Measuring employee engagement in internal communication

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Recent studies show that over 60% of internal communicators are still not measuring internal communication. (Download the Survey report PDF).

As an internal communicator, you know it is important to measure the impact of your communication and prove your function’s business value. Yet most internal communicators are not measuring internal communication, which includes measuring employee engagement.

Why measure employee engagement? If you do not measure, you do not matter

Why are 60% of communicators not measuring internal communication? Most likely it is a combination of them not being sure where to start, not aware that it is imperative to prove the business value, and not aware of the technology that enables internal communication measurement.

Tips to help you jump-start access to internal communication metrics which will support measuring employee engagement

Use up-to-date technology
Conduct a channel audit. Identify where you need to update your channel technology (such as email and intranet) to software that delivers the real-time metrics and analytics you need.
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Be resourceful: easily quantify your impact

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The person hiring you next will want to know what difference you’ve made in the past. The past is not always a guide to the future, but most employers and clients see it as an indicator.

They want it in clear concise measurable, and ideally easily verifiable terms. This is true for traditional permanent staffers and freelancers on the move alike – not to mention those who are willing to give their skills away pro bono: the recipient should still look for proof to ensure a good match.

It is how I’ve hired (and been hired) since the nineties and the good practice guidance out there reinforces the importance of this point, whether you read the classic What Colour is Your Parachute, this handy Interview Guide from Berkeley (PDF) or the direct advice from companies like Google.

Show the employer that you are a good fit with detailed examples of times when you successfully used the skills they seek. The Berkeley Job & Internship Guide

Many people struggle with this and come up short. You don’t want to know how many people with otherwise good CVs have made a wasted journey to an interview where they then failed to use data to set out the measurable difference they made. It is a lot of people.

Basically, a good interview answer is in its concise essence structured like this:

Faced with challenge X I did Y which resulted in Z. Whatever you’re starting these days it will most likely have a digital footprint – and this makes for easy illustrations – both qualitative and quantitative. Because a good Z is made up of both.

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Golden evaluation directs better communication

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Pulitzer? Nobel? Oscars? Difficult choices to select winners – and a challenge I had sympathy with as an evaluator for the IABC Gold Quill awards recently, A very hard task – but one that is also fulfilling and fascinating.

It’s a hard task because the standard of all the entries from IABC colleagues is high, fascinating to see the range of challenges and innovative solutions and fulfilling to be able to give feedback – and for the very best: special awards. The programme has now be running for 40 years and attracts entries from 25 plus countries from Argentina to New Zealand.

You may ask why do so many busy communicators take the time and trouble to enter?

For it’s not just a question of putting work samples in the post. Within specific categories like communication management, research and training, entrants complete a detailed form including work plans and work samples. Through this process, they are helped with support and advice from the IABC organisers with the well named Midas Touch.

There’s also information and support for the evaluators such as myself. And note – it is evaluator – not judge. When reviewing the entries, evaluators are expected not only give marks but also comment with the aim of giving not just praise but also constructive evaluation. So every entry is a winner – they all receive invaluable feedback to direct better communication.

Over the years Gold Quill has developed: a recent initiative being two evaluators for each entry. We all have out passions and prejudices and to ensure an objective assessment, each evaluator has a partner. Scores and comments from each are reconciled for the final submission.

Virtual judging

For 2015 I opted to be a virtual judge, working online and my “other half” was Andrey Barannikov, CEO of SNP, a communication agency in Moscow (@spncomms). When it came to reconciling our marks on our eight entries it turned out that we shared similar reactions in the main. There were a few differences – he was tough sometimes and I was tougher on others but overall scores were remarkably similar – which was very reassuring.

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4 ways to use data to tell stories

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I’m a contrarian about the “big data” revolution. I fear a world where corporate communication and marketing focuses on data at the exclusion of the human beings those numbers represent.

On the other hand, I’m a strong believer that this proliferation of data analysis, when fused with qualitative insights and human storytelling, can bring stories to life like never before. Increasingly, we are seeing how compelling use of data, combined with strong storytelling, can create memorable narratives in journalism, in entertainment, and in marketing and communications.

Here are four key ways that communication professionals can combine data and storytelling to create a particularly compelling way of understanding the world.

1. Let research and data show the scope and scale behind human stories

Journalists have perfected the craft of making human experiences the face of a story, while then using available data to talk about the broader context of that story.

Today, marketers and corporate communicators have more opportunity than ever before to connect research and data with stories of real people—whether through the content the company is publishing directly or in the stories that they pitch to media outlets. But many organizations have not invested in the resources and skills to conduct robust data analysis, or—on the other end of the spectrum—have become so enamored with data that the numbers aren’t being connected with examples that take us deep into the context of what these trends mean in people’s lives.

Global professional services firm EY (disclosure: a client of mine) has become a master at making this connection. EY has long been known for having its finger on the pulse of entrepreneurship.

And, increasingly, EY has demonstrated that knowledge and connection with entrepreneurs by highlighting entrepreneurs’ individual stories alongside regular quantitative research on global entrepreneurship patterns. The result is a steady, year-round set of stories that demonstrates both the breadth of entrepreneurship trends happening around the globe and the depth of stories of individual entrepreneurs in their particular market.

2. Draw direct connections between data analysis and on-the-ground stories

Too often, even when organizations attempt to combine quantitative insights with case studies, the connection between the two is not that direct.

That’s why stories in which individual anecdotes connect quite directly into larger data sets can be particularly valuable, such as iSeeChange, an initiative of Localore and KVNF Mountain Grown Community Radio in Western Colorado.

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