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CIPR Inside blog
Top tips: internal communication measurement
By CIPR Inside
October 22, 2015
Measurement can push communicators out of their comfort zones. After all, many of us train in creative, literary or social sciences. Our backgrounds in words, pictures and sentiments often mean that measurement, metrics and all that goes with it is not where we feel most comfortable or accomplished, and sometimes we need some help to know where to start.
In a world where we need to prove the value of the work we do whether that’s for our bosses, clients and ourselves, we need to understand and tackle measurement of internal communication. And on closer inspection, measurement really does not have to be that big or scary to make a difference and show the worth of our work.
In the build up to our #insidestory awards which call for measurements in terms of outcomes we interviewed
Dr Kevin Ruck
, PR Academy co-founder and measurement expert to get some advice to help us all measure our work more effectively.
Kevin presented on the topic at the #makinganimpact15 conference (13 October 2015).
Here are his slides from the day:
Kevin Ruck, PR Academy, Measurement. #makinganimpact15
When we measure what we do it helps to make connections between internal communication, engagement and organisational objectives. Kevin summarises these into four categories that make up an AVID framework for effective practice:
Connecting team work to corporate strategy. This is about helping employees to understand how their work aligns to corporate objectives. As a benchmark figure, between 55-65% of employees usually say that they understand their organisation’s strategy.
Most organisations understand that employees should have a voice, but their voices need to be listened to and this can be patchy. Satisfaction with being able to have your say is between 45 - 55% in most organisations. There are numerous touch points for having a voice, but it needs to work as an ongoing process across the organisation. Where people are happy to speak up, and when they are listened to this is strongly associated with employee engagement. Our role as internal communicators is to reassure leaders that it’s ok to ask, listen and talk to employees, and it’s also our role to analyse what is said to identify themes.
Authentic leadership communication makes employees feel emotionally connected and a part of the organisation. This means being human, acknowledging people, being spontaneous and approachable which makes employees feel more valued which in turn makes them more engaged. As communicators we must help our leaders be genuine in their interactions and provide the channels to help these kinds of interactions happen.
Oxfam’s example of ask me anything which Saskia shared at the conference was a good example of reconnecting leadership to the people of the organisation. Benchmark figures for identification are:
65% of employees share the values of their organisation
68% of employees say they are proud to tell people who they work for
Underpinning each of these elements is conversations. They are central to all that we do. We need to inform, listen, learn and adapt to our organisational environment.
Kevin’s ICQ10 sets out ten questions to ask that can be used to help us measure our effectiveness in employee engagement.
Top tips for better measurement
Avoid focussing on outputs such as page visits and look at the outcomes such as understanding and behaviour change.
Outcomes can be assessed through questionnaires. However, one of the biggest pitfalls are mistakes made in questionnaire design. You don’t need to spend a fortune on external consultancies to survey your people, as long as you give your questionnaire design some thorough thought and have a good idea of good questionnaire design.
Common questionnaire mistakes include:
Double barrelled questions – avoid asking two questions in one for example: ‘how happy are you with senior manager visibility and approachability? Split this into two questions.
Yes / No questions – avoid this style of question as its results are very limited and it doesn’t really tell you a lot – think more about using rating scales or other measures.
Demographic data – do you really need to know their age, gender and term of service? These questions are often included but don’t always add value to the metrics. Sometimes it can put respondents off giving honest answers as they may think that their anonymity will be compromised.
Not connecting surveys to the corporate or business objectives. It’s important to align your survey questions to the objectives so you can uncover the metrics to show any results.
Focussing on measuring channels. Providing stats on channels, their usage and value is helpful but by adding context you can glean more useful data – consider asking what information employees want and how satisfied they are with the information they receive, rather than satisfaction with the channel that is used.
There is a tendency to just do annual surveys in many organisations. One off surveys are useful, but to be truly helpful measurement should be real time. This can be difficult with time and resources but there are ways to make measurement work for you.
Use smaller more frequent pulse surveys. You can survey different samples of the organisation – it doesn’t need to be the same group or company-wide each time you survey. This will show you trends which are far more useful than an annual survey response report. You can track data against your activity and see what worked and what didn’t.
Use qualitative data more. Often we think that it won’t be of statistical value but there’s a lot of useful information that can be gathered from focus groups and/or interviews (in person or on the phone).
Use what you’ve already got to hand.
Employee engagement surveys invariably include questions pertaining to internal communication. Get that data and break it down across divisions and create your own internal comms index and use that to help you set future objectives. Use this to guide your pulse surveys or telephone interviews too.
Use the intranet and email data and create your own dashboard - track the numbers and watch how it trends over a period of time against your content activity.
Use the metrics to inform your activity plans and messaging. When something isn’t working change it.
Make friends with your tech teams to help you uncover more metrics that may already be available that you can utilise for your comms planning and reporting.
Every organisation is different, and what’s available to you will depend on your systems, teams and industry – there is no one size fits all solution.
AMEC has recently updated the Barcelona Principles of measurement. And while these have been created with an external focus, there’s a lot that translates to internal communications.
Have a look here.
You can also access the
CIPR Inside measurement matrix
which was created by a group of professionals including Kevin Ruck to help guide measurement in our profession.
If you have your own measurement experiences and principles that you’d like to share please get in touch
Featured image credit: Vadim Sherbakov, CCO on splashbase.co
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