Not sure why you should be measuring your internal communication? Or maybe you’re not sure how to start quantifying your communications? Read on to learn why you need to measure communications, the best metrics to track, how to measure communication performance, and how to implement a data driven communication strategy.
Everyone from communicators to marketers like to say that “content is king”, and while we don’t disagree, we want to acknowledge the king’s advisor: metrics.
Metrics and measurements are key for communicators for so many reasons.
For starters, most organizations don’t even know how to measure communication in the workplace. Statistics from Ragan show that 56% of companies don’t get useful user data from their intranet and 51% don’t track internal email effectiveness. Additionally, 41% have no way at all of tracking how much content is viewed on internal communications channels.
Internal communication is seen as a purely qualitative subject, when in reality it needs to have a quantifiable impact to truly be successful. It can be challenging to exit the cycle of measuring only outputs, but we challenge communicators to measure and own their business outcomes.
This article will demonstrate why and how to measure communication skills.
Why Should I Be Measuring Internal Communications In The Workplace?
Three simple reasons:
- Proving your value
- Maximizing your budget
- Maximizing your time
Measuring Internal Communications Helps You Prove Your Value
Every now and again you might find your internal communications budget under pressure. And it can be especially frustrating to feel as though you have to justify your own salary.
Fortunately, if you’ve been measuring your success you’ll have the ammunition you need to fight back and prove your value to the organization. Especially when speaking with business leaders, you need to be able to speak the language of business KPIs. Once you know how to measure communication objectives, you can correlate your successes to key performance indicators across your entire organization.
Measuring Internal Communications In The Workplace Helps You Use your Budget Better
Some internal communications tools cost a lot more to buy and operate than others. It can be hard to justify those costs if you can’t prove their effectiveness.
Just as some channels could be wasting your time without you realizing, others could be draining your budget without really producing results.
It’s better to give them the chop and invest in products that help your message reach everyone on time.
Measurement in Internal Communications Helps You Manage Your Time Better
There’s nothing worse than spending time crafting the perfect piece of content, and then having it fall on a blind audience. You could be spending hours curating a beautiful piece of content that only a tiny percentage of employees actually view.
By keeping data on your internal communications efforts, it’s easier to prioritise which channels are worth your time.
Additionally, you should also keep track of any time you spend clarifying and following up on each communication.
If something is poorly explained it could result in dozens of follow-up calls or emails. You may take these in your stride, but wouldn’t it be nice to avoid them in the first place by knowing which communication techniques get the message across first time?
But How Do You Measure Communication KPIs in a Business?
We’ve identified 11 key performance indicators that can help internal communication professionals measure and quantify the value of their work. We further broke those communication measures and methods down into three distinct categories: Reach, Engagement, and Outcomes.
- Employee Adoption Rate
- Log in Rate
- Open Rate
- Click through rate
- Responses and feedback
- Peak times
- Demographic trends
- Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)
- Turnover Rate
- Behavioral Outcomes
- Impact on other business metrics
Internal Communication Metrics: Reach
The most basic of all internal communication metrics is reach. It determines how many employees are able to access your communication. This can help you identify how many of your employees are adopting your platforms, how many log in regularly, and how many are opening your communications.Reach metrics are fundamental to understanding the maximum impact your communications can have on a business. It can also help identify areas of improvement, and justify which line items in your budget are the most valuable. Click To Tweet
We will discuss the following reach metrics:
- Employee Adoption Rate
- Log in Rate
- Open Rate
Employee Adoption Rates for Internal Communications
It’s the beginning of January and you’ve been given an increase in your budget this year. You use that budget to adopt a shiny new intranet platform.
You’re super excited, because it should help improve knowledge sharing and inter-departmental bonding.
So you get management on board, run a few internal campaigns to build hype, and start implementing the platform. You’re pretty active on it, creating and running campaigns on it frequently.
A few months later, you see that only 20% of your employees made an account. Therefore you can only reach a maximum of 20% of your company. This doesn’t even consider how many users log in regularly and how many of those actually open your communications (more on that later).
Understanding how many people use a platform is the first step in identifying your priorities.
In this example, implementing a new platform presented challenges in getting people to adopt the new intranet. Generally, you will see higher reach in platforms that have been grandfathered into the regular workday, such as in email broadcasts.
