Tag Archives: internal communications

consolidate internal comms channels

Should You Consolidate Your Internal Comms Channels?

Executives don’t always know what they want or need when it comes to internal communications.

In a PR Week column, Philips ASEAN Pacific’s head of communications, Elaine Ng, calls internal communicaitons “highly underrated” among executives, and made the argument that it’s widely misunderstood. That’s why the first reaction execs often have is to scale back, simplify and consolidate internal communications channels.

That’s not always the wrong decision, but it’s not always the right one, either.

In a sweeping 2015 post on his blog, Holtz Communication + Technology’s Shel Holtz makes the case that internal communications should always be a separate discipline from PR and other external communications. He also pushed back against the idea that internal communications is just about sending mass emails to employees.

“One distribution tactic…does not comprise the employee communications discipline as practiced by the best communicators and organizations,” Holtz writes.

If anything, Holtz seems to be arguing that expanding the number of channels—not consolidating—is the path to healthy, effective internal comms. This blog itself has laid out the benefits of a strategic communications approach targeting different audiences with different communication techniques.

Yet there’s a reality executives and communicators can’t deny: Sometimes, communications methodologies become outdated or simply don’t work to begin with. It’s a waste of time and resources to keep investing in that particular channel.

The problem is that communicators and executives often don’t know if communications channels are working or not, because they don’t have any mechanism by which to measure their effectiveness. They’re simply making decisions in darkness, by gut feeling or as a reaction to a handful of employee comments.

The answer to the question of whether you should consolidate your internal comms channels isn’t a blanket yes or no. It all depends on what’s working and what isn’t. If your analytics show that a channel is waning in effectiveness or never was effective, drop it or fold it into something else. But it’s also valuable to try new approaches and evaluate new channels to see if they catch on.

Either way, measurement is imperative. It’s the only way to know for sure that you’re making the right choices and connecting strongly with employees.

To learn more about how communicators are measuring their communications efforts—if they are at all– download PoliteMail’s 2016-2017 Internal Communications Survey Results.

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.

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. 

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.”

Christmas in July

Big ships are slow to turn.  Large enterprise customers make very deliberate and careful decisions.  The benefits of measuring and improving employee email communications using Outlook email analytics are often understood within an hour.  The process of making business cases, technical and security reviews, and procurement cycles in companies of 25,000, 50,000, 100,000 and 300,000 employees occurs, due to the very nature of their size, in slow motion.

Which is why the end of the fiscal year and the beginning of the new one is so exciting.  Communicators may have been waiting literally years to get modern email communication tools.  The approval process crawls forward, as the email analytics project slips through the hoops to arrive as an item within the enterprise budget cycle.  Then, seeming suddenly, this month and next, the flood gates open.  Email measurement finally has a budget, the technical and data security light is green, we’re moving ahead.  Now, after months or years of evaluation, the question becomes how fast can we get it implemented?  Yes, it’s a joy to tear open the wrapping isn’t it?!