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The Benefits of Measuring Internal Communications

Over 500 internal comms professionals participated in PoliteMail’s 2016 Internal Communications Measurement Survey, offering an inside look at how they define and measure the effectiveness of their efforts.

Among the survey’s most striking findings is that many internal comms professionals remain unsure of what and how to measure. Perhaps because of that, 20% of respondents measure very little of their efforts, and 15% don’t measure at all. More than half (60%), however, measure at least some of their work.

According to survey respondents, there are three main benefits to measuring internal comms:

Stronger Employee Engagement

76% of internal comms professionals surveyed said measurement strengthens employee engagement. One practical way to use measurement to encourage engagement is through the process of audience segmentation. Creating targeted, segmented messaging builds trust, delivers more appropriate messaging and shows that engagement is a priority.

Also, companies with high employee engagement enjoy 6% higher profit margins than those with lower engagement.

Proof of ROI—and Support of Senior Executives

Everyone in the business world has been told they “better have the numbers to back it up” at some point—and that’s exactly what internal comms measurement provides.

Having firm data in hand helps communicators prove their departments’ worth (44%) and supports increasing department budgets (22%).

Data-Informed Decision Making

Communicators need to know the outcomes for all of their efforts to help them create the best game plan for their next project. And they can find those results through measuring their communications.

83% of survey respondents say measuring internal comms efforts helps them make data-informed decisions. 79% of those cited the ability to create stronger campaigns based on that data as a major benefit.

Start Benefiting from Communications Measurements

Want to see how (and why) other teams are measuring their internal communications efforts? Download our 2016 Internal Communications Survey Results.

PoliteMail Clients Named to Top 50 Companies by LinkedIn

LinkedIn on Thursday released the findings of its second annual Top Companies study with Alphabet once again taking top honors in the United States. Of the 50 stateside front-runners, 22% are currently using PoliteMail to create, send, manage, and measure internal email campaigns.  Similarly, 28% of the companies that made the Australian list are also using PoliteMail, with 16% of the German list and 8% of the UK list following suit. Congratulations to our clients across the globe for being recognized as a top place to work!

Background

The LinkedIn Insights Team analyzed billions of member interactions on the platform and focused on four key interest areas to create the list: jobs, brand, employees and employee retention. The analysis, conducted only on organizations with more than 500 employees, examined member engagement over a 12-month period that ended in February of this year. Both LinkedIn and its parent company, Microsoft, were excluded from the study.

The US companies highlighted in the report represent over 21 industries and employ over three million nationally. Unsurprisingly, high tech dominated the results, but financial and professional services firms also made strong showings.

To learn more about last year’s list, click here.

2016 Internal Communications Measurement Survey Results

PoliteMail Software commissioned Gill Research to conduct the 2016 Internal Communications Measurement Survey to examine how internal communications professionals define and measure the success of their efforts.

Nearly 600 internal comms professionals participated, giving us a deep look into the world of measurement: Who measures and to what extent, what challenges and obstacles they face, which channels and tools they use, and more.

Who Is Measuring?

90% of respondents are located in the Americas, and organizational size split almost evenly across three tiers: 37% have 1,000 or fewer employees, 34% have 1,001 to 10,000 employees, and 29% have more than 10,001 employees.

Although communicators are making an effort to measure internal communications efforts, most are still unsure of what to measure, how to measure success, and, in particular, how to measure behavioral changes. 20% of respondents admit they measure very little and 15% don’t measure at all. More than half (60%), however, measure at least some of their work.

Benefits of Measuring Internal Comms

Those who do measure internal communications cite a variety of benefits:

  • Stronger employee engagement (76%)
  • Support of senior executives (54%)
  • Proof of ROI (44%)
  • Larger internal communications budgets (22%)

Top Measurement Challenges

Since PoliteMail’s 2014 survey, more communicators report that lack of time, tools, and staff are the biggest obstacles to measurement. More than half of current respondents struggle with understaffing, which in turn makes it difficult for them to spend time on measurement.

  • Lack of time and/or personnel 63%)
  • Lack of tools (63%)
  • Lack of budget (42%)

Get the Complete Survey Results

The 2016 Internal Communications Measurement Survey found that despite the many challenges, communicators are refining their strategies to deliver maximum impact.

To learn more, download a copy of our complete 2016 Internal Measurement Survey Results. 

5 Ways to Measure Intranet Success

According to intranet and cloud solutions provider Aerie Consulting, the initial cost for setting up an intranet can reach more than $100,000 for larger companies.

Given such an investment, you should measure your intranet for the same reasons you would internal communications: to make informed strategic decisions, better engage employees (which can improve productivity by 20 to 25%), unearth workforce insights, identify key trends, and improve the overall ROI of your communications.

Here are five metrics to use when measuring your intranet’s effectiveness.

Traffic

Start by measuring how many employees visit your intranet. What percentage of your total workforce accesses it on a monthly basis? Are you increasing the number of visitors each month? Are there other trends?

By monitoring the participation rate, you can determine your intranet’s adoption rate and whether it’s improving or needs analyzing.