Measuring employee adoption rate is pretty simple: you need to calculate what percentage of employees out of your entire organization have an account in that platform. The formula for Employee Adoption Rate is:
(QTY OF EMPLOYEES WHO ENROLLED / TOTAL ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES) * 100
While adoption rate can be pretty insightful when comparing platforms, it doesn’t tell the entire story. Still, it is a fundamental reach metric for internal communicators. Employee Adoption Rate is best used alongside the other reach metrics such as log in rate and open rate.
Log In Rate For Internal Communication Platforms
Once you know how many employees have adopted a platform, the only real way to know if it’s working is to know how often your employees are logging in.
In the previous example, 20% of employees adopted an intranet. But if 80% of the people who signed up for the intranet are logging in at least once a week, then you may be able to use the intranet to your advantage.
To calculate your login rate for a platform, you need to find out what percentage of employees with an account login or visit the platform on a regular basis. Most platforms should have these statistics available for admins. The formula for Log In Rate is:
(QTY OF USERS ACCESSING THE PLATFORM / QTY OF USERS ENROLLED IN PLATFORM) * 100
Log in rate can be very useful in determining the reach of your communications, or determining if there are any obstacles to your reach.
For instance, it might be normal to experience a significant dip in log in rates in December when employees are frequently on holiday. On the other hand, if you notice log in rates are steadily declining you may need to refresh engagement on your platform.
Our best practice for increasing your log-in rate is to utilise a platform your employees already want to or have to log into. HR platforms, messengers, and internal email are all great candidates for high login rates.
Obstacles to your employee adoption rate include:
- Platforms with auto log-out,
- Platforms that are not mobile accessible,
- Platforms that aren’t relevant to your employee’s daily workflow.
The only caveat when looking at log-in rates is that they don’t tell you who is looking at your content, only what percentage of your employees are eligible to see it.
Internal Communications Open Rate
Assuming you’re seeing healthy metrics as far as platform adoption and login rates, the next reach metric for communications is your open rate. Open rates are among the most popular metrics for measuring internal communication effectiveness.
Just like it sounds, open rates measure what percentage of eligible employees are opening your internal communications. Usually this means opening a newsletter, or opening a blog post on your intranet or corporate wiki.
The formula for Open Rate is:
(QTY OF USERS ACCESSING THE ITEM / QTY OF USERS ENROLLED IN PLATFORM) * 100
Open rate is the most popular reach metric because it’s the easiest to understand, and because any tool worth its salt will make it very easy for you to access this metric. Open rate is also a very useful foundation for engagement metrics, allowing you to determine how compelling your communications are.
Internal Communication Metrics: Engagement
The next method to measure internal communication effectiveness is Engagement. Engagement metrics demonstrate how employees are interacting with your communications. They can help you identify how many people are seeing your content, what people have to say about it, when they prefer to receive content, which teams are most engaged, and how many employees would recommend working at your organization.Engagement metrics are key for analyzing trends and understanding how employees prefer to interact with your communications. They are the most direct measurable communication goals. Click To Tweet
The engagement metrics we will explore are:
- Click through rate
- Responses and feedback
- Peak times
- Demographic trends
Click Through Rates For Measuring Employee Engagement
After sending your first newsletter to employees, you might take a look at your open rate and giddily report that everyone saw your email.
Not so fast!
Did they open your email, and then immediately close it so they could move on to the next one?
Or maybe they skimmed the email, but didn’t click on any links.
Click through rate can apply to links and media in newsletters or blog posts. It determines who was engaged enough with your content that they wanted to learn more or take action.
If your communications are static without links or media, you cannot measure click through rate. Therefore you have no accurate way to know if people took action on your message. If you want people to follow through to an intranet post or an HR portal or take any kind of action, you need to be measuring click through rates.
The click through rate formula is:
(Total Measured Clicks / Total Measured Opens) * 100
ContactMonkey’s smart analytics dashboard can help you see your click-through rate quickly and easily.
Click through rate is an extremely important internal communications metric because it can inform you of gaps in your communication strategy. If your click through rates are lower than you would like, you can devise alternate strategies and mediums to help you achieve your desired engagement outcome.
