Why is measurement a four letter word for internal communicators?
— October 10th, 2016
We are constantly being told that measurement is a must for your internal communications.
The message has been received – internal communicators think measurement is important. In the Newsweaver Inside IC Survey 2016, over 95% of respondents said it is important or very important to measure the impact of internal communications.
However, for most internal communicators measurement is a dirty word.
Measurement is such a broad term, that many of us don't know what we actually should be measuring, nevermind how to start measuring. 67% of respondents answered that it's difficult to measure internal communications. The survey results indicate the reason for this is because the IC function does not have the right tools, don’t know what to measure, and lack leadership support.
Dream Big, But Aim Low
A standout point from our recent webinar was that you have to start measuring at campaign level to begin to see an impact. We recently ran a webinar with industry thought leaders David Grossman, Angela Sinickas, Steve Crescenzo and Sam Marshall. As the panel discussed the interim results of the Inside IC 2016 survey, one point Angela mentioned really stood out for me.
Angela stated that organizations are just counting the amount of activity they are doing rather than looking at the actual impact of that activity. Angela, author of the manual How to Measure Your Communication Programs, is certainly in a position to give an expert view on measuring communications.
IC is trying to measure everything at once, If you try to measure too much too soon, you might as well be measuring nothing at all. If you start measuring at a campaign level, you will begin to see impact. Plus, campaign level measurement is far more insightful than stand alone metrics like open rates and click rates.
Campaigns will give you the power
Measuring campaigns is a great way to prove to senior leadership the impact of communication on employee behavior and opinion and the value of IC.
You might say that your company doesn’t run any internal communications campaigns, but you more than likely are and you don’t realise it. Something as simple as a schedule of CEO messages to all employees can be considered a campaign.
In the webinar, Steve Crescenzo spoke about how we should narrow the focus of our campaigns and choose a campaign that matters to the business leadership. By starting small, you can see the change in behaviors at a campaign level. As you gain experience measuring smaller campaigns, you can slowly build up to running and measuring larger campaigns. Trying to answer the question ‘is our communication affecting company culture?’ is almost impossible using unique pageviews and click rates but seeing a small change in behavior from a campaign can prove the value of IC.
Try not to get stuck in the engagement web
As the importance of internal communications continues to grow, we feel the pressure of the send. We become hawk like in watching the number of comments and likes, particularly if we don’t see the response that would have been expected. It is important to remember that just because an employee doesn’t comment or respond to your content, doesn’t mean that they haven’t engaged or changed their behavior as a result of reading and consuming the content.
An employee’s engagement level is based on almost all the elements as internal communicators, it is our job to provide the communications that aid this positive work environment, teaching each employee about the opportunities within for them to reach their potential. We all know that a happy employee is an engaged employee. Measurement should serve to support that aspiration, not impede it.
One final thought
A lack of tools was a common answer as to why communicators don’t measure. I did some research and found a number of interesting free tools, not to mention our own best practice guides and white papers.
A helpful guide that was mentioned in the webinar is the CIPR Inside Communication Measurement Matrix. This guide can aid you in your first steps to measurement and once read, you may in fact find that you knew more about measurement than you actually first thought.
That’s the thing, measurement has developed a rather negative image for one reason or another, but once you break it down and bring it back to the basics, it’s quite simple after all.