Internal communications play a key role in a company’s business success. By influencing key components of success, such as employee satisfaction, retention, engagement, and performance, internal communications have a direct impact on the bottom line. Furthermore, when employees are aligned with the business goals, customer success rates also improve, driving revenues up.
However, often communicators find it difficult to prove this business value to the management, lacking the quantitative and qualitative KPIs to do so. In fact, measuring the efficiency of internal communications is a struggle in most communication departments; over 60% of internal communicators do not measure internal communications at all and only 16% appear satisfied with their measurement protocols.
So, what KPIs and measurements can be put in place for internal communications? How can internal communicators prove their value and obtain more resources?
Level 1: Measure employee awareness
Employee awareness resulting from internal communication actions is the easiest to measure.
Measure your reach
Even if you do not have any fancy tools at your disposal, you can probably access some type of measure for your reach through your different communication channels. For example, how many employees do you reach by email? How many employees subscribed to the company blog? What about your website? What kind of analytics does your intranet provide? Once you assess all the possibilities, you can use such measures right now and try to increase that number with time.
Measure employees’ level of interest
The next step is to measure whether your audience is interested in your communications. Metrics such as the percentage of emails opened, the number of click-throughs, content consumption metrics or number of blog visits can be used.
Measure employee engagement
A certain percentage of employees will go beyond passive consumption and will demonstrate an active interest. This engagement can be measured using social marketing KPIs: likes, shares, and comments on your messages or blog posts. The number of employees following you or subscribing to your communication channels is another indicator of engagement. If your company has a social collaboration tool , the total number of connections between people and its evolution is a useful indicator of employee engagement. Even if they are not engaging with you, they are engaging with the company.
Most intranets and communication tools provide some of the digital metrics listed above. Alternatively, or as a complement, employee surveys can be used to measure awareness, interest, and engagement. Surveys remain the most widely used measurement tool for internal communications. They range from extensive annual surveys to small regular polls on a particular point. Depending on your survey questions, you will get quantitative and qualitative measures for employee awareness.
Level 2: Measure changes in behavior
If one of your communication goals is to change a particular behavior in employees or provoke one, you should measure the change. Typically, you would try to measure the situation before and after the campaign.
Digitally speaking, if you include a call to action in your campaigns, you will be able to measure the percentage of employees taking the action, such as subscribing to an event, clicking on a link, etc.
Level 3: Measure the business impact of internal communications
Of course, being able to measure the impact of internal communications on the business presents the most challenges.
Indeed, business KPIs typically belong to other stakeholders: sales, HR, marketing, finance, etc. Moreover, even though internal communications may significantly impact business indicators, other variables play an important role as well, and it is challenging to isolate the different impacts.
On the other hand, if internal communications influence a business KPI, you should try to measure this influence instead of leaving all the credit to the business functions.
First, find out how the company’s overall business goals translate into business KPIs. Assess which indicators are probably influenced by internal communications. Find out who owns those KPIs and how they are measured.
Map out the mechanism by which internal communications influence the business indicator in question as precisely as possible.
Try to quantify the impact of internal communications. In many cases, you will be able to do so only by making some assumptions. In other cases, you can take credit for only a portion of the evolution of the global indicator by providing sound qualitative proof of the impact.
Below are some examples of business indicators strongly influenced by internal communications. But the same logic can be used for any indicator.
Retention rate evolution
It is generally accepted that employee engagement increases the employee retention rate. Even though the retention rate is an indicator owned and measured by human resources, internal communications can claim a portion of the credit for any positive evolution (or a portion of the blame).
An employee survey targeted to ascertain employees’ sense of belonging can help in justifying the positive impact. Quantitative questions on the importance employees attach to this aspect over others when considering their job satisfaction can also be used to quantify the portion of the evolution of the retention rate due to communications.
As the cost of replacing an employee ranges at a minimum from 10 to 30% of their annual pay (other studies estimate it to be in the 50 to 150% range), a portion of the positive evolution of the retention rate can be translated into hard dollars for leadership reports.
Employee performance and productivity
Happy and engaged employees work better. However, the productivity of an employee is influenced by such a variety of factors that quantifying this impact appears especially daunting.
An easier approach lies in knowledge management. Indeed, knowledge workers spend a significant portion of their work time searching for information. If your initiatives allow for a better flow of information, you can estimate how much time and money are saved.
Let us say that you just changed the way customer success stories are stored and displayed on your intranet. Estimate the time it takes a salesperson to find a relevant case study before and after the change and translate that into time and money gains.
With a couple of well-chosen examples, you can then estimate and claim a percentage of the overall employee productivity gain and justify a budget for a new communications system.
Customer satisfaction and revenue evolution
Let us use the same example from another perspective. If a salesperson in your company can find relevant information more quickly, they will be more efficient in selling. If a customer service person finds helpful information internally, they can satisfy customer requests more quickly and with a higher quality of response. If employees at all levels in the organization, but in particular customer-facing people, understand the company’s global goals and messages, they will act according to those goals.
As in the previous example, the best way to claim credit for a portion of the growth of the company’s revenues is by finding precise examples where efficient communications helped customer-facing people do their jobs better.
An employee survey focused on employees’ understanding of the global message and awareness of the company strategy can help prove that as well.
Hopefully, the above will help you to measure and pilot your activity, but also justify new initiatives with your management. Do not hesitate to comment and let us know how you measure your internal communications
Let us know what you think and what are the methods you use to measure your internal communications’ effectiveness!