Communication is the lifeblood of any organization. It shapes perceptions, influences decisions, and drives actions. However, simply communicating isn't enough. To ensure that your communication strategies are making a meaningful impact on your business, it's crucial to measure communication effectiveness. Surprisingly, over 60% of internal communicators don't measure their internal communications, according to a report. In this article, we'll delve into why you should measure communication effectiveness and how to go about it.
Defining Communication Objectives
Before diving into the metrics and data, it's essential to define your communication objectives. This step sets the stage for effective measurement. Think of your communication objectives as the compass guiding your efforts. By creating Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals for your communication plan, you establish a clear purpose and direction for your communication activities.
Additionally, understanding your target audiences and their needs, preferences, and expectations is vital. Aligning your communication objectives with your project goals and stakeholder expectations ensures that your communication efforts contribute meaningfully to your overall business objectives.
Choosing Communication Effectiveness KPIs
Measuring communication effectiveness requires the selection of appropriate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These indicators serve as benchmarks to assess the success of your communication strategies. Let's explore five example KPIs that can provide valuable insights into your communication efforts.
1. Employee App Adoption Rates
Internal communication apps have become a cornerstone of effective communication. To gauge the success of your app adoption, track the number of employees who have downloaded the app and are actively engaged. This KPI can be monitored through your employee directory or an analytics dashboard.
By measuring app adoption rates, you can identify areas that may need adjustments in your strategy. The higher the employee engagement with the app, the more successful your internal communication strategy is likely to be.
2. Performance and Productivity
Improved workforce productivity is a tangible outcome of effective communication. Measure the time and money saved when knowledge is made more accessible through a workforce app. This KPI helps evaluate the impact of communication on meeting or exceeding performance goals.
For instance, in a retail setting, effective team communication aligns employees with broader business goals, resulting in consistent sales strategies and enhanced customer experiences. An internal communication platform streamlines these processes, ultimately contributing to a positive customer experience.
3. Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is a key indicator for the success of any business strategy. Actively engaged employees are often happier, work harder, and have a greater respect for the organization, their managers, and colleagues. An internal communications app with an analytics dashboard provides specific engagement statistics for the workforce, teams, and individual employees.
You can assess engagement through social marketing KPIs, including likes, comments, and shares. Additionally, the number and quality of interactions between employees can be measured using the app. Understanding employee engagement helps tailor your communication strategies for better results.
4. Employee Feedback
Two-way communication is a vital aspect of effective communication. An internal communications app creates a channel for employees to provide feedback to the organization. The employee survey feature can be used to track this KPI.
To increase employee feedback, consider allowing employees to answer anonymously, asking engaging questions, and using a gamification approach. Sharing the survey results and taking action based on them fosters higher online engagement. When employees see their input making a difference, they are more likely to engage.
5. Retention and Turnover
Employee retention is a significant KPI that reflects the health of your organization. High turnover can be disruptive and costly, leading to delays in reaching business objectives. Effective communication plays a vital role in employee retention.
Clear communication ensures that employees understand their roles and are more engaged. Poor manager-employee communication is a top reason employees leave their jobs. Employee recognition, facilitated by a robust internal communications strategy, can contribute to job longevity. High turnover not only disrupts workflow but also costs an organization a substantial amount in recruitment and training.
These KPIs provide a comprehensive view of how effective your communication efforts are in engaging employees, increasing productivity, and contributing to business goals. Monitoring and optimizing these KPIs can lead to improved internal communication strategies and, ultimately, greater success for your organization.
How to Measure Communication Effectiveness
With your objectives and KPIs in place, you need the right tools and methods to measure your communication effectiveness. Different tools are available depending on the source and format of your data. For online channels like email, social media, or websites, online platforms, software, and apps come in handy for data collection and analysis. For offline channels such as meetings, presentations, or workshops, forms, questionnaires, or checklists can be used to collect data.
After collecting data, the next step is data analysis. Tools like spreadsheets, charts, and graphs help organize and visualize data, making it easier to identify trends, patterns, or gaps.
How to Evaluate Data
Once you've gathered and analysed your data, the evaluation process comes into play. It involves comparing actual results with your predetermined goals. If you've met your communication objectives, that's a positive outcome. If not, it's time to assess why and make necessary adjustments.
Evaluating data also helps you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your communication strategies and tactics. It provides insights into the factors that influenced your communication outcomes, allowing you to learn from both successes and challenges.
Implementing and Monitoring Communication Improvements
Evaluation alone is not enough; it must be followed by action. Use the insights and feedback from your communication evaluation to adjust your communication plan. Update your objectives, metrics, and strategies based on the changing needs and expectations of your project and stakeholders.
Furthermore, continuous monitoring is crucial to ensure that your communication improvements have the desired impact. By tracking progress and performance using the same tools and methods used for measuring effectiveness, you can ensure that your communication strategies stay aligned with your project's success.
What Else to Consider
Communication effectiveness goes beyond data and numbers. It impacts your organization's culture, employee morale, and overall productivity. For example, poor internal communication can lead to an average of 17 hours a week spent clarifying communication, as per one study. That's over $500,000 annually for a business with 100 employees. Think about how that money and time could be better spent. This lost potential could be hurting your business more than you realize.
In conclusion, measuring communication effectiveness is not just a luxury but a necessity. It helps you ensure that your communication strategies are working towards your business goals. By defining communication objectives, choosing the right KPIs, measuring communication effectively, evaluating data, and implementing improvements, you can create a culture of effective communication that contributes significantly to your business success.
So, if your company isn't measuring it yet, it's never too early to start. Remember, the path to success begins with clear, effective communication, and the compass to guide you along that path is the measurement of its effectiveness.