Many organizations are so busy planning out their marketing and public relations communications, they neglect to apply the same principles to their internal communications.
If you’re not paying attention to how people are communicating across the company and integrating it on a strategic level, you’re missing an opportunity to align your organizational goals with the metrics and KPIs that can help you achieve them.
Strategic employee communications take into account the totality of your company’s actions, messages and images. They work together to cohesively build your employer brand and enhance your company culture. And their success is tied directly to how they’re measured.
In part one of this blog post to strategic employee communications, we’ll go over why the right metrics make a difference and how to effectively measure your employee communications.
In part two, you’ll learn the best practices to help you succeed in strategic employee communications.
Why Metrics Matter
Any sound business strategy is backed by copious amounts of data and analytics. How can you determine the success of your employee communications if they’re not being measured?
For starters, and it probably seems a bit simplistic, but it’s crucial to understand which of your communication channels are most effective. The messages you’re sending should be matched with the optimal vehicle to help them meet and engage their intended audience.
If one of your goals is to deliver lasting positive change within your organization, you need to start measuring whether or not the communication channels your company utilizes encourage and foster collaboration, employee engagement, productivity and innovation.
How to Measure Employee Communications
Like most operational processes, it’s smart to start with an audit of your existing channels. Which channels do you have? More importantly, which ones do people actually use?
Next, determine how effective those channels are. This will involve some goal setting on your part to nail down which metrics matter most to your organization (and the beauty is: you get to choose them).
From there, you’ll need to measure the success of your channels with your chosen metrics. These can include figures like employee retention, employee engagement or productivity rates, to name a few.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to measure your employee communications:
1. Take stock of your existing channels
As previously mentioned, start by auditing your current channels. Of the ones listed below (or any others you have), which ones are being used and how frequently (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.):
- Employee intranet
- Employee Microsite/Website
- Microsoft Teams
- Asana or Trello
- Company-wide newsletters
- Employee app
- Social media pages
- Document sharing software
- Internal podcasts
After you’ve taken stock of your existing channels, sit down and decide how effective they are. A few pointed questions can help you iron this out:
- Is the channel reaching every employee audience?
- Does the channel facilitate a varied flow of communication (two-way, group and company-wide)?
- Does the channel create a diverse forum for interaction, i.e.:
- Offering news and breaking information
- Featuring surveys and polls
- Promoting internal and external events
- Facilitating group conversations and opportunities for feedback
- Recognizing and celebrating employees
- Plugging blogs and other relevant communications
- Featuring videos (because employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than they are to read a document)
3. Measure your employee communication metrics
Now we’re getting to the heart of the matter. It’s time to measure specific metrics.
Most modern internal communication software has a dashboard or reports feature that can you help gather this data:
- Reach: The number of unique users that see your content
- Open/read rates: How many employees are opening and reading your communications
- Click rates: How many employees are clicking for more information
- Page visits and logins: How many employees are visiting certain pages or logging into intranet accounts
- Engagement rates: How many employees are commenting, liking and sharing your content
- Event and benefits sign-ups: Number of employees signing up for certain benefits, Open Enrollment, social or networking events, etc.
- Video views
- Peak times for staff intranet use: The most popular times for staff to engage with intranet content
- Employee turnover rates: The percentage of employees leaving the company within a certain period of time
- Adoption rates for new apps: The percentage of employees that sign up for a new feature or HR app
Quite possibly the most important metric to measure is employee feedback. Whether it’s through an employee survey or by soliciting their commentary on specific channels, it’s pivotal to facilitate two-way communication alongside top-down company updates.
4. Benchmark, test and refine
Nailing down the metrics themselves is more than half the battle. Once they’re set in place, it’s time to start tallying up those numbers and tracking the data. Whether you start with a simple spreadsheet or skip to a specialized analytics software, this is how you can begin to tangibly measure the success of your employee communications.
And as you continue to measure your results, you can test new channels, phase out the ones that aren’t working and tweak and improve your employee communications strategy over time.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to employee communications, it’s perfectly okay (and even normal) to be ambiguous about where your organization’s strengths and weaknesses lie.
With clearly defined metrics and KPIs in place, it’s immediately easier to collect the data that will help move your company forward. You’ll be able to fully pinpoint whether your wider goals are being met. And if they’re not, you can make data-driven decisions about how to ensure they are.
Employee communications are the foundation of a positive and inviting company culture. When they’re measured, tracked and tweaked effectively, they can improve everything from employee morale to group collaboration to productivity, employee retention and more.
If you’re still searching for insights on strategic employee communications, check out A Guide to Strategic Employee Communications: Part Two, coming soon.