Strong foundations equal effective measurement

Colourful tape measures

For the guest blog this month, I’m delighted to welcome back communication measurement expert, Adeeba Hussain. Following on from the previous blog where I talked about the importance of having a clear purpose for your communication, Adeeba shares best practice tips for measuring whether you have achieved what you set out to do.

We live in an age where people of all ages feel liberated to create and share content and, even faster still to share how many likes and followers they have.

I wonder if any of these content creators thinks about measuring as part of their planning phase of storytelling. Do they think about the impact of the content they are creating? Do they think about outcomes and not outputs alone? Do they think about SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timebound) objectives?

Organisations are the same as individuals. If they measure internal communications at all, the focus is most often on the clicks and open rates. I remember in my last blog for Sarah I talked about measuring internal communication to help create the ideal state; about the value-add for the end user which is colleagues/employees; and about how IC practitioners are time-poor to undertake measurement and evaluation. All as relevant today as it was when I wrote it.

Since then, I’ve learned a thing or two, and I’m going to share a few good practices which will move you from the current state of so-called vanity metrics to measure what matters.

Good practice in measurement

There are no hard rules about internal communication measurement. However, I will share what I consider the best practice to help you measure the why, what, how, where, and when.

Good practice would be to:

  • Make measurement part of the DNA of planning when you are creating the plan, to look back, to look at the present, and to look to the future. To help inform future insights and improve performance.
  • Listen to Stephen Covey and ‘begin with the end in mind’. Think about the impact you want from your content and work backward from there.
  • Set SMART objectives. According to the Barcelona Principles ‘setting measurable goals is a pre-requisite to comms planning measurement and evaluation’. A poor objective is increased awareness of safety as opposed to a measurable objective which is to decrease accidents at work from 20 per quarter to 5 per next quarter. We tend to confuse objectives, as I refer to it ‘the end’ (impact) with strategy (output). According to Don Bartholomew, there is an easier way to differentiate and remember the difference. Your objective is what you want to accomplish (impact). Strategy is how you intend to achieve the objective.
  • Connect your strategy, purpose, and objectives to the impact you want to see from the content you’ve shared with your employees and colleagues. This is your golden thread.
  • Take a holistic view, focus on measuring outcomes, impact, and outputs, and not jump to tactics alone.

Strong foundations

Remember to start off on the right foot by setting measurable objectives, so you can identify outputs, outcomes, and desired impact. These will form the basis of the story you need to tell.

A good story is the sum of its parts. A good effective story includes all the parts: strategy, SMART objectives, outcomes, outputs, and impact.

I’ll leave you with this…

If there is one key takeaway from this blog that stays with you I hope it is this. The purpose of measurement is to clearly see the golden thread connection between measurable objectives, strategy, and impact. Measure and evaluate to improve the experience – to help tell a better story, a more meaningful story.

Adeeba is passionate about measured meaningful communications that add value. As an independent communications practitioner and founder, she specialises in the measurement and evaluation of internal communications and helping organisations create a meaningful employee experience. Find out more at her profile on LinkedIn.

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