I have just completed a piece of work for one of my clients who asked me to evaluate the improvements they’ve made to their internal communications over the past year. They felt it had been a successful year but wanted some evidence beyond their gut feeling. I carried out interviews, looked at channel data and tested out what had happened as a result of the improvements made.
And that’s often the way with internal communications, isn’t it? You have a gut feeling about how it’s going, but the measurements to prove your case are notoriously difficult to grasp and pin down. Any IC professional worth their salt should be looking at how they can measure their work to demonstrate why it’s worth the investment.
What should you measure? Well, that depends on what you’re trying to achieve. As with most things, you need to know where you were trying to get to in the first place if you’re going to work out whether you’re there yet or not. My client was sensible enough to lay out a formal strategy for their internal communications, which gave me a yard-stick to measure against.
If you’re carrying out some measurement for yourself, here are some things you could look at:
1: Understanding of key messages – do your people know and understand the things they need to? Try to find out if they actually understand, not just if they think they do. There’s not much point asking ‘Did you understand x?’ They might think they did (but didn’t) or they might think they should say ‘yes’ when really they haven’t a clue! Test for meaning as well as awareness.
2: Engagement levels – here comes that jelly for you to nail to the wall! Just because it’s tricky doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a go. Work out what engagement means at your organisation – what would you like people to think, feel and do? Then look at whether they are thinking, feeling and doing those things. If they’re not, what are they thinking, feeling and doing and how does that relate?
3: Two-way communication – do your people feel they have a voice? Do they use it? Do you genuinely listen?
4: Channel usage – do people actually read the newsletter you spend hours a month creating? And do they find it useful? If not, why not? You can apply these questions to all the different communication methods you use.
All these areas and many more can give you really useful input to take your IC forward and deliver what your organisation really needs. And that’s the reason you should be measuring in the first place – to give you data and information that shows what you’re achieving and where you might develop and go next.
Until next time