Top 5 ways to measure internal communication

By Katlin Walters
May 29, 2019
6 min read

“You can’t improve what you can’t measure” may feel like an old cliché, but it’s the modern-day reality. If you want to establish whether you are progressing in a certain area, you need to track your performance. This way, you identify aspects that are working and those that require improvement. When tracking performance, data is crucial to help you determine whether you are moving towards an objective. A goal, such as improving the effectiveness of internal communication in your firm, can be measured by assessing the Key Performance Indicators (KPI).

Many organizations struggle with gauging internal communication effectiveness and do not know the KPI’s to track. Most enterprises use statistics to measure internal communication effectiveness. However, statistics can only prove so much and, in some instances, tell a different story from what is happening on the ground. Also, numbers can’t represent internal communication; these aspects are more important than any statistical comparison.

Why measure internal communication?

Internal communication is the lifeblood of a business regardless of the size. It has benefits for proper coordination, increased employee morale, creating a mutual relationship between management and employees, improved employee efficiency, seamless business operations, high retention rates, and quality decision-making. According to the Holmes Report, organizations with effective communication record 47% high returns, more engaged workers, and fewer turnovers.    

If you don’t know how effective your internal communication is, you can compromise your business productivity and success. Poor internal communication results in low employee productivity, decrease employee engagement, high turnover rates, and a blow to your bottom line—poor communication results in employee misunderstanding and errors that cost approximately $37 billion.   

Ways of measuring whether your internal communication is effective or not

1. Review responses and feedback from employees

What better way to measure internal communication than to hear it from the “horse’s mouth’ –employees.  You can survey your employees to determine the effectiveness of internal communication. It is best practice to ensure anonymity in surveys so that you get honest answers. No employee would like to be labeled for affirming that the company lacks clear employee communication. The survey should be clear and concise to address the problem area. Take time to prepare a worthwhile survey with the right questions that are straight and to the point.

In the survey, you can ask a question like, ‘on a scale of 1 to 10, how effective is this organization’s internal communication?’ This question is objective and allows you to get the information you require. You can allow employees to add a comment after the question to elaborate on their answer. Don’t send a single survey to all your employees. It is better to segment them by title, job, and location and send them customized surveys. You can also get feedback on the effectiveness of internal communication using focus groups with employees. The main advantage of focus groups is that they allow you to generate real conversations that shed light on an issue.

2. Monitor employee engagement with the forms of internal communications

Organizations are gradually acknowledging that they should not send out information and relax; they should go a mile to monitor the employees’ engagement with information.

Which engagement numbers should be tracked? Many HR personnel and managers would say email open rates and intranet log-ins. The two affirm that employees are aware of the information the firm distributes. However, they only tell you a negligible part of the story. A more effective way of measuring engagement is monitoring CTR (click-through rate) and forwarded emails and shares.

Measuring the number of links in emails that employees click and company news that they forward to colleagues or share on social media determines their interaction with the enterprise’s message. For example, if employees receive news via email that the organization is going public, do they share it with others on social media or forward it to colleagues?                  

3. Track employee turnover rates

Employees who are happy at their workplace stay longer while those that are unhappy look for work elsewhere. When you track your firm’s turnover rate, you gain insights into your internal communication effectiveness. According to Forbes, better communication prevents turnover rates that are prohibitively expensive for companies. A survey conducted by Watson Wyatt revealed that companies with effective communications channels were 50% likely to have low turnover rates than 33% for the least effective communicators. 

Effective internal communication establishes a good relationship with the employer, creates faith with company leadership, and increases employee morale and pride working there. Also, it keeps employees in the know and creates a connection between employees and the management, which increases employee retention. Therefore, by monitoring turnover rates, you can gain insights into the effectiveness of internal communication. 

4. Study performance using analytics tools

Companies use different channels for internal communication. While some firms use email and slack app, others utilize intranet. Regardless of the channel you use, it is essential to measure the effectiveness of each channel. You should assess the type of content that works best for each channel and optimize it accordingly. In this digital age, you may observe that communication delivered through a mobile app evokes higher engagement levels than traditional channels.

For companies that use the intranet, it can be the ideal place to start collecting data. It would be best if you determined how effective it is at passing messages across. These questions can be a good place to start.

  • What number of employees use the intranet?
  • How often do they use it?
  • When are they using it? Are there particular ‘peak times?’
  • How are employees accessing intranet, work computers, smartphones?
  • Are some demographics represented in the intranet more than others?

By asking these questions, you get a picture of how your employees are reacting to internal communication. You can use the information gathered to adjust your communication behavior to achieve the best results.

5. Measure number of employees reached

Many managers and HR departments overlook this matrix. The two main challenges in workplace communication are the number of diverse employees and the inefficiency of contemporary intranet systems. Research shows that almost one-third of employees don’t visit the intranet and 43% of employees work remotely once in a while. Therefore, it is important to measure the number of employees who can be reached. It makes no sense to send a company memo if no one reads it.   

Effective internal communication improves; employee satisfaction, employee productivity, retention rates, and profitability in an organization. In line with these benefits, companies need to measure whether their internal communication is effective or not. With numerous features and collaboration tools that meet your organizational needs, IC’s Intranet can be used to measure the success of your internal communication. 

Take your employee communications to a new level with Intranet Connections. Book a Free Demo Today!  And be sure to check out our assessment tool to know exactly what aspects of your internal comms strategy are working and what aspects need improvement!

By Katlin Walters

Katlin is a former IC team member.