement on the inside by policing all employee surveys globally to ensure that the same questions were asked on a regular basis. They were then able to examine near-term data against long-term data drawn from annual surveys. Consistently, BP measure:
- communication effectiveness
- employee experience
These results are then fed back to the executive team for review and action. Getting the top team to debate and respond to data drives investment in internal communication from the top.
Look at sales data, productivity, attrition and track these over the course of given projects to understand how behaviour is shifting as a result of key campaigns. This means that you’ll need to set base benchmarks to track. Know where you are today and where you want to be.
As Sarah McPake of TSB says, “get into the habit of listening”. We worked with TSB to design listening exercises that helped them shape their employee engagement strategy. These exercises got HR and Communications out and talking with employees, and there’s not better exercise for putting quantitative data into context.
This should be the most fertile ground, with tools like Slack and MS Teams opening up opportunities for employers to both talk with employees and harvest data directly through polls and indirectly by monitoring the hot topics discussed by employees. Emerging tech like Qualtrics can now pick up on common discussions, and apps like Culture Amp can analyse large amounts of qualitative data in real time to let you know what people are thinking and feeling immediately.
There is nothing worse than yet another survey, so gamify it. People want to be entertained, so if you can find different ways to harvest data then do so. We have helped RBS and Southwest Airlines do just that. Southwest managed to harvest 25,000 responses to one gamified measurement exercise with zero internal marketing. That’s the power of entertainment.