In our last post, How to Measure Internal Communications: People, Technology, and Process, we provided guidance to help you align your team and leadership with your vision and methodology to measure the effectiveness of your communications. Now, it’s time to assess what you’ve measured to find valuable insights and create actionable plans that take you closer to the business and communications outcomes you’ve set out to achieve.
How to think like a data scientist
In today’s world, your team is at a disadvantage if they are not data savvy. You don’t need to become a statistician, but you do need to have the mindset to run a data-driven communications practice. This is where internal communications as a team sport comes into play.
Someone on your team needs to own your measurement strategy – the tactical measurement of your communications, analysis, and reporting. Then, you and your leadership will be able to understand critical insights, drive alignment, and create action plans.
Here are five steps to kickstart your internal communications measurement strategy:
- Highlight problems that need to be solved, such as understanding employee preferences, learning styles, and needs. What content do they value versus what you need to communicate with them?
- Look at the channels and vehicles you are using for communications. What tools do you need to measure, and which team members will you assign these tasks to?
- Establish a methodology and workflow for performing a continuous analysis. In our last installment, we outlined a general workflow to evaluate and analyze your data in a reproducible method.
- Align your findings with your team and stakeholders, incorporate their feedback, and define the key actions that can be taken from the insights.
- Review and revise the process to form an infrastructure that ensures a level of data integrity, analysis, and a constant flow of insights and action plans.
Three ways to embrace analytics
As you begin your internal communications measurement process, consider how you will use data and analytics to inform your internal communications strategy. The following are three easy ways you can get start measuring your workforce communications.
Look at both qualitative and quantitative data
Focus groups, free-form surveys, and interviews are considered qualitative data, and offer valuable insights into your employees’ preferences and motivations. However, what someone says on a survey doesn’t necessarily match their actions. This is where quantitative data, such as regular engagement or clicks, is useful.
For example, some employees might say that they prefer written company updates from management, but engagement statistics show that videos get over 60% higher engagement than a post. If you look at both datasets, you can conclude that the people who don’t love video communications are likely to answer that way in a survey. But that doesn’t mean you should stop doing video. In fact, the opposite is true. This is how qualitative and quantitative data complement each other, and help you see the complete picture of how your communications are performing.
What is cohort analysis?
It provides insight into a particular audience segment and their behavior. Cohorts share common characteristics within a defined time span. For example, you could look at active users of your branded mobile app. Cohort 1 would be new users who recently registered and downloaded the app, and Cohort 2 would be active users who have been using the app for the last 90 days.
Determine the question you want to answer. For example, “How do I improve retention?” Identify a specific action such as how often these two cohort’s employees return to the app over the course of two weeks. Then, you compare each cohort’s behavior and status (for example, do they follow channels?) within that time frame. When you do this, you’ll see differences between each group at different points in time within your programs. Then you’ll know how better to serve all types of users and how to take action from the insights.
Benchmark your results
Benchmarking is used to evaluate performance by comparing to a standard set of measurement metrics. Internal communications has not typically had its own set of benchmarks, but SocialChorus is leading the charge in this domain. Our benchmarks are based on looking at a full set of program data from all our customers weekly and monthly. While every program is different, some metrics such as retention rates or video engagement are fairly consistent,
First, you need to decide what you want to benchmark. What are your goals? For example, if you’re focused on increasing employee engagement with your branded mobile app, you would benchmark retention over time, such as 30 days, 90 days, and more. Then you would look at how your retention rates compare to other programs like yours. How do your click-through rates on content and monthly active users (MAUs) compare?
By setting a control of how your communications performance, you can then measure future content against this benchmark. Over time, you’ll better understand your audience and establish precedence for your organization to measure your internal communications and prove your team’s value to overall business goals.
How can measurement improve the employee experience?
One way to think of data and analytics is as a continuous stream of insights or a feedback loop. You benchmark your activities as a baseline according to your goals and then measure over time—weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc. Soon enough you’ll be able to make real-time modifications to your strategies and tactics based on knowing what employees and leaders respond best to.
The concept of measurement is scary for many communicators, but your employees, leaders, and organizations need you to make this transformation. The rest of your company most likely operates this way. This is your opportunity to step up and claim that seat at the table you deserve.
You can use all the insights and key learnings about your workforce in two distinct ways: One, knowing what motivates and engages employees will help you gauge whether you’re improving employees’ work lives and helping them to feel more supported and informed. Two, you will be able to measure organizational alignment. You can measure whether employees are responding to leadership mandates and understand their business purpose.
As you work toward improving employee experience and driving organizational alignment, you’ll recognize what workers need to thrive. When you put your data to work, you can personalize your communications and deliver the relevancy employees seek:
- What content and information do they care about?
- What information do they need to know from the company or their managers?
- What is their preferred communications channel or vehicle?
- Does the day or week, time of day, or frequency of when sent matter?
One-size fits all communications doesn’t work anymore. Employees want and expect targeted, relevant content and information coming from internal communicators. When you take steps to measure the value of comms, your entire company will benefit.