By Lucas Scheer, President of Products and Innovation
It might not surprise you to learn that less than 50% of internal communications teams are successfully measuring the effectiveness of their work. Perhaps the communications team is understaffed or underfunded, unsure of what they should be measuring, or lack the systems to track and access this data.
Seasoned communication professionals understands the value of measurement, for without this data it becomes very difficult to realize the benefits of productive programs.
Here’s a quick review of some of the ways data-driven internal communication can benefit an organization:
- Effective, data-driven communication is directly linked to the efficiency and financial outcomes of the business
- Feeling uninformed and disconnected is the #2 reason for employee turnover, second only to a poor relationship with your boss
- Less than 30% of employees are actively engaged. Disengaged employees are less efficient and have higher incidence of record-able injuries.
With effective, data-driven internal communication having such a drastic impact on company performance, it becomes imperative to understand how effective your communication programs truly are.
Introducing standards for internal communication
In a recent paper titled, “A Delphi Study to Identify Standards for Internal Communication,” the authors summarize standards for internal communications measurement. The first three categories of measurement are titled: Outputs, Outtakes, and Outcomes.
What internal communications activities and products are being produced by the organization? Outputs are measured as counts such as number of intranet stories posted, posts shared on internal social platforms, emails sent, and readability of content.
What is the direct outcome of the communication? Outtakes are often measured as the direct activities employees take as a result of the communication outputs. These can be page views, social reactions, comments, or sharing. More advanced outtakes measurement includes sentiment analysis of user comments and topic awareness metrics.
What evidence is there of change in employee’s attitudes, opinions, or actions? If no other source of this data is available, surveys can be an effective measurement tool for communications outcomes.
How you can implement these standards
Without the tools to easily manage the effective measurement of your internal communication programs, the time to collect and analyze data can become too much for a communications team with limited resources.
Modern internal communication platforms are beginning to come with advanced analytics tools right out of the box. These tools can eliminate the effort required to collect and analyze data consistent with the standards described above. For example, when selecting your communications tools, ensure you’re provided with automatic dashboards that include:
- Feedback for communications staff on reading level, article length, and other factors while creating content to ensure it is appropriate for the audience
- Automatic read metrics and analysis including how much of an article users typically read, and when users are most likely to read published content
- Topic awareness analytics
- Content and comment sentiment analysis for articles and topics in aggregate
- The ability to understand which communication channels users are consuming
If you’re interested in learning more about the research referenced in this article, I recommend checking out our webinar featuring Sean Williams, Vice President at True Digital Communications and co-author of “A Delphi Study to Identify Standards for Internal Communication”. You can find a recorded version of the webinar here.