What you should be measuring to effectively tell your story

Measurement isn’t worth anything if you’re doing it for it’s own sake. It must tie into your organization’s overarching goals.

As Rachel Miller puts it in an article on All Things IC:

Too often I see communications teams working in complete isolation from the rest of the business. When I ask how their activities support the organizational objectives and what impact it has, answers are less than forthcoming. You don’t have to work in this way.

Everything you do as a communication team or practitioner needs to be directly linked to what the organization is trying to achieve.

Here are three common goals executives want to see from internal communications, and the metrics—beyond the typical metrics such as open rate, read time and checking devices used for access—communicators can keep tabs on to specifically monitor whether those goals are being met.

1. Increasing benefits enrollment.

According to a report from People Strategy, persuading employees to enroll themselves in benefit programs can lead to cost savings, save time for HR representatives and increase employee engagement. So there are clear benefits to persuading employees to do it. Often, communications encouraging employees to sign up for benefits come in the form of emails extolling the value to employees of the particular benefit or benefits.

At the start of an email campaign, measure the current level of employee enrollment, the compare it against employee participation as the campaign goes on. Keep tabs on the number of messages it takes to engender substantial behavior change. Also measure whether employees are engaging with the messages.

A few more questions to answer through measurement: Are employees asking human resources more questions about particular benefits or programs? Is interest spiking, even if enrollment hasn’t increased yet? Is traffic up on your wiki or information page about a particular benefit, and are your emails driving employees there?

2. Strategic alignment.

Recent research in the International Journal of Production Economics found that “operations’ strategic alignment to the firm’s objectives is the single most key contributor to firm performance.” In brief, when employees know the key messages of the organization they work for, the entire organization performs better, full stop.

Repeated communication of those key messages, from executives in all areas and at all levels, is the path to ensuring everyone is aligned with the overarching strategy. But how do you know if the messages are getting through?

One sure sign is click-throughs. Are employees clicking on the links in the emails and other communications explaining the organizational strategy? If they are, then they’re invested in the message and want to know more.

Also, can your employees demonstrate their familiarity with the key messages? Surveys, polls, and participation in forums or other forms of two-way communication about the strategy are all indicators that they know the messages and want to offer their own input into how strategic goals can be met.

3. Heightening engagement.

Communicators all know engagement is linked to employee productivity, but how do you really keep tabs on it? It takes not just the basic, day-to-day measurement, but also measuring outcomes, such as whether employees participate more in organizational activities—which likely fall out of the scope of their basic job description—more this year than the year before.

Another area to keep tabs on is whether employees are more willing to share their stories. If they are, it creates what you might call a cycle of engagement. Hearing stories about how other employees gained fulfillment and recognition makes their colleagues more engaged, and thus willing to share their own stories, which will then inspire others even further.

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