Start Measuring My Click Through Rates
Responses and Feedback to Internal Communications
Wanna know a surefire way to know what your employees think about a business initiative?
It’s that easy.
While other metrics can do a great job of showing how many people see your communications, direct feedback is the most accurate way to understand employee sentiment. Plus, quantifying the number of people taking the time to respond to your communications demonstrates they are engaged within the company.
Responses and feedback are one of the most powerful things you can measure, because they can be analyzed quantitatively AND qualitatively.
If you use reaction or sentiment pulse surveys, you can get quick feedback from anyone who views your communications. These types of surveys are common in both the external and internal communication world. We’ve seen them everywhere from airport restrooms, to support articles, to internal newsletters. ContactMonkey even has pulse surveys built into our intuitive newsletter platform, making it easy to include polls in all your internal newsletters!
For even more qualitative internal feedback, you’ll want to make it easy for employees to leave you comments.
Sending newsletters from a third-party no-reply email address completely discourages any kind of two-way communication. Instead, you can use an Outlook native newsletter platform like ContactMonkey to solicit employee comments directly in your regular newsletter!
When you make it easy for your employees to tell you what they think, you’ll find droves of measurable and actionable insights! That’s why we love using feedback as an internal engagement metric.
Peak Times for Employee Engagement
No matter how creative our jobs let us be, many of us are creatures of habit and routine. That’s why it’s essential to figure out when your audience is most likely to see your communications.
Maybe that time is 9:30 in the morning after people have settled in with their coffees and have begun clearing their inbox. Maybe it’s around noon when people are buying or preparing their lunch. The point is, you’ll never know unless you’re tracking your peak engagement times for internal communications.
Tracking the peak engagement times on your messaging can help you be strategic about when you’re sending communications. ContactMonkey helps internal communicators track when employees are engaging with their newsletters, and helps you schedule your newsletters so you’re never late for the peak engagement hour.
Our number one tip for measuring peak engagement times is to make sure your newsletter distribution lists are segmented appropriately! This can help you target different divisions, cultures, and timezones in a way that maximizes your content creation efforts!
Your peak times for employee engagement may not be interesting to C-level executives, however if you want to be an internal communications champion, this is one metric you should not ignore.
Demographic Trends in Internal Communications
The bigger your organization is, the more important it is for you to understand demographic trends within your company.
Is there disparity in engagement between Millennial employees and Boomers? Do you think your American employees might react differently than your British and European employees? What about between your Sales and Engineering teams?
Well you won’t know until you start tracking demographic trends. Age, location, and vocation could all affect your internal communications strategies. It’s critical to understand how these factors affect the adoption of platforms and the desired outcomes of your messaging.
This is another engagement metric that doesn’t have a direct ROI, but is invaluable for communicators looking to improve results in other key areas.
Employee Net Promoter Score
Employee Net Promoter Score, or eNPS, measures how likely an employee is to recommend their workplace. This measures employee loyalty to the office, as well as their likelihood to recommend your products and services. eNPS is an indispensable employee engagement metric because it gives you a good benchmark of the state of your workforce, and can be directly correlated with profitable outcomes.
Studies have shown time and time again that loyal employees have all kinds of positive influences on a business.
For starters, loyal employees are more likely to be your employee for a long time. That makes sense, loyal employees aren’t looking for new employment, and are less likely to risk the career they built with you if approached by headhunters.
Research has shown that it costs approximately 20% of an employee’s annual salary to hire a replacement. Therefore it’s fiscally prudent to calculate your eNPS and take measures to improve your score.
Not only does higher eNPS correlate with lower turnover, it also indicates that your employees are working harder. Engaged and loyal employees aren’t just doing the bare minimum, they’re putting in their best effort. This is called discretionary effort, which disengaged employees are more likely to reserve for their personal lives. Employees who spend their discretionary effort in your company are going above and beyond.Engaged and loyal employees aren’t just doing the bare minimum, they’re putting in their best effort. Click To Tweet
To measure eNPS, all you need is a single, standardized question.
“On a scale from 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this organization as a good place to work?”
