How’s your first week of 2015 going? Hope you had some quiet time over the holidays to organize your paperwork or have fun with your family or binge-watch The Walking Dead.
Now that you’re back, consider this: The first communication resolution you should make is to measure much, much more.
It’s time to get more serious about research: actually build it into your program, not treat it as a perennial afterthought. I know there are at least three reasons why research gets short shrift in employee communication:
- It takes time (and sometimes money) to do well.
- Measurement (especially anything to do with math) does not come naturally to communicators.
- In many organizations, senior management doesn’t really care whether communication is effective—they just care that their message was sent.
But, despite the obstacles, research is a powerful tool. It gives you real-life perspectives you can’t get in the rarified atmosphere of Headquarters. It puts you in touch with your audience in a meaningful and profound way. It provides you with ammunition—empirical evidence—to make your case. And it demonstrates the value of your work, through metrics (an important concept in results-driven organizations.)
It's true that measurement isn't easy. The good news is that, as long as you follow sound research principles, even “a little research” has value. Distribute and collect comment cards after the town hall meetings. Conduct five focus groups to get employee feedback about communication vehicles. User-test your intranet. Involve a percentage of employees in an online survey.
As with exercise (another resolution?), you don’t have to conduct research perfectly—but you do have to do it. (If you need some personal training-style encouragement, we invite you to our upcoming free workshop).
Hope you have a great year!