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Is There Such Thing as The Golden Comms Metric?

SMAC surging bar chartI often get questions about measuring impact of communication from members, and this recent member discussion on measuring internal/employee communications effectiveness in our Employee Communications Discussion Forum caught my attention. The member posing the question asked about ONE metric to track effectiveness of employee communications, rightfully noting that “Communications measurement is always a bit challenging and I want to make sure I sign up for something meaningful and achievable.”

This got me thinking: is there such thing as ONE golden metric? Probably not, as we discussed in a December webinar around communications measurement – one of the myths about measurement is that more metrics ≠ more demonstrable value. The discussion forum responses echo this idea but also give some clues to getting measurement right. Here are 3 tips to keep in mind:

1. “Focus on outcome measures rather than output”: I really like this response as it hits on a key teaching that should guide every communication activity – what is the outcome you are trying to achieve (starting with the business outcome and incorporating the related communication outcome), and building your communication plan around that outcome.

2. “Worth considering are behavioural change and business impact”: This one really captures our recent insights about the drivers of behaviour change. Our research around Communicating for Action found that there are 3 drivers to behaviour change – individual attitudes, capability, and social cues – of which, attitudes have the least impact on behaviour.

3. Follow a return-on-objective approach: What characterizes the responses in the discussion forum, as well as leading approaches to measurement, is that it is possible to deconstruct business outcomes into communication activities, and measure in turn comms metrics that, while maybe not too different from the usual metrics you track, help provide a clear link to a business objective. We call this a “Return-on-Objectives” approach. The trick is to start with the business objective (and not the communication output, which would be the natural inclination).

Continue the discussion with members directly through the Employee Communications Forum, or post your own question to the network!

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