How to measure for success

Published: 17 June 2019

Measurement – it’s a word that can cause some debate and plenty of discussion in the world of Internal Communications. Those of you who have been reading my blogs for a while or have seen some of my comments on social media will know that this is one area of IC I am a huge advocate for.

For a long time I’ve been having conversations with fellow IC’ers to think about measurement and how they can use it to influence decisions made at senior management level. There are certainly some challenges in some organisations and it can be difficult to know where to start, especially if data analysis isn’t an area that you particularly enjoy.

But, if we don’t start demonstrating the impact of the work we are delivering and the outcomes we are influencing then we will always lag behind other functions in the business. Measurement can also give you the edge needed between being someone who just keeps churning work out without seeing much change to a respected Trusted Advisor that’s actually making a valued contribution to the strategic direction of the business.

So where do you begin? Hopefully the below tips will give you some ideas on how you can start to bring measurement into your everyday practice without being completely overwhelmed:

1) Evaluate your channels: If you’re not measuring anything at the moment then I strongly suggest you take a look at your channels and do a mini audit of who is reading them, how often, what do they read and why? You can do this by a simple survey or by holding focus groups. This will give you some sort of indication on what is working and what isn’t plus a good baseline to start from.

2) Expand your search: Look at the data available around you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be produced by you or your team but check things like HR data, performance, retention, absence, exit interviews etc. You’ll be surprised how it can correlate with some of the work you are doing, especially if its change related. Expanding your search will also allow you to form stronger relationships with these departments helping you to work together to deliver even better results.

3) Outcome over output: It’s definitely interesting to know how many people clicked on a story or how many colleagues opened the last newsletter you sent them but what changes in their behaviour are you seeing? If you’ve done a health and safety campaign have incident reports increased? Have there been fewer accidents on the operational floor? Understanding the impact and difference you’ve made to colleagues in how they think, feel and do will give you much more kudos at senior management level.

4) Embed in every campaign: It’s easy to forget about measurement when you’re busy and just need to get stuff done, especially if you’ve been brought in at the last minute to deliver a campaign in a very short space of time. However, proceed with caution. It’s really easy to get sucked into everyone’s enthusiasm but you need to be the comms rebel in this instance and ask the right questions. Why are they doing this campaign? How will they know it’s been a success? What behaviours are they expecting to see change? It doesn’t matter how late you come onto a project, it’s imperative these questions are asked, otherwise you’ll never really understand the impact the project/campaign is expected to make.

No one has really nailed measurement in IC and I’m pretty certain we will continue to have plenty of discussions around this subject many times. However, at CIPR Inside work has started on pulling together a measurement report, which we are hoping to publish early next year. Trudy Lewis, one of our fabulous committee members is leading on this project and is asking for your help to complete this very short survey.

You can also read more about the research project here.

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