How can we effectively measure the return on investment (ROI) for Internal Communications?
If you have ever been part of an Internal Communications (IC) team or been on the agency’s side creating campaigns for Internal Communications, you may wonder what really is return on investment (ROI) for IC or know that few have paid much attention to measuring its impact. Yes, I have been there too.
Not many of my clients come to me with the question on how we can measure ROI but I was recently happily surprised at the ask from a new client we just got on board. And so today, I want to talk about just a few ways in which we could approach ROI on IC, how it can be done and the tools one can use.
Let’s also understand however, that proving return on investment for Internal Communications is not something that has been done extensively, as it is rarely an expectation and the tools used to measure, require an investment. Therefore there will always be room for improvement and room to really add more to your measurement matrix.
Before we get into the nitty gritty’s, we can safely say that we know that IC has a direct impact on productivity and employee behavior which can directly correlate to customer satisfaction. So while we may be able to capture quantifiable data on the subject, capturing the qualitative which is your change in employee behavior and productivity levels could be a little bit more challenging:
First let’s look at broadly what should the 3 major metrics be:
• Reach: How many employees is your IC reaching. Tools can capture Page Visits and Logins; How many and how often they access company intranet on mobile
• Engagement: How are they engaging with your content and platform: Tools can capture likes, shares, comments on a post & how many views videos received. How complete is each employee’s profile also accounts for effectiveness of IC strategy?
• Behavior: How is their behavior changing within the organization. What are they doing differently? Are they taking the right actions on internal policies; or participation in programmes with leadership; are they giving customers a much better experience. Focus group discussions and surveys can tell us more.
While some data (quantitative and qualitative) data can be captured on existing intranets and internal systems to understand how engaged your employees are, newer tools may need investment, to give you accuracy and help you set a benchmark to work with. There are multiple tools that track email activity and many that are included in web and mobile intranet applications. These tools can capture a range of data e.g.:
1. How active members are and when are they logging in
2. How many read or send a message through at least one channel
3. How many files were uploaded and downloaded
4. The percent of messages made in public channels
One of our clients, a top insurance company wanted to increase engagement and employee activity on their IC platform – Yammer and subsequently increase employee numbers on LinkedIn. Measuring the quantitative ROI was pretty straightforward, we had to observe engagement figures and the no of followers on both platforms, but if we had to do a deep-dive into the qualitative data capture, having a series of FGDs would have helped, but of course at the time, the measurement metrics were different. The question remains, as an outside agency, how internal can we get, how can we understand the pulse of employees and are organisations open to let an outsider in?