Why metrics should matter to internal communicators

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By Carla Lynn
April 22, 2020
4 min read
Getting the internal communication metrics that matter

Internal communications have never been more important, as COVID-19 upends traditional workplace engagement and offices switch to working remotely. Historically speaking, internal communicators haven’t always embraced the power of metrics and data. The State of the Sector 2020 report found that less than 20% of communications professionals regularly track the impacts of their internal comms efforts. 

Let’s face it, it’s hard to gauge how your team is really feeling through a computer screen. Remote communication within teams requires a targeted, data-driven approach to ensure messages are getting across effectively. 

But what exact data and metrics should you look at—especially in times like these—to ensure your communications efforts are successful? And why are metrics so important?

Let’s explore this in detail!

Definition of metrics

The basics

Experts say the traditional workplace landscape is set to evolve long after the pandemic is over. By incorporating metrics into your communications plan now will likely lead to better workplace engagement in the post-COVID world. 

In a nutshell, metrics look at the what, how, and why of your internal communication activities. For instance, what constitutes a successful internal communications campaign? The number of emails opened? Interactions? A happier office? 

Typically, metrics for internal communicators have been limited to things like a few questions on an annual employee survey. Nowadays, metrics present an opportunity for internal communicators to be better equipped to study what’s working and what needs to be fixed.

Simply put, metrics are a method of measurement to obtain results. 

Let’s say your goal is to inform employees via email about company updates. In this case, your metrics would be the actions employees take after reading your email, like average response and open rates.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to increase office morale through a fun campaign that asks employees to send in photos, you would look at daily submission numbers or internal social media reactions. 

How channels & metrics connect

Before you can think about which metrics to analyze, you first need an internal comms objective and a channel strategy to help you get there. 

Maybe your objective is to increase email response rates as your team works from home, or perhaps it’s to keep staff informed of company updates while they’re away from the office. 

A 2020 IoIC survey found that the top communication channels for employees during COVID-19 were internal social media, video conferencing, and surveys. Unsurprisingly, all three of these channels are screen-based or virtual.

Knowing your organization’s most popular channels—with help from a comprehensive Channel strategy—will help you figure out which specific metrics pertain to your team and objectives. 

With our internal communications software Reach, administrators can see open rates, action rates, average response time, and more. This is valuable data that can indicate the best times to send an email, which communication methods are most convenient for remote staff, and more. 

If you don’t have the tools, why not test software that can do the hard work for you? Use this internal communication metrics tool to get started.

Metrics that matter most for internal communicators

Currently, what internal communicators need are ways to translate the inherent messiness of communication into a metric. Here are a few of the most important ones:

Employee satisfaction – This one is the most straightforward. It’s usually assessed through employee surveys and polls. 

Productivity-related measures – According to Gallup, employee engagement and productivity continue to be important predictors of company performance, even in a tough economy. 

Employee retention and referrals – Employees who are informed and feel their voices are heard and appreciated are more likely to stick with the company. They’re also more likely to recommend it to others.

Customer satisfaction – Employees who are fully equipped with the information they need to do their job well can provide a better customer experience. Since most companies are already tracking this metric, internal comms professionals already have a baseline to work from.

4 internal communications metrics that matter most

Metrics + data + analysis

Monitoring a set of metrics will allow you to gauge the success of a communications campaign. Furthermore, when you look at all the data together, you can see the bigger picture and track the success of your communications efforts. Here are important questions to ask when analyzing data:

  • What were the most successful campaigns? 
  • What about their specific messaging made them perform better than the rest? 
  • How can this be implemented in future campaigns for better results? 

Tying this back to your company’s overall objectives is key to delivering value. 

Why metrics & data are important to internal communicators

Only by defining and setting metrics to measure a campaign’s success will you know the difference between a job well done and messages sent into oblivion. 

Metrics should directly correlate to the goals you set in your initial internal communications strategy. You might not be able to measure a happier office in numbers, but you can identify engagement metrics. This information is extremely useful in gauging which messages are the most effective. 

Here’s what you need to know to set up communication metrics that matter. 

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By Carla Lynn

Carla Lynn was a former Intranet Connections teammate.