Answers are broken down between Detractors (0-6), Passives (7-8), and Promoters (9,10). Detractors and Promoters will be used to calculate your score. Neutral answers do not get factored into the occasion, because their net impact cannot be defined as negative or positive.
% Promoters – % Detractors = eNPS
Your score can range anywhere between -100 to +100.
To get the most out of eNPS as an engagement metric, you should calculate it on a regular basis. You can also follow up on the question by asking “why” to get important qualitative feedback.
One of the main benefits of eNPS is that it is standard across all organizations, making it possible to benchmark your success against similar enterprises.
Measurable Internal Communication Outcomes
So far, we have discussed how to measure your reach and your engagement with your communications, but we have yet to explore measurable communication outcomes that affect the business broadly.
While your internal communications team may not be directly responsible for customer service, brand marketing, or recruiting, your team plays a pivotal role in enabling all of these functions.
Measurable business impacts include:
- Turnover Rate
- Behavioral Outcomes
- Impact on other business metrics marketing/performance/productivity/CSAT/NPS/upsells
Measuring Communications and Employee Turnover Rate
When we discuss turnover rate, we’re referring to the net percentage of employees that leave a company within a certain period of time. You can measure turnover in short increments, like months or quarters, or in longer increments like years.
Furthermore, there are two types of turnover: voluntary and involuntary. Each type has their own set of business implications, and should be looked at separately.
Voluntary turnover is when employees are choosing to quit or willingly vacate their positions. This usually happens because they are unsatisfied with their role, have a better job offer, or are looking to change their skillset or career. Because voluntary turnover is often less planned than involuntary turnover, it can cause abrupt chaos in an organization as hiring managers scramble to fill open positions.
While there is no one-size fits all approach to preventing voluntary turnover, you can learn a lot from your employee’s exit interviews to try to prevent future cases. A well conducted exit interview might reveal that your salary or benefits aren’t competitive, or that a lack of communication from the top left employees feeling empty and without purpose in their jobs.
Internal communicators should pay attention to voluntary turnover and exit interviews when strategizing ways to make an impact on the organization at a broad level. If you begin trying new tools and strategies for internal communications, be sure you benchmark against voluntary turnover.
On the other hand, involuntary turnover happens when an employee is terminated or laid off. Usually this happens because of unsatisfactory job performance, inappropriate behavior, or company downsizing.
While involuntary turnover doesn’t correlate as strongly with communications as the voluntary kind, communicators can still make positive impacts towards decreasing involuntary turnover.
Better training materials and culture standards can reduce the likelihood of undesirable work performance and behaviors. By investing proactively in creating a positive culture, the organization is less likely to hire the wrong fit, and thereby saves time on recruiting and training potential misfits. If your organization has a high involuntary turnover rate, it may be worth assessing a potential gap in communication somewhere in the recruiting and training processes.
Furthermore, in the event of a crisis where employees may be laid off, communication is the sole deciding factor on if the decision is reviled or understood. This can have lasting implications on your brand, as business crises are often discussed in the news and on social media. A thoughtful communication plan for both the laid off and remaining employees is key to minimize the human impact of a crisis.
Measurable Behavioural Outcomes From Internal Communications
When you’re devising a communication plan, you almost always have some kind of specific outcome in mind. Perhaps you are trying to get employees to enroll in a new benefits platform, or the office manager wants to ask people to take better care of shared spaces. No matter what, when your internal communications are tied to a specific goal or outcome, you need to be benchmarking the state of affairs before your communications, and the impact those communications made.
If you’re ever trying to justify the effectiveness of a specific medium, or you need to emphasize the impact you make on the business when negotiating for budgets, outcomes are everything. The tricky part is that there are no standard metrics for outcomes, so you need to create your own.
In the first example, when introducing a new benefits platform, you might measure enrolment in a new app. Track enrolment alongside when you send out your communications. For instance, you could get 30% of employees enrolled with the first introductory email, another 25% in a followup email, but when your CEO mentions it at the quarterly town hall enrollment shoots up another 30%. You need to measure things like that so you can be more strategic with your communications.
One of our clients, Exemplis, uses ContactMonkey to help with a similar problem.
According to Corey, the engagement and communications lead at Exemplis, the receptionist would email: ‘Hey, whoever left their coffee mug in the sink, please clean it and take it back to your desk.’ And it’s like, okay, that just went to 200 people.
