Internal Communication and Business performance
The importance of putting a stake in the ground
This is a perennial topic and even a festering sore-point for the vast majority of the organisations and individuals that we work with. We all know it’s an issue but it’s almost a matter of where to start… the pressure is on and the time is now.
Let me prove that with some of our own measurement! We produced a new Competency Model and assessment tool for Internal Communication around a year ago and it includes twenty competencies. Hundreds of professional Internal Communicators and teams have now completed the assessment and, by far, the lowest scoring competency across the board is ‘Measuring Impact’ with an average score of 2.3 (out of a possible 5) whereas the overall average score of all the competencies is 3.2. That’s a pretty significant gap and a great opportunity for improvement as we see it. We also surveyed around a thousand Heads of Internal Comms to understand what their current top priorities are and saw a major leap in terms of their perception of the importance of ‘Measuring Comms Effectiveness’ so the time was right for us to act.
Following our extensive research on this topic in the first half of this year we produced a study for our Forum members Measuring and Evaluating Internal Communication. In this report we broke the issue down into its component parts identifying what type of measurement method is suitable for which part of the issue and, crucially, which is not. The component parts identified were:
- Measuring our activities/outputs
- Measuring our ROI as a function through shared accountability with business-relevant KPIs and dashboards (outward facing)
- Measuring ourselves (inward facing).
We then considered the approach and outcomes of companies with demonstrable results and really smart ideas in each area, such as Shell, Nationwide, Deloitte and others as well as developing our own Melcrum tools and surveys.
What we’ve found is that when Internal Communication teams are measuring, it’s usually in the realm of the first point, measuring our activities, because frankly it’s easiest and we have control over it. Don’t get us wrong, that measurement has a place and we do need to do it sometimes, especially if we want to compare the relative success of one out-put or activity with another. However, Shell’s best practise teaches us that we can think about this type of measurement in a more dynamic way.