Tag Archives: internal comms measurement

Measurement: taking the easy way out

It’s 2017 and internal comms still has a credibility problem – too often it’s marginalised in favour of ‘sexier’ comms; Public Relations, Marketing, Advertising…even Social Media.

To really prove IC’s worth, we need evidence to back it up. Hard, empirical data that proves IC’s impact.

For that, we need to turn to measurement.

Measuring comms is notoriously difficult, bordering on impossible. But it’s no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have.

The foundation to rock-solid measurement is to identify and agree your communication objectives. Without objectives, everything else is pointless.

The problem with objectives is that, too often, IC professionals fixate on outputs rather than outcomes.

What is an output?
An output is an easy-to-distinguish, tangible communication result — think email interactions, pageviews etc.

What is an outcome?
An outcome is something more subjective — think behavioural changes, corporate culture shifts etc.

It’s easy to see why IC professionals choose to focus on outputs, they’re inherently easier.

Think about how easy it is to share intranet statistics that show thousands of colleagues visited a certain page and stayed on it for a set amount of time – but does this really tell you if they absorbed the information?

Will they change their behaviour after reading the content? The real value of IC lies in its ability to perform ‘outcomes’.

So, how do you begin to measure ‘outcomes’? Well, once you’ve identified your communication objectives, you need to be able to turn outcomes into measurable data – either quantitative (numbers) or qualitative (words).

For example, your company has a new process that all staff need to use. You produce a printed leaflet, posters for public spaces, a company-wide email and an intranet story.

But how do we find out if employees have actually changed their behaviour as a result of the comms activity?

Let’s split it into quantitative measures:
? How many copies of the printed material were picked up?
? How many people opened the company-wide email?
? What were the statistics for the intranet story for the duration of the campaign?
? Line managers to supply numbers of staff adhering to new process.

And now qualitative measures:
? Ask a focus group of colleagues how effective the comms were for them. Did they pick up a leaflet? See a poster? Read the email, or intranet story?
? Ask the focus group if they understood the message of the comms. Was it clear?
? Ask the focus group if they have now started using the new process. If they have, what were the contributing factors?

It’s only by taking the results of all of the above together that we can start to paint a detailed picture of the ‘outcome’ – did employees change their behaviour? And why did they (or didn’t they) change their behaviour?

The beauty of this approach for IC professionals is that it not only proves your impact on the business, but helps you implement better comms campaigns in the future. Win/win.

There’s more to measurement than you think

Over the years, IC professionals have wracked their brains to find the most effective and beneficial means of carrying out measurement on their IC channels.

Tracking the impact of internal comms on employee engagement continues to elude even the brightest minds.

Now KPMG is leading the way with its Employee Engagement Plus Index, a new online diagnostic tool that looks at engagement in relation to proven drivers.

Tracking engagement as a single entity often provides results that are difficult to act on.

Without understanding what other elements are impacting engagement within a company, we will struggle to understand and put into action measurement results.

We know that engaged employees are more committed to their organisation and are more likely to go the extra mile. With new, improved measurement tactics the bewilderment that tends to surround measurement can be replaced with solutions that benefit both employees and employers.

Following on from our article last month that discussed how half of firms are failing to monitor intranet engagement, KPMG has provided an interesting case study in using measurement in a way that produces useful results.

This employee engagement survey is based on the understanding that a company’s greatest asset is its people, making employees central to an organisation’s performance.

Instead of looking at engagement alone, KPMG’s employee engagement survey looks at it in unison with the factors that are proven to boost it.

These include leadership, communication and work commitment.

By understanding what is increasing or inhibiting engagement, a business can use the survey results to make targeted actions that will achieve long-term improvements, including a positive working environment and improved bottom-line results.

Malcolm Pace Debono, Director for People and Change in KPMG in Malta, has expressed how it is critical for organisations to develop an engaged workforce.

The introduction of this employee engagement survey is definitely a step in the right direction.

So how do we use this to benefit our own measurement?

When analysing the engagement of our own channels, it is important to discuss not only the channels in isolation, but as part of a group of factors.

If your employees are your greatest asset, then you will want to ensure they feel they are being heard, they know their future with you is important, and that you want their working environment to aid their job.

By understanding more about how your employees engage with your organisation as a whole, you can begin to understand the part your IC channels play in each contributing factor.

Half of firms ‘failing to monitor intranet engagement’

Measurement is big business in today’s internal communications industry.

And rightly so.

As modern day internal communicators, we have the tools to monitor the effectiveness of messaging, channels, tools and techniques.

Comms veteran Sean Williams pointed this out in a hugely popular blog post: “We need to make decisions based on facts and data, not conjecture and conventional wisdom. That takes research.”

Such an approach makes perfect sense.

In fact IC experts across the board seem eager to put more emphasis on strategy in employee communications.

With this in mind, the latest research emerging on intranet measurement is somewhat alarming.

The report, commissioned by the Intra.NET Reloaded London 2017 event, saw more than 200 organisations quizzed over intranet habits.

More than 80 per cent of respondents confirmed they use analytics to track user habits.

However less than half (38 per cent) actually report the findings on a monthly basis.

The remaining 62 per cent did it less frequently – with one in ten NEVER reporting any findings to senior leadership.

Other key findings include:

• 65 per cent of respondents established an intranet before 2010.

• SharePoint was the most popular platform – with almost half (48 per cent) opting for the Microsoft tool.

• Responsibility for the intranet launch sat firmly with IC professionals (39 per cent) followed by IT (29 per cent) and Marketing Comms (16 per cent).

• More than half (59 per cent) have a dedicated marketing budget specifically for the organisation’s intranet.

To read the full report, click here….