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Use data and insights to prove the value of internal communications

Emma HanleyEmma Hanley·

Use data and insights to prove value, drive change and better outcomes in internal communications

Every department has a manager, most managers have a seat at the top table, internal communications is a department, so why are there so many internal communicators that do not have a seat at the top table? It’s simple, they do not have the data that proves the value of Internal Communication (IC) as a business function.

Today, companies are investing millions of dollars into research and innovation but many are ignoring their biggest asset, their employees. An engaged workforce enables, 2 times higher productivity, 3 times faster profit growth, 2 times lower employee turnover and 19.2% growth in operating income.*¹ Internal communicators know that when their employees are in-tune and aligned, they will perform better and yield greater return for the organization. But many, internal communicators fail to provide adequate data on how engaged their employees are. They often struggle to identify a clear strategy on how to measure employee engagement, some are quite unsure on where to begin, and many more do not realise that there are tools to help them.

According to the recent “Internal Communications: Emerging Trends and the Use of Technology” report Newsweaver produced with Melcrum, only 16% of internal communicators are satisfied with their ability to measure the effectiveness of their internal communications. Without effectively measuring, communicators are unable to get the necessary insights into what is and is not working for individual employee groups. When strategic business decisions are made, the IC function is not included in the process when they cannot offer valuable statistical insight. Once a defined process is put in place to effectively measure employee engagement across multiple digital channels, IC is equipped with the necessary data to give valuable input in decision-making meetings.

To achieve higher growth profits, IC needs to position itself in the heart of the organization. From here, IC powers communications, collates results, drives change and dramatically increases ROI. Newsweaver’s new Cross-Channel Analytics product enables you to measure your campaigns across multiple digital channels; email, intranet, video, ESN, and departments and business units, giving communicators the 3 dimensional view that is critical to setting their strategic objectives.

Tips to Effective Measurement

Here are a few quick tips for those who are unsatisfied with their ability to measure, and especially those in the 60% that do not measure their internal communications at all.*²
First communicators should conduct a channel audit to identify the key technologies (e.g. email, intranet, ESN, video) that need to be updated in order to provide real-time metrics and analytics.

Once the efficient technology is in place the communicator needs to set out the objectives. Ask the overarching questions: What is to be achieved? Why is the communication being sent? What behavior needs to be changed? Ensure that the answer to these questions, align with the organizations business strategy.
Next, the key performance indicators have to be selected. These will allow the communicator to accurately take an internal communication measurement, based on their goals.

Now to matter, a communicator has to measure. When measuring they should look at internal communications metrics from three different angles: ‘Granular’: This would be the opens and clicks (indicators) of e.g. an email campaign. One should drill down on the types of clicks, such as content and section popularity, downloads, and event registrations, etc. to gain the necessary insight. Second is ‘Organizational’; Use data to break out metrics by employee groups. This will allow the communicator to measure employee engagement across the organization. These fields could include departments, pay grade, offices, regions or countries. And thirdly, ‘Benchmarks and Trends’: It is most valuable for a communicator to create their own unique benchmarks and tie them to the goals. Review and compare these over, months, quarters and the financial year to get a truly accurate view of peaks and troughs in employee activity.

Having access to individual channel metrics is the first part of your journey. To understand your channel effectiveness you need the ability to measure globally by campaign across all your channels.

Taking this multichannel approach – using all your channels to communicate, and measuring across all your channels – will empower you to improve your communications going forward and show real business impact to stakeholders.

Upcoming event

This week Mossy O’ Mahony, chief product strategist is going to present at the Ragan Internal Communications Measurement Summit. Make sure you do not miss his presentation on Data-driven internal communications: Use data and insights to prove the value of internal communications, drive change and better outcomes. You will learn about the main barriers to more effective communications measurement and how to overcome those obstacles, the importance of good-quality data for better measurement and how to use measurement to quantify the real reach and impact of communications.
Read the Agenda here.

¹ UK Government Research: Engaging for Success: Enhancing performance through employee engagement by David Macleod and Nita Clarke
² Newsweaver & Melcrum: Internal Communications: Emerging Trends and the Use of Technology report


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