You’re going to have to start measuring your internal communications.
I know, I know.
It’s overwhelming. You’re a words person, not a numbers person. You’re too busy.
Well, very soon, you’re not going to have much of a choice.
Organizations have been aware of the benefits of making data-based decisions in areas like marketing for years. And now, as new software and technology becomes available, we can expect virtually all organizations to start using data to make better decisions about how they communicate.
Not only will learning to measure your internal communications help you and your organization make better decisions about employee engagement initiatives, policy, and internal communications, it will also arm you with handy skills that you will be able to take with you for the rest of your working life.
Think of measurement as your magic wand.
It will help you prove your success, help you get pull in decisions being made about communications, and help you get that coveted ‘strategic advisor’ role with leadership.
But like most things we ought to do, it’s always hard to get started.
During our Back 2 School Webinar on August 22nd, we asked some of our favorite communicators and consultants for their advice on how to get started with internal communications measurement.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. To be great at internal comms measurement, you have to start
It sounds so simple doesn’t it?
You don’t need fancy calculations or a team of data analysts. You can start with something as simple as finding out how many people opened an email, or how many people are visiting your intranet pages.
Find something you can measure, and measure it.
Kristen Basu, the Associate Director of Communications at NCAA believes that trying, and building your knowledge is the first step:
“You have to start somewhere, right?
And again, you're doing a great thing right now by being on this wonderful webinar, right? So start with those basic measurements and then keep adding to your toolbox.
You're learning and you're growing by building that knowledge.”
2. Follow your intuition
You are in a unique position to be the hub for all sorts of information. You also have connections all over the organization.
Connect the dots.
There’s no doubt you have some intuitions about what’s working and what’s not, so try collecting some data to see if you can find out the truth.
Jen Hall, the Internal Communication Manager at Novant Health, told us about how she started measuring her internal comms to prove her intuition:
“We had one out of maybe 12 executives who was a big naysayer about a lot of what we did, saying, 'No one read it. No one saw it.'
And it was just how that person felt. We thought it wasn't really fair because that person was tied to a computer all day and most of our workforce was actually on the floor helping patients all day.
So he wasn't a really good representative of what our work was doing and how it was impacting people. So we asked ourselves, how can we figure out who is actually opening this stuff and clicking links to get more info?
We knew what we were doing was good. And we just couldn't let this one person who was shouting louder than the rest discount everything that we were doing.”
3. Start with what you do
Eventually, you need to get to the point where you are measuring both your internal comms activities and the impact of those activities. All of our guests agreed that measuring both were crucial.
But to start, it is easiest to measure what you’re doing. This could be emails you’re sending out or things you’re posting to the intranets.
Sean Williams, a member of the Public Relations’ Commission on Measurement and Evaluation and the Vice President and Practice Lead of Education and Internal Communications at True Digital Communications, breaks it down for us:
“You’ve got outputs, outtakes, outcomes, and organizational impact.
Start with the stuff you do and just measure the extent to which you’re doing the things that you know you outta do. Those are your outputs.
Then we can look at the immediate impact of that. What happened as a result?
Say we posted to the intranet or we started a Slack discussion. What happened? Did people seek more information? We can find out what people are looking for and then deliver more content that addresses that. Those are your outtakes.
All right, so they downloaded your information and they got it. Are we seeing some sort of impact in terms of communications? This is your outcome.
And then finally, is that having any impact on the operations of the business, on return on investment or value in general?
That's the chain that connects what we do to what investors, leadership, and the c-suite cares about.
And the more that we can create that relationship among those four levels, the better off we'll be and the more that we will not only win the seat at the table, we'll wind up at the head of the table. It's really, really important to our future.”
Bottom line: You can do it. Start small and build your knowledge.
Why not start building that knowledge by watching our latest influencer panel webinar: Back 2 School: Measuring Your Internal Comms?
It’s jam-packed with awesome insights all about how to start measuring your internal communications.
So get some insight and actionable advice, and get started!