Internal communication can be one of the most important drivers of a company's success and resilience. When done right, it keeps your people informed, but also involved, valued and engaged, which leads directly to a better overall performance. But how do you know if it's 'done right'? Well, that's impossible to tell without properly measuring it.
A Gallagher survey of internal communication professionals revealed a worrying statistic; two-thirds don't measure the impact of their internal messaging on a regular basis. And on top of that, the majority of leaders never ask for internal communication metrics. That's very surprising when you consider that tracking performances is a core element of any business strategy. Compare it with a Sales department unable to tell you their sales revenue or a Marketing department that doesn't report on the leads they've generated. Remarkable but true: when it comes to internal communications, the majority of us is still sailing blind.
WHY ARE INTERNAL COMMUNICATION METRICS IMPORTANT?
Do your messages reach your entire workforce, even your most remote colleagues? And if they do, how are your messages perceived? What's the overall sentiment of your employees, is there an imbalance between your office workers and your blue-collars? Or between two specific departments or locations? Does everyone within the organization knows and understands your company's vision, values and goals? It goes without saying that the answers to these questions are extremely valuable if you want to grow, improve and deliver a lasting positive change to your organization.
WHY IS IT SO CHALLENGING TO MEASURE?
- Internal communication statistics are usually spread over different departments, channels and platforms
- KPI's for internal communication do not directly correspond with company results, so it's not always clear what to measure and report
- Misconceptions about internal communication make it difficult to understand what it actually means or what it 'can' mean for an organization
5 STEPS TO START MEASURING INTERNAL COMMUNICATION
- Take inventory of your channels
Which channels do you use for employee communication? Usually, they can be divided into two categories: operational communication and company communication.
Operational communication channels are used as part of the day-to-day work, such as Email, Slack, MS Teams, messaging/chat platforms or bulletin boards, but also include face-to-face forums such as team meetings, safety updates or unofficial coffee-talks.
Company communication channels are used to deliver company-wide, strategic and mission-critical information. These might include your intranet, Email, internal newsletters, townhall meetings, etc..
- Determine whether your channels are fit for purpose
Audit if everybody has access to your channels. With the rise of remote working, it has become even more vital to ensure that all employees have the same opportunities to interact. The same goes for your blue-collar workers; do they have the same access to the information your office employees enjoy? If not, determine the gaps for each individual channel.
Examine whether your channels facilitate two-way interaction. It's one of the key internal communication best practices and of the utmost important to drive employee engagement. It's also highly necessary if you want to measure the success of your internal messaging. Effective two-way channels provide a forum for interaction that might include ratings, polls, 'likes', group conversations, colleague recognitions, etc..
Digital channels usually come out best in this excercise, as they can be consulted time- and location independent and facilitate two-way interaction. They also enable data capturing, making it possible to measure and report hard numbers.
- Maximize your reach
Maybe the biggest challenge of all: make sure you can reach each and every employee, anywhere, anytime. If you can't reach everyone your internal messaging will never be successful.
For office employees this usually isn't a major challenge, as most of them have continuous access to your information sources. But the tricky part is to make sure that also blue-collars have the ability to read or view your messages when they want and where they want. This is also critical in case of emergency.
- Measure your internal communication metrics
After optimizing your channels and maximizing their reach, it's time to start collecting metrics. Common metrics to determine the effectiveness of your internal communication include overall reach, read rates and engagement rates.
Engagement rates can include interactions such as 'likes', 'cheers', responses or comments, but are best measured by looking at employee behaviour and sentiment. You can use polls and surveys to collect feedback and find out how employee behaviour and sentiment evolve over time.
It's important to gather a blend of hard data (reach & read rates) and employee sentiment (via polls & surveys) to create a clear picture of how your internal messaging is performing.
- Benchmark, test and improve
Once you have your channels and metrics in place, you can start benchmarking the effectiveness. From there, you can start testing new things and improve the delivery and engagement of your corporate messaging. Only by testing, trying and analyzing, you can structurally improve your internal communication.
Don't be afraid to acknowledge poor performance. If your metrics reveal that one of your channels isn't pulling its weight, consider shutting it down and reinvesting time, money and effort into the channels that do work.
The best advice we can give, is to collect data wherever and whenever you can. Involve other departments as well, such as IT or HR, to maximize data gathering. For example, HR teams are perfectly placed to assess retention and turnover rates, metrics that can be heavily impacted by internal communication's activity. IT might help you set-up data tracking methods. The more data you gather, the more insights you have.
Rather than setting-up internal communication channels individually, consider an all-in-one internal communication platform like Meet Roger. It offers all the above in one simple solution, enables communicators to reach and target all employees from one centralized location and provides a data dashboard with clear insights into employee sentiment, engagement and other metrics 😉
Want to know more? Let us show you how it works with a live demo of our platform