Can We Really Measure the ROI of Internal Communications?

The answer is an unequivocal yes – here’s how and why.

If the pandemic proved one thing, it’s that internal communications teams are critical to the success (or failure) of their organizations. 

Effective communication became more urgent and important than ever.  

The messages needed to be timely. They needed to be accurate. They needed to be engaging. And they needed to be targeted and personalized. Executive and employee feedback loops needed to be incorporated and messaging adjusted. 

And not to be overly dramatic, but every message mattered. It really did. 

Communications teams proved to be more than just a friendly, informative newsletter. They are the conduit of workplace culture, the creators and promoters of company narratives, and the educators of policy and business performance. 

The Value of Metrics

Full body of Paige tossing a paper airplane

Metrics serve as the backbone of any successful internal communications strategy. They enable teams to assess the impact, reach, and effectiveness of their initiatives, allowing for continuous improvement and alignment with organizational goals. In a rapidly changing work environment, metrics play an increasingly important role in internal communications for the following reasons:  

Data-Driven Decision Making: Metrics provide valuable data insights that allow internal communications teams to make informed decisions based on concrete evidence. By the right metrics, teams can gauge what’s working well and identify areas that need improvement, whether it’s communication channels, message delivery, or engagement strategies.  Measuring communication and audience data empowers teams to course-correct and optimize their efforts to better engage employees.  

Proving ROI and Demonstrating Value: Metrics for employee engagement, productivity, and wellness are vital for demonstrating the value and impact of internal communications initiatives to key stakeholders. By quantifying the outcomes and benefits of their work, internal communications teams can showcase how their efforts positively contribute to employee engagement, teamwork, productivity, and overall business success.  

Guiding Continuous Improvement: Measuring metrics allows internal communications teams to measure their progress over time and identify trends and patterns. By regularly reviewing and analyzing these metrics, teams can iterate and improve their strategies, ensuring that their efforts remain relevant, effective, and aligned with the evolving needs and expectations of employees. 

What Can Be Measured? 

The answer: almost anything, if not everything. 

For example, internal communications teams can find answers to these questions:  

  • How many interviews are really needed to hire a great candidate? How many interviews is too many? How many is too little? 
  • How many days of onboarding are needed to maximize productivity?  
  • What’s the optimal size of a team? How does the size of a team impact productivity? 
  • How do we motivate employees to take important action faster? What messages (or series thereof) drive actions?  
  • Which communications channels are the most effective in relation to action taken, and can that be broken down by audience? 
  • How does training impact performance? What’s the ideal number of training days per year? Does the training manager make an impact on performance? 
  • How does vacation time impact individual performance? Team performance? Company performance? 

Each one of these questions can be answered through data analysis. 

However, to answer these questions, you’ll need to set up a formal program to properly measure and analyze. That requires some significant data collection and analysis chops from your teams. 

There are some “simpler” metrics that can be used to measure the effectiveness of communications, such as: 

  • Open rates 
  • Click-through rates 
  • Customer and employee NPS scores 
  • Event attendance rate 
  • Application adoption and utilization (e.g., Office) 
  • Number of employee referral hires (brand advocacy) 
  • Employee satisfaction and/or engagement survey results 
  • Number of compliance violations 
  • User journeys (Which pages on the intranet are individuals viewing? How did they get there? What is their entrance path? What pages do they exit on?) 

Each one of these metrics can be segmented to provide even further analysis. 

Using your web or email analytics tools, such as Adobe Analytics or PoliteMail, you can filter your campaign statistics to determine employee engagement across departments, job titles, and office locations.  

Ultimately, the answers are typically not in the high-level metrics but are found by a deep-dive analysis of reporting segmentation.  

When it comes to a return on investment, you must measure dollars and will likely want to recruit the help of your finance team to gather numbers like: 

  • Staff turnover rate and cost  
  • Employee productivity (typically revenue per employee, per department, or location) 
  • Benefits program participation 
  • Error rates (e.g., production errors, customer-reported issues, returns, etc.) 

By having these measures, you can track changes in these values before and after a communications program to measure the net effect and ROI of the effort. 

How do your internal communications measure up?

How to Begin Measuring the ROI of Communications 

Find at least one person in your organization who loves data (or hire them). 

This step is the hardest and most crucial to the success of determining the ROI.  It requires a large amount of hiring, performance, productivity, etc. data; an all-star analytics team; and buy-in from employees. 

PoliteMail’s recommendation is to start small and hire one person responsible for data and “people analytics.” 

This team member would be responsible for setting benchmarks, running A/B testing, tracking data analytics, and presenting findings.   

There is no substitute for finding someone who truly loves (and cares) about data. So, when you’re ready to build the team, hire a data enthusiast first.  

Then, work backward from your performance goals. 

What does your organization want to achieve? What data metrics are most important for you? And how can the internal communications team impact those goals? 

Measuring the ROI of Internal Communications Isn’t Just Possible, It’s Desperately Needed 

The pandemic proved that internal communications teams are one of the most critical teams inside an organization. Harnessing the power of data-driven decision-making, internal communications teams can demonstrate the value of their initiative, drive continuous improvement, and align strategies with the evolving needs of the workforce. It’s time to bust the myth that communications can’t be measured and invest time into internal data and analytics tools that can help prove it. 

Now that you know communications can be measured, it’s time to invest in a tool that will give you the analytics to successfully benchmark and increase employee engagement. Click to read more about how PoliteMail provides internal communicators with the ability to create, send, and measure their most successful email broadcast campaigns. 

PoliteMail is compatible with your Microsoft infrastructure.

PoliteMail Compatible Microsoft Products

Home = Measure the ROI of Internal Communications