With the recent shift to remote working, Internal Communication has become more important than ever. But how successful are we at actually measuring it?
Even now that a majority of businesses are working digitally, we are still limited with the same methodologies and tools used for internal communication within a face-to-face environment. According to data from Gallagher, fewer than ¼ of internal communicators are actually measuring behavioural and business outcomes.
This leaves many of us asking one very simple question; How do we know which internal communication initiatives are actually working?
Why Do You Need to Measure Success?
Before executing any internal communication campaign, you already need to have in mind what metrics you are looking for and what you could compare them to. Just as digital marketers would do - for example ‘How does this LinkedIn campaign compare with the Facebook campaign we did last quarter?’. This research-based approach to internal communication has 3 key benefits:
1. You can understand what works, and optimise your strategy accordingly
2. You can use data to create relevance for your target audience by personalising content
3. Prove your value as a key driver of change within your organisation
Once you have your data, you can be more critical about how you approach internal communication going forward. Embrace your role as a key driver of business value and keep optimising.
How to Measure Success
1. Define Your Goals Up-front
Communication strategy, like any other type of strategy, is about making choices. As an internal communicator, you need to know what objective you are trying to achieve before you can know what choices to make. Take a software implementation for example; say your company is changing to a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. You have been given the responsibility to communicate this software implementation - but what are you actually aiming to achieve? Do you just want people to see your email? Or do you actually want them to start using the new CRM and all those fancy features?
If you just send the email, you could save some time up-front. But if you measure the uptake rate of your new CRM system, you could see if (and how) your communication impacts the desired outcome. In the long run, the latter is always the better option for your organisation.
Just as a marketer would attribute their campaign to incoming leads and revenue, you as an internal communicator need to start thinking about how you can attribute your content to business outcomes. Take a look at our measurement map below to get an idea of how we structure metrics at each stage of the conversion funnel.
2. Gather Audience Insights
As an internal communicator, audience insights are your best friend. You need to start asking critical questions - such as ‘what do they already know about this software implementation?’ and ‘What motivates them to do a good job?’. For instance, if your target audience is the sales and marketing department(s) you probably don’t need to explain why it’s important to use a CRM system. However, it might be very useful to explain why the new software implementation is better than the previous one. Your audience insights will form the basis of your entire approach from here onwards.
If you are able to measure where your audience is now, you can compare where they are after you distribute your content and quantify the impact.
Getting audience insights isn’t always easy. Especially if your audience is busy with their own work. But there are few things you can do to get started quickly:
- Take a look at recent employee engagement surveys
- Use pulse surveys or quizzes to create a benchmark score of audience understanding
- (The best option) take some time to interview a few of your colleagues personally.
Once you have all the valuable information about your audience, try to create a summary of all this information in an audience profile as seen below.
3. Set Up Your Measurement Infrastructure
The way you approach this step will vary depending on your measurement needs and which tools are available within your organisation. You will need to keep in mind the metrics you defined earlier using the measurement map and think about how you can get that data. A quick internal communications tip for our readers - here are some of our favourite measurement tools!
The flexibility of Google Analytics enables you to track traffic on your site and understand which campaigns are most effective through source tracking and event tracking. Don’t forget to set up your campaign URLs with Google URL builder so you can view your most successful channels!
ContactMonkey is an email extension that works within Outlook and Gmail. It is a quick and simple way to get open and click data on your emails without having to switch your preferred email tool.
4. Evaluate and Optimise
Once you’ve distributed all your content and collected data from your chosen platforms. It’s time to get some insights. The best approach to take here depends on what tools you chose to utilise and your measurement map metrics. The key is to make sure that you are able to understand the difference between where your audience was before and where they are now.
Think about the following questions: Was your prediction correct? If not, what can the data tell you about where it went wrong? The more data you collect at each stage of the user journey, the better you can pinpoint problems.
Take this audience summary as an example; It can be used to compare impact pre and post-campaign with a survey. You can see that users who came from the Intranet converted (signed up for the training) at a much lower rate than Email or Newsletter. So now you know what happened, you can start investigating why. For this type of question you would want to look for more qualitative insights - for example discussing with employees about how they use these channels differently or a pulse survey to get some quick feedback.
Ready to start measuring? Measuring can help you as an internal communicator continuously improve each and every time you share a message with your colleagues. You’ll be seen as a key driver of value by management and will be able to deliver better, personalised messages to improve employee engagement.
Get started with our free Measurement Plan Template!
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