Effective communication in the workplace … Pipe dream mentioned in numerous vision and mission statements or something practical that can be achieved?
Well, that depends. Are you looking at the your internal communication metrics?
Historically speaking, internal communicators haven’t embraced the power of metrics and data. The State of the Sector 2020 report, found that less than 20% of communications professionals regularly tracked their impact.
Fast-forward a few months later, during the peak of COVID-19, and communicators across the globe are drowning in work having to inform, connect, and engage a scattered workforce. The severity of the situation and the difficulty of communicating to remote audiences requires a data-driven approach to know for sure messages are getting through, and how those messages land. You simply can’t gauge how people feel through a screen.
The traditional centralized office has been flipped on its head during the crisis and is set to change long after the pandemic is over. By incorporating metrics into your internal communications plan now, you are not just ensuring effective communications during the panic, but working towards a more productive and efficient future.
Metrics is the sixth of seven internal communication best practice principles in the IC Thrive methodology. We have a few ideas to keep in mind in finding to guide your journey into internal comms measurement …
A survey by the Institute of Internal Communications (IoIC) on the impact of COVID-19 on internal comms found that the crisis has positively impacted trust in communication and that leaders are reaching out to internal communication professionals for guidance.
Due to the unprecedented situation, communication within organizations has taken the spotlight. Employees need to know organizational updates and leaders are actively looking for ways to engage with employees to manage the situation.
Yes, there is more work than ever before for internal communicators (71% of respondents reported a significant workload increase in the survey) but now is also a time to think of the profession at large.
By getting into habits around measuring efforts and reporting on metrics, you will answer the short-term issue of knowing who has and hasn’t received important updates. In the long term, you will be able to answer the question of the return of investment in internal communication.
While you have the support from leadership and visibility within the organization, think of the bigger picture.
So, what exactly are metrics and how do you measure them? Great question. Metrics is a method of measurement to obtain results. By defining an objective, you can define a set of metrics that is channel-specific to supports your campaign.
If your goal is to inform employees with organizational updates via email, your metrics would likely be the average response rate, open rate, or read and confirmed actions.
If you’re looking to increase morale through a spirit week campaign that asks employees to send in photos each day, you would look at the daily submission numbers, as well as the number of comments and likes where they would be published.
Defining and setting metrics will allow you to measure the success of each campaign and therefore the difference between a job well done and having sent a series of messages into oblivion.
Depending on the channels you use to communicate, and your software tools, there are a number of different ways to get those key metrics.
The IoIC survey found the top ways to listen to employees’ views and concerns during the COVID-19 crisis through managers, internal social media, and surveys and polls. What makes these three tactics quite interesting is that it shows multiple touchpoints in getting feedback. And yes, face-to-face interaction (or in this case screen-to-screen) is part of your communication channels.
Putting together a comprehensive channel strategy will help as you will be able to link metrics to be reflective of each channel’s requirements and strengths.
Your channel strategy would also highlight any gaps. If the channels you rely on aren’t able to give you the numbers you’re looking for, then it’s time to expand your communication infrastructure. For example, with our internal communications software, Reach, administrators are able to see open rates, action rates, average response time, and the channel on which the end-user acted on.
If you don’t have the tools, why not test software that can do the hard work for you? Alternatively, use this internal communication metrics tool to get started.
Metrics are about obtaining numbers. You will have an overview of the success of campaigns and be able to gauge the performance of your channels and tactics. Data analysis takes this process to the next level.
What do these results mean? How do they influence your decisions going forward?
Data analysis is the big-picture-thinking to help you inform and shape your long-term strategy. You’ll get there, but let’s just focus on getting those internal communication metrics for now.