Time is money when it comes to organizational announcements


Here’s a helpful way to assess the value employee communication provides to the organization: How much does it cost you to do routine tasks? And is the outcome worth the cost?

For this example, I’m not talking about instances where you assign work to an outside firm. Instead, I’ll focus on the idea that internal time is money—every hour team members spend on an activity requires “people capital” (salary plus overhead).

Let’s start with the bane of many communicators’ existence: the organizational announcement. These ubiquitous emails are sent when the company hires a new Executive VP of BlahBlahBlah or is “pleased to announce that Myron Schmidlap has been promoted to Grand Poobah of SomethingOrOther, an expanded role with the following people reporting to him . . .”

As you can tell, I don’t think very highly of these announcements. Most are boring. Few people within the organization (except those affected) care. Sure, Myron can forward the email to his Mom, but other than making his mother proud, org announcements seldom help you achieve critical communication objectives.

That’s why it may surprise you to learn how expensive organizational announcements can be. It’s not unusual to spend up to 60 hours on a high-profile org announcement, by the time you’ve researched information, written a first draft, gone through six or seven rounds of edits, obtained legal approval and completed the programming and preparation necessary to hit the “send” button.

Sixty hours add up to, you guessed it, $9374.99. How did I reach that figure?

  • First, I used the assumption that when you take everyone working on the announcement, salaries would average $100,000. (That may be a bit low, considering that high-level people often spend time on these things, but it’s easy to work with.)
  • To calculate an hourly rate, I then figured that most people work about 48 weeks a year (subtracting vacation, sick days, holidays, etc.) That means my aggregate person  she has 1920 hours available to work.
  • If our person works 40 hours a week,that means the hourly rate is $52.08.
  • But the actual cost of this person to the organization is much higher, when you factor in benefits, development, IT, office expenses and other overhead. So we’ll use the formula consulting firms and agencies use to factor  in all these costs: multiply $52.08 times three to come up with an hourly rate of $156.25.
  • That hourly rate times that by 60 hours totals nearly $9,400.

Does the organizational announcement create $9,400 of value? Not by any measure I can think of.

So the natural conclusion is this. Reduce the amount of time an organizational announcement takes by simplifying the format, standardizing the process and streamlining approvals. If you need to make a case, do your own math to demonstrate what org announcements are costing your organization—and how much you’d save by doing them differently.

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