Why Measure Communication Effectiveness?
Before you begin measuring communication effectiveness, it’s important to have an internal communication strategy in place. There need to be established standards and protocols that employees follow in order to maintain consistency and have real data to measure. The main components to decide on for your communication strategy are:
- Who owns top-down communication?
- What are your communication goals and objectives?
- When and how frequently should communication occur?
- What technology will you use?
With process and technology behind communications at your organization, you can take meaningful baseline measurements, set goals, and carry out informed changes that allow you to reach your goals. Just like with any other business process, measurement is essential if you are to improve and evolve over time.
How to Measure Communication Engagement
How do you know if your communication strategy is working?
1. Ask Them!
Conduct a survey to find out employees’ attitudes toward communication at the company. Make sure to evaluate both sides of communication — top-down and peer to peer. Do employees feel like management keeps them informed both about their jobs and the company? Do employees feel like they can easily get into contact with a senior member of the team for information? Do employees feel like they can easily connect with their peers? Do they have trouble finding the information that helps them do their jobs? Do employees have any sense of community or camaraderie with their teams?
These types of questions will help you paint an accurate picture of communication at your organization. Before leaders at Vivint Smart Home began measuring communication, they were blind to the fact that they had a problem with their overall communication approach. After conducting an employee survey, they found that the number one problem plaguing their field workforce was poor communication. This came as a shock to management, as they sent out email blasts almost daily. Turns out, they were using the wrong mode of communication to reach the field workforce. With these insights they changed their strategy, switching from email to Zinc, a mobile-first, real-time communication platform that effectively reaches deskless workforces.
2. Leverage Communication Analytics to Track Activity and Message Engagement
One of the many benefits of having employees on a single communication platform is that you get a holistic understanding of communication patterns. Communication analytics are your window into what’s happening in the field day to day, as well as your way to measure communication engagement and set goals for improvement.
Zinc provides a range of analytics to give leaders insights into communication activity levels, networks, and preferences, as well as grassroots group creation and topic popularity. For example, Broadcast Metrics show who has read and interacted with a Broadcast message. This means accountability for the workforce and visibility into messages engagement for Broadcast senders. Activity Reports reveal the volume at which employees communicate as well as their favorite modes of communication, allowing you to tailor messages to your workforce’s preferences (videos, images, text, audio) in order to get the best engagement.
Group Reports provide invaluable visibility into group usage and creation. Which groups are the most heavily used? Are there newly created Ad hoc groups around a specific product or project that are really popular? This could signal a lack of training from management, leading technicians to pull together on their own to figure out what’s going on and share best practices. Is there a large Ad hoc troubleshooting group that should become Official so that all employees are added to it when onboarded? Understanding the data unique to your organization means you can start making improvements right away.
3. Refer to Employee Engagement and Retention Stats
While there are multiple factors that impact engagement, communication and culture are two central forces. For deskless workers, communication is how they get their jobs done. So when communication is broken or less than optimized, it adds a lot of friction and stress to their days. Add on top of that a culture that doesn’t make them feel valued, informed and included, and you’ve got a rotation of employees out of the door.
Employee retention is a further extension of employee engagement. Improvements in communication should be reflected in improved employee retention rates. This is a key reason many companies decide to prioritize communication, as employee turnover is extremely costly. Josh Bersin of Deloitte estimates the cost of losing an employee can range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5–2.0x the employee’s annual salary.