With a team of over 1000 employees spread across multiple offices in the United States, Corey and her boss needed a way of sending out meaningful content and evaluating how employees were interacting with it. They use ContactMonkey to get pulse feedback on the adoption of new policies, as well as using it to see what areas employees crave more information.
“We’ve started to use ContactMonkey for our manager workshops. It’s a much smaller group, so we have 100% open rate, but the important part is seeing what links they click on. This helps our Training Manager know what material managers are searching for in between the workshops and shapes future training.”
By prioritizing communication, feedback, and engagement, leadership at Exemplis is able to specifically assess the effectiveness of training materials and adjust course to ensure that all training outcomes are met.
How to Measure Communications With Core Business Metrics
All the metrics we mentioned above are important for measuring communications, but when discussing your impact with business leaders you need to be aware of how you are influencing their success metrics. While it’s well known as a standalone fact that engaged employees are better performers, you want to be able to show how you are affecting those metrics.
While there are dizzying amounts of business metrics and related acronyms, here are a few key areas to watch:
- Customer Success Metrics
- Marketing Engagement Metrics
- Recruitment and Candidate Funnel
Internal Communication’s Impact on Customer Success Metrics
It’s no secret that happy employees make customers happier. Temkin’s 2016 Employee Engagement Benchmark Survey found that companies that excel at customer experience have 1.5x more engaged employees than companies with poor customer experience.
As an internal communicator, it is your responsibility to rally employees towards engagement. Your efforts in creating engaging newsletters and communication materials make a tangible difference in the quality of your customer service.
While customer experience metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) shouldn’t be your primary priority, you should be able to correlate some of your internal communication with your customer experience improvements.
Internal Communication and Marketing Metrics
One of marketing’s core roles is to define the values, vision, mission of the company – internal communications can help with this by ensuring that employees are on the same page. Sometimes in smaller organizations they sit within the same team. Regardless of if Internal Communications is merged with marketing or its own separate function, internal communications should help amplify your marketing efforts. And their successes should be viewed in parallel.
For example, if your business is launching a new product or undergoing a rebrand, it’s imperative that marketing and internal communications are working together to get external and internal audiences up to speed.
At its core, internal communications is really just brand advocacy. Your brand advocates are more likely to pollinate their social media and word-of-mouth channels with positive buzz about your brand. They might share blog posts on LinkedIn, recommend your products in earnest, or even become your customers.
Don’t underestimate internal communication’s potential to help marketing increase impressions and engagement on your advertising materials. Plus, the word of mouth marketing from informed and energized employees can drive consumer awareness and help increase sales.
Measuring the Impact of Internal Communications on Recruiting
Everyone has (or is) that friend who absolutely loves their workplace. They’re excited to come to work every morning, they’re energetic and productive throughout the day, and the odds are good that they’re friends with their coworkers outside the office.
These employer brand advocates are absolutely invaluable to a business. From a recruiting perspective, these hyper-engaged employees are highly likely to refer candidates for open job postings.
So how is internal communications related?
Not only is it the role of internal communication professionals to cultivate these advocates and monitor them through eNPS surveys, internal communications can also help the advocates recruit their network.
In large companies, it’s downright impossible for your average employee to know about all the job openings in the company. They might be aware of open roles in their department, but be entirely oblivious to openings throughout the organization. Internal communicators can help bridge the gap between recruiters and the brand advocates by increasing awareness of vacant positions.
If you are able to prove your newsletter about vacant positions correlated with a high rate of employee referrals, then you can demonstrate how valuable your work is. Think about it in terms of saving hours of work from recruiters and hiring managers.
These are just some of the ways internal communication professionals have a measurable impact on other areas of business.
Get Started Measuring Internal Communications in the Workplace
By now you should know how to measure effective communication in the workplace. While metrics and numbers may not be intuitively related to the art of communication, they’re still invaluable for proving the impact of soft skills in a business. If you’re trying to solidify your value in the organization, you need to measure communications.
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Have any questions about how you can start measuring the impact of your internal communications? Book a call with one of our internal communications experts to show you how ContactMonkey helps you measure the impact of your internal communications.