Are your messages making it out to your workforce? Do even your most remote members of staff know and understand your company vision? It’s impossible to tell without measuring whether your internal communications are working in the first place.
Why is this important?
Understanding which channels are most effective is a key element of internal communications. You need to make sure that your messages have the right vehicle to meet your needs.
If you want to deliver lasting positive change to your organisation, you need to know that your channels can create environments that encourage engagement, communication, and innovation across your entire workforce.
How do you measure the effectiveness of your internal communications?
Like many operational processes, you start with an audit of your existing channels. Determine what you have and what people use (these can be different things!) Then, determine the effectiveness of those channels in delivering messages and engaging your workforce.
Next, you need to measure the success of your internal communications channels. To do this, you need to set specific goals and determine which metrics matter most to you.
The 4 steps to performing an internal communications audit
1. Take inventory of your channels
Business communication channels broadly fall into two categories: operational communication and internal communication. Operational channels are the communications platforms your staff use as part of their day-to-day work, such as:
- Instant Messenger in Outlook
Internal communication channels are the ones your business uses to deliver top-level strategy, messaging and mission-critical information. This might include:
- Business newsletter
- Company app
As you can see, there is potential to have some crossover, especially with the use of email. This is why you should audit all your channels, not just internal communications.
2. Determine whether your channels are fit for purpose
Test the quality of your internal communications channels by asking yourself the following questions:
Do your channels reach everyone?
It sounds simple, but it’s always good to check whether everyone has access to your channels. Do team members who work remotely, or away from a computer, have the same opportunities to interact as others? Large organisations, such as local authorities, can often struggle to reach important off-site staff through traditional channels.
Do your channels facilitate two-way, group and enterprise-wide communication?
Successful internal communications channels provide two-way interaction. This is because, if you want your employees to engage with your messaging, you need to give them a means to do so. Sometimes, direct messaging isn’t enough. Effective channels provide a forum for interaction that might include:
- Group conversations
- Recognition and celebrations
3. Measure metrics
Data is becoming more and more accessible to internal communicators. This allows you to measure specific metrics. Common metrics for determining the effectiveness of your internal communications channels include:
- Open/read rates
- Engagement rates
Engagement rates can include responses or comments, but most importantly, engagement is best measured by looking at employee behaviours. While not a metric you can attach a numerical value to, you can easily use surveys, polls and employee pulse to find out how effective your company messaging has been.
When you survey staff, remember to focus on the three main drivers of employee performance: connecting to company goals, peer to peer commitment, and developing the right capabilities.
It’s important to get a blend of hard data and employee sentiment to get a clear picture of your internal communications channels. According to research from Gartner, 59% of organisations will use engagement data from sources other than formal surveys by the end of 2019.
“The increased use of real-time analytics and recommendation engines in both consumer and business technologies has raised concern that feedback gathered from traditional engagement surveys every two years (or even yearly) is not frequent enough to provide a complete and current perspective,”
Gartner Senior Director Analyst Helen Poitevin
An internal comms app is an invaluable tool for internal communication. It puts direct communications into the hands of every employee. It enables peer to peer co-operation, communication and collaboration at the swipe of a screen.
This makes it perfect for surveys, polls, and feedback. Survey requests are sent direct to each employee, in the same format, at the same time. As employees complete the survey, you receive feedback in real-time, enabling you to gauge opinion at a precise time.
4. Benchmark, test, and improve
Now that you have some data points, you can start benchmarking the effectiveness of your internal communications channels. From there, you can start testing new things and improving the delivery and engagement of your corporate messaging.
If your audit has revealed that one of your channels isn’t pulling its weight, consider shutting it down and reinvesting time, money and effort into the channels that work.
Start measuring the success of your internal communication channels
The best practice advice is to measure metrics whenever you can – even if they don’t belong to the Internal Communication function. For example, HR teams are perfectly placed to assess recruitment and retention rates, metrics that are impacted by internal communication’s activity.
The more data you can gather, the more effective you can make your internal communications. These valuable engagement channels should not be static elements of your business. To be agile, effective and productive as an organisation, your communications channels need to be too.
Without effective internal communication channels, making lasting change within your organisation becomes a serious challenge. Employee advocacy declines and innovation stagnates.
Today, this is more important than ever. With people on the move, remote workers, and disconnected employees, the hard-to-reach workforce has presented a new set of unique challenges. You need to make sure that your channels are up to the task.
If you'd like to find out more about tracking and evaluating the effectiveness of your internal communications, check out our handy guide.