Why Internal Communications Measurement Needs to be Rebooted

Why Internal Communications Measurement Needs to be Rebooted

  • Are you doing communication assessment at your organization on a regular basis?
  • Does your organization calculate an overall communication effectiveness score?

If you hedged even a little on these two simple questions, you should spend an hour Feb. 26, 2015 with Tyler Durham, a partner and managing director of Ketchum Change. His Communitelligence webinar, How to Reboot Your Internal Communications Measurement Tactics, starts at 1 PM Eastern, or you can purchase the online replay.

Durham-200Tyler has spent much of his career helping clients use innovative quantitative and qualitative  research to inform internal communication strategies. He has the benefit of working with Kethchum’s Global Research and Analytics (KGRA) team, the largest research group in the PR industry.

In this brief interview, Tyler talks more about why internal communications research is so important and what communicators can do to make sure their value is understood and appreciated within their organizations.

When you say we need to “reboot” internal communications measurement, what exactly are you referring to? Are current measurement processes broken?

We live in the most complicated environment leaders have ever known – a VUCA environment, where VUCA stands for volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. This is a hyper-connected era where networks rule and the planet is getting smaller by the minute thanks to advances in transportation, technology, education and global businesses. This increasingly changing environment demands that businesses adapt their internal communications capabilities.

On top of this dynamic pace of change, we’re in a new era – an era defined by five generations in the workforce, punctuated by rapid technological advances, with content creation and sharing capabilities in the hands of individuals that often outpace an organizations capability to keep up. Millennials will soon make up nearly half of the 21st Century workforce in Western countries. This generation has grown up with great advances in technology and through one of the most devastating economic downturns since the Great Depression. This is a generation that truly wants to change the world and use technology to do so. This is also a group of people who has never had to digest content that they didn’t want to see, they could swipe by it, fast-forward it, DVR it, or unsubscribe from it. Given this new type of workforce and different technological world in which organizations exist, communication leaders must change how they conduct research to better connect with their employees and maintain a competitive advantage

You refer to the changing role of research in internal communications. Can you expand on that a bit?

Based on our experience with clients, we have identified the following opportunities for internal communications research:

1) From Episodic Measurement to Real-Time Influence • Real-time influence translates to accumulating research constantly rather than periodically. Real time tracking and perpetual data collection help managers to make better informed decisions today instead of relying on outdated information.

2) From Mechanical Design to Human Centered Design • Designing research to explore the employee’s perspective, needs, wants and limitations in their work environment first, then working back towards the channel, topic, leader and desired business outcome enable an organization to collect more accurate employee data, which in turn can bolster employee performance.

3) From Lagging + Correlative to Predictive + Persuasive • Using data and research models with an eye towards informing current and future performance instead of looking at lagging indicators is the future. Using predictive tools to derive compelling, actionable and more impactful insights allows businesses to strengthen their competitive edge.

4) From Reports + Charts to Data Storytelling • Studies have found that by using oral and visual methods of communication together there is an 80% likelihood that the messages will be remembered – a drastically higher percentage than using only one or the other. Let’s use this to really power the great data we have collected and analyzed. Gone is the day of death by PowerPoint; we must use compelling infographics and visual data storytelling to help leaders make better decisions, faster.

From your vantage point, what is the first thing internal communicators need to do to assure the value they bring to the organization is recognized?

Communication leaders need to ask themselves whether they’re optimally connecting with their employees and keeping pace with the ever-increasing rate of technological change in organizations of the 21st Century. Leaders must ensure they and their organizations have adopted a measurement and continuous improvement mindset. Regardless of how sophisticated your method of measurement, making the commitment to a fact-based and data-driven approach is paramount. Then, using available data and conducting research properly with advanced statistical techniques will make the difference between those businesses that succeed and those that fail in engaging and connecting with their most precious asset – their employees.

Anything else you want to add about what you will be covering in this webinar?

Join us for a lively discussion around the changing role of research in internal communications, some leading edge best practices and to share in the discussion and exchange as we all learn from each other.

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