When I bought Appetite for Destruction in 1988, as a whippersnapper of 13, the impact was immediate.
The album blew my mind, it was as far removed from the pop records dominating the charts as Pluto is from Earth.
And now 30 years after I bought the album the impact will continue as Guns N’ Roses guide us through IC impact measurement!
Measuring impact is the holy grail of internal communicators; are we as communicators impacting our employees, are we moving the needle in terms of employee understanding, knowledge, attitude or even behavior around strategically important topics?
Let’s work through an example and show how you can define and capture IC impact, and full disclosure this will involve the use of some Poppulo products!
After all, Poppulo is the only software designed specifically for Internal Communicators and gives organizations the power to manage their employee comms and measure their impact, across multiple digital channels.
Why wouldn’t I mention that!?
A new CEO joins your organization and has a new strategy she wants to roll out.
She believes this new strategy will take the organization to the next level and beyond, with the old strategy becoming Yesterday’s news.
IC has been tasked with communicating the new strategy to the employees, making sure they all understand it, understand their place in it, and how they can contribute to executing their new strategy.
This is the number one strategic business objective for the organization, IC having to let this campaign live and let die other campaigns to focus on this.
This is also a huge opportunity for IC to elevate itself to a strategic level within the organization by executing well and showing their value!
But to achieve that, the reporting has to capture both outputs and outcomes. The following process, which we have been executing with our customers, shows how this can be achieved.
Step 1 – Campaign Success Definition
When communicators start looking seriously at IC measurement, it can feel like a Welcome to the Jungle moment.
Where to begin, which channels to focus on, what about our offline activities?
But let’s start having some Patience because the first step is to define what outcomes you want to engender.
The IC team as a group should define what they are looking to achieve from the campaign before one piece of content is prepared, or one town hall meeting set up.
Don’t Cry looking at the campaign success definition model, this does not have to be a long drawn out process, and in fact, should be timeboxed.
Let’s take these in order for our example:
- Objective – Communicate the new corporate strategy effectively and engagingly to the entire employee population
- Activities – We plan on a 3-month campaign, utilizing email comms, Intranet content, senior leader videos, face to face roadshows, digital signage, and town halls at our various locations with the CEO attending.
- Outcomes – Employees are aware of and understand the new corporate strategy, feel part of it, feel positive about it and understand how they can contribute to its success.
Important to notice here that don’t have a measurable goal for this campaign yet.
Step 2 – Where are our employees in relation to our strategy?
To capture impact we have to have a starting point from which to measure change. So we need to baseline our employees current level of understanding of and belief in the corporate strategy.
In Poppulo Analytics, our cross-channel IC measurements and insights tool, we use our Outcome Survey functionality to do this.
We use a simple pulse survey, sent to a random sample of employees, to see where our employees are in terms of their understanding of our strategy.
In this example, based on a real-world survey, 48% of employees are negative on this question, with a further 5% unwilling to get off the fence. So in reality, over 50% of employees feel estranged from the corporate strategy, while only 47% understand the long strategy and goals.
Step 3 – Define your campaign goal
Now that you know where your employees are currently at, we can set a SMART goal for the strategy campaign.
Specific – increase the number of employees who understand our long-term strategy and goals by 20%
Measurable – Yes
Achievable – We believe so
Results Focused – Yes
Time Bound – Aim is to achieve this goal over the course of a quarter.
Step 4 – Execute your campaign
The IC team executes, content is pushed out, town halls are held, videos are shared, the new CEO does Q&As on Yammer, line managers cascade messages, a company BBQ goes off very well despite the November Rain.
You monitor the campaign (via Poppulo Analytics in this case, obviously, I mean come on!) and tweak your campaign strategy based on the segmented results you are seeing, ensuring the campaign is as effective as possible.
Anecdotal feedback is good, everything appears positive. We feel like we are knockin’ on heavens door in terms of achieving our goal but we need data to open the door.
Step 5 – Capture the Impact of your campaign.
The quarter ends, and the current campaign, as constituted, ends. Our output metrics show us that we have reached over 85% of employees with our message. Our reach in Asia was only 60% though, so next quarter we’ll focus our efforts there.
But have we achieved our goal, have we impacted our employees to the degree we wanted? To check this, we re-run the same pulse survey against a different random sample of our employees and overlay the results.
The results are better than we expected. Our employees are telling us that the campaign has impacted them to the extent that 79% of employees now say they understand our long-term strategy and goals, up from 47%, an increase of 32%.
And 66% (up from 22%) see a link between what they do on a daily basis and what the company is trying to achieve at a strategic level.
Paradise city for communicators in terms of being able to report to the CEO and senior stakeholders, that not only have they reached 85% of employees, have a plan to reach the other 15%, but that there is a positive, significant, measurable impact that IC can point to in terms of their contribution to the organisation’s Number 1 strategic goal for the year.
So look, cutting out the shoehorned G N’ R song titles for a minute, capturing IC impact is achievable, and we are making this a reality for our customers by working with them on the process outlined above.
This has to be the goal for IC to help elevate the function to strategic partner level within organizations.