Bounce Rate, Click-Through & Time on Site

Analyze how employees interact with the site. Do they visit pages beyond the homepage (bounce rate)? How many pages do they view (click-through)? How long do they spend on each page?

Popular Content

Identify the most popular content by analyzing page views, time on site and site comments. Do users view financial updates, company news or softer cultural content? Do they take advantage of educational opportunities or productivity resources?

Leverage the information to ensure you’re creating a meaningful interaction that engages and makes them more efficient.

Common Searches

Do your employees use your intranet’s search function? Is the tool working properly?

Use search analytics to learn which terms are popular with employees. Is your content relevant to what your employees are looking for? If users are searching and visiting several of the results in a short amount of time, that may signal your content is lacking. Make sure your employees can find what they’re looking for.

Desired Actions Completed

Do you want employees to spend 90 seconds on an announcement page, or do you want them to fill out a crucial form? Set goals and compare specific metrics with corresponding data from other internal comms efforts to evaluate your intranet’s performance.

How to Measure Intranet Success

Google Analytics is one of the most popular choices for measuring intranet performance, but Piwik, Angelfish, and Woopra are worth considering, especially if you have open-source or on-premise needs. Sometimes, tracking capabilities are built directly into your intranet’s back end, but you can also leverage surveys and focus groups to gather data.

Put Intranet Data to Use

Look for trends in the intranet data to determine whether your adoption rate is growing, what types of content are performing well — and which areas need improvement. Then, use your findings to take action and increase your ROI.

Learn how to get the most from your internal emails, social media and other platforms. Download PoliteMail’s Guide to Internal Communications Measurement.

Key Trends in Engagement Research

Bloomberg’s Bureau of National Affairs estimates that $11 billion is lost annually due to employee turnover, which can often be attributed to employee disengagement. Additionally, Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees — those who continually express their unhappiness with work, which creates a toxic environment around them — cost the United States anywhere from $483 billion to $605 billion each year in lost productivity. Continue reading Key Trends in Engagement Research

3 Internal Email Metrics More Valuable Than Open Rate

You’ve just finished composing an important internal email communication, created a compelling graphic to grab your employees attention, and survived rounds of content edits and approvals. After rereading it a few more times, you hit send — now all that’s left to do is sit back and celebrate your successful broadcast (well that, and getting going on the next one)!

But the send is only half your success.  Did people read it? Now it’s time to consider the second half: measurement.

Why Measuring Internal Communications Makes a Difference

Think about all of the time you spend writing, reviewing and sending internal emails. You put in countless hours each week, and suffer through significant changes to content and style?  You’re not sure who’s approach is better.  What really works? If you aren’t measuring your communications, you can’t really answer that question. When you start tracking your email metrics, and comparing results of all your internal communications — then you will have the results to prove what works and improve what doesn’t.

Here are a few benefits of measuring your internal communications:

Whether you send to 1,000 employees or 100,000, the objective of your internal communications is to inform employees, educate and motivate them, and boost their engagement with your business. To make the most of what you’re doing, measurement can provide the insights you need, with the right metrics.

Looking at the Big Picture

It’s easy to get tunnel vision and focus just on your email open rate as a key performance indicator. On the surface, this seems like a good metric because it tells you how many employees read your message, right? Not quite.

Open rates are just a piece of the bigger picture when it comes to measuring your internal communications’ success — and they are usually misleading. Whether someone spends one second or 10 minutes on your email, the open count is the same. Depending on the email service you use, someone who reads your email may never be counted because they didn’t click to download images in the email.

Here are three more important email metrics that will give you a more accurate measurement of your internal communications’ performance.

#1: Time on Page

The key email metric is time on page, also known as the read rate. That tells you how long the person has the message opened — not just that they opened it.

By measuring the time on the page, you’ll have a much more accurate picture of if people are actually reading or ignoring your content.  You are sending the message for a reason, so you want to know if people are taking the time necessary to read it.

If not, you can change your content, your layout, and other message component and compare results to see what works to get your message read.  A read time metric is critical if you want to improve the value of you email messaging.

Of course, you’ll have the occasional employee who leaves the email open while they run to the break room, but a good analytics tool should factor that in.

#2: Click-Through Rates

This metric is pretty simple: The click-through rate is when someone clicks a link in your email.

For news and action oriented messages, it’s a great metric to measure your employees’ engagement.  You are trying to get someone to do something. You could link to a video, an internal blog or intranet news story, an online survey or social media page — whatever it is, it’s good to what percentage of our audience actually did it.  And if they didn’t click, but really need to, being able to reach back out to that specific group is essential to successful communications efforts.

It’s also beneficial to measure mobile and desktop click-through. According to an Experian email report, 58 percent of email opens occur on a mobile phone or tablet — so your click-through rates may be affected if your message isn’t mobile friendly, or if your content is not accessible via mobile devices.

#3: Email Engagement Vs. Employee Engagement

These metrics are related, but not the same. Email engagement is how interactive employees are with your digital communications over time. Consistently high readership and click through means high engagement. When you see engagement fall off, that is a leading indicator that you need a content refresh or a new messaging strategy.

