“Hello, measurement. I know I’ve been ignoring you. You’ll probably make me a better internal communicator, maybe even a strategic advisor, but you’re challenging to be with. I just don’t have time for you.”
“Hello, communicator. It has been awhile. I know you have a lot to do, but we can do great things together. Let’s make this work.”
Here are five reasons to rekindle your relationship with employee communication measurement. In fact, by holding up your end of the relationship, measurement may become your new BFF:
1. Set better communication objectives
Once you’re in the habit of measuring, you’ll think about the connection between what you need to accomplish and understanding the result.
You’ll move from generic objectives that are challenging to achieve, such as “employees will be excited about our new strategy,” to more specific, measureable goals: “90% of employees will be aware of the new strategy and 75% of leaders will understand how to support it.”
2. Inform planning and follow-up communication
Working in a bubble is never a good idea, but listening to your customer is. Measurement can inform your communication plan: from what’s important to employees to the best channels to use. And it can help you design follow-up communication to plug information gaps.
We just completed a comprehensive survey for a manufacturer and learned that while awareness of the corporate strategy is high, deeper knowledge (employees know how to support it) is very low. The good news is the organization is about to launch an updated strategy and will use this data to shape the communication plan.
3. Demonstrate the impact of communication
Relying on anecdotal evidence doesn’t cut it. You need data to demonstrate the value of your work.
I worked with an energy and services company to communicate the downsizing of a call center. By measuring the impact of the communication, we understood that we achieved one of our objectives: ensuring that employees felt respected.
4. Reshape how you spend your time
Understanding the value of your activities helps you break out of the we’ve-always-done-it-that-way syndrome.
For example, we helped an industrial manufacturer understand the effectiveness of their e-newsletter: a weekly summary of intranet posts. We learned that most employees don’t visit the intranet since the e-newsletter provides what they need to help them stay up to date. As a result, the communication team decided to reduce the time spent writing articles by cutting the number of words. This opened up their time for higher value activities.
5. Influence stakeholders
Asking a leader or an initiative owner to communicate differently is often met with resistance, “I prefer to…” Data can help you make your case.
One of our clients, a telecommunications firm, uses town halls as a key channel for the top leaders. The communication team surveys employees after every session with a consistent set of questions. In the beginning, it felt a bit awkward to share the results with leaders. Now they ask, “How did we do with this one?”