Employee engagement might be a soft metric, but it is important to the executive suite, as higher employee engagement has been correlated to higher company profitability. Engaged employees also have higher morale and stay with the company longer. Employee engagement is typically measured through annual surveys or focus groups.

When employees are engaged with your digital communications, including email, likes and comments on your Intranet and company social channels, blog and social media interactions, they are more likely to rate higher on engagement surveys.

“Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.” —Timothy R. Clark, founder of LeaderFactor

Wondering how to get started with email measurement?

Ready to stop the guesswork and learn how to measure and get the most out of your internal communication efforts?

Download PoliteMail’s “Guide to Internal Communications Measurement.”

5 Reasons Internal Comms Teams Don’t Measure Their Email (And Why They’re Just Excuses)

What is the most important thing to your company: employees or customers? You can’t really have one without the other, making it a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg quandary.

So, you approach them the same: Measuring your internal communications’ success just like you do your external marketing’s success. (Oh, not quite?)

You’re not alone. In our online survey, 68 percent of the 776 communicators surveyed said they currently measure some internal communications. Of those who do measure, the majority measure 40 percent or less of their internal campaigns.

I hope that more of us can turn the rhetoric about measurement into reality. Data is the route to improving our practice, helping our colleagues make better communication decisions and gaining fresh insights into our audiences.

Liam FitzPatrick, managing partner, Working Communications Strategies

Why Should You Measure Internal Communications?

You probably know the benefits of using internal communications, like how it encourages company-wide engagement, improves employee morale, increases productivity and helps build employee loyalty.

But what about the benefits of measuring those communications? Here are just a few:

  • Highlights what’s working (and what isn’t)
  • Shows where your time would be better spent
  • Allows you to assess the success of your campaigns
  • Helps you know which channels to use for what messages

In short, once you see what your communications is doing effectively, you can put more of your resources toward those efforts.

Internal Versus External Communications

Your company’s internal communications measurement blueprint shouldn’t be much different from its external communications strategy: Measure audience, channels and interactions.

Think about it this way: You wouldn’t send thousands of email marketing messages out to your customers without measurement data — and you should approach internal communications with the same mentality, but using different tools optimized for internal comms.

While the benefits of measuring internal communications are clear, your team might still have some concerns. Luckily, there are pretty simple solutions for their five common excuses.

1. My Internal Communications Team Is Understaffed

You don’t hear communications teams complaining they have too many people on staff and too little work to manage. So it’s no wonder a lack of tools is the biggest roadblock teams face.

Fifty-four percent of communicators who measure their communications said their biggest challenge was the lack of tools, followed by lack of time (52 percent) and lack of manpower (50 percent).

Measurement doesn’t have to be hard, or require learning something new. Measurement tools that plug into their current workflow and make their jobs easier can help ease the burden. The data they produce will help teams prove their value by showing results to their internal clients.

2. We Don’t Have the Budget

This is a favorite excuse for not measuring internal communications — it appears financially responsible.

But there’s a good argument that says you can’t afford not to measure your internal communications.

Think about all of the time and effort that go into creating and sending internal email, then think about all the time you ask of employees to read those messages. Time is money! Shouldn’t you be spending those resources efficiently? To do that, you need to measure what’s working, and what isn’t.

3. We Don’t Have Access to the Data

You’ve collected data on page views and click-through. Great! Can you take action on it?

You’d be surprised how many communications teams aren’t able to view their own internal communications metrics. They have to request reports, and wait.

It’s important to use tools that give you easy access to the data. The more barriers you can eliminate for your communications team, the more likely they are to measure emails (and yield results).

4. We’re Unhappy With Our Measurement Tools

Maybe you’re using a low-cost email marketing tool — or got a good deal on an entry-level communications measurement tool — to save a little money. That sounds promising on the surface, but if your team isn’t actually using it because the data isn’t accurate, or if they don’t like it, or it creates more work than necessary, you’re really just throwing money away.

Not all measurement tools are created equal, so do your homework before deciding on one. Enlist the help of your communications team to test options and pick the one they will be happy with and actually use — because isn’t that the point?

5. We Don’t Know What to Measure

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers. What’s important is to focus on the measurements that align with your team’s goals.

First, figure out what’s important to you. Does it matter more if people open an email, or if they actually read it? Establish a baseline measurement, a set a time period to track key metrics against your improvement objective. Then make changes and compare results.

Here are some examples:

  • Increase recipients’ time on page by 20 percent within six months.
  • Increase your internal communications click-through rate on news articles by 10 percent within one year.

Your objectives should be challenging but not impossible. You don’t want your team’s next excuse to be that they aren’t measuring communications because they can’t meet expectations.

How To Start Measuring Internal Comms

email-measurement-mattersThe minute your team stops making excuses for why it isn’t measuring internal communications is when they’ll start having real success.

Ready to get the most from your internal communications? Download PoliteMail’s guide for tips and insights on how to measure your communications.