Measuring the impact of Internal Comms | S2 E26

First published: 28 September, 2021

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Engaging Internal Comms Series 2
Engaging Internal Comms Series 2
Measuring the impact of Internal Comms | S2 E26

Measuring the impact of Internal Comms

Andrea Scarpulla is the latest guest to sit down with Craig Smith for the Engaging Internal Comms Podcast. Bringing over 15 years of experience in corporate communications to her current role at DHL Americas, with the company as a whole operating with more than 380,000 staff across 220 countries.

DHL specialises in bringing fast and efficient logistics to organisations across the world, helping them trade securely and sustainably. As Head of Internal Communications, it is Andrea’s job to help employees based in the Americas engage with the organisation’s messages, but this can be challenging with such a diverse workforce.

Andrea helped establish an internal podcast for DHL Americas which gained such popularity that it was rolled out onto other platforms and made available to the public. It covers a lot of general business topics which are very relevant to the 21st-century workforce.

Andrea tells Craig Smith how the methods and initiatives she has used make this engagement possible and how those in the profession can use all types of data to measure the impact of their work.

Why is measuring the impact of Internal Comms important?

Looking to see how well internal communications have been received by employees can be an afterthought for those in the industry. Some often feel the true impact cannot properly be measured, but this is something Andrea contests.

She feels that data can indicate how engaged employees are across an organisation. Andrea says the creation of some form of metric for measuring the impact of internal comms, allows leadership to see which messages are being best received and ultimately being put into action. However, she does acknowledge that there is not a ‘one size fits all method’ for measuring the impact of internal comms as each organisation is different and measurement should be tailored to suit different types of employees.

How to measure internal comms impact

There are a range of tools those in internal comms can use to help determine if they are being successful in sharing company messages. Some are simpler than others, but all can indicate what influence it is having.

  • Email analytics – Andrea outlines this as her most basic measurement tool, one she uses on a day-to-day basis. This includes things like click-through rates and the amount of time spent on a page, showing her which information employees are engaging with the most. Despite this, she notes that open rates are often not as useful, as a click-through shows an employee is wanting more information on a topic. Views, likes and comments are also great for deciding which trending topics are driving engagement.
  • Intranet – Tools like Yammer can provide vital data for those looking to measure the level at which their content is being engaged with. It is easy to see how many people a post has reached, with both likes and comments displaying what employees are taking on board. Andrea outlines this as a great way to start conversations, particularly when it comes to running internal campaigns and connecting workers to both vision and purpose.
  • Internal communication surveys – One of the more sophisticated methods of measurement according to Andrea, surveys can offer a great insight into what employees want to see from their internal comms teams. Things like pulse surveys can help illustrate what topics relate to employees, while more in-depth research can offer a broader range of data.

Acting upon internal comms data

While listing her favourite tools, Andrea consistently outlined the need to put the data collected to use. However, just quantitative use of numbers and statistics alone isn’t enough to discover what employees want. In the past, Andrea has held focus groups on the back of her surveys to complement this and ‘fill in the gaps.’

Presenting this data to an organisation’s leadership can be a great way to map out the future for its internal comms strategy. If employees have said they want to receive more visual or audio information for example, then the data collected is what can be used to justify this change.

“Sometimes it is a matter of wanting to do these surveys to capture the trends year-on-year and to see how our workforce is changing,” Andrea said. “We’re dealing with different generations in our workforce and the way they want to receive information varies.”

The trends employees want to see

With this diverse workforce in mind, Andrea admits that her approach to communications needs to be flexible for different types of employees. Through her most recent research and using tools like surveys, she has noticed some changes in the ways DHL staff are looking to receive information.

The most notable change for Andrea is a desire to be communicated to through visual means. Infographics and photos were most in demand in her most recent survey, as well as video content. All this links to the main strategy Andrea is currently working on, which is an attempt to cut back on text.

Andrea has underlined some challenges with this change of approach. When leadership need certain messages translated a visual approach may not always be appropriate. Furthermore, she notes that it can consume more of her time and this strategy may not be the most relevant for offline and frontline employees.

The challenges of communicating with non-office based staff can also be relevant for remote workers and this puts an emphasis on the work of HR representatives and supervisors to help overcome this. One solution that DHL has introduced is an employee app which gives these workers access to the company’s intranet content. To help gain more feedback from this part of the business Andrea has run competitions in the past which give employees the chance to win a prize if they complete a survey.

How to get started when measuring impact

Having proven how data around internal comms can boost performance through her work, Andrea shares with Craig several tips those in the industry can take away from this episode to help them get started in this field.

  1. Platform – Before any IC data can be put into practice, a reliable platform where it can be recorded is needed. PoliteMail is one software tool Andrea knows can help perform this, but she is using another tool called Bananatag in her current role.
  2. Know what to measure – Finding out the messages that are most important to the company’s leadership and stakeholders, as well as what employees want to see is important.
  3. Trial different methods – Andrea stressed how essential it is to not repeatedly deliver these messages in the same way. This could be experimenting with video or audio content to see what is received best, using data to back this up. She highlighted Canva as a great platform to help create visual content such as infographics.
  4. Become creative with delivery – How messages are displayed to employees can often dictate what impact it makes. Techniques such as storytelling and people-focused content are often better received, as well as things like clickable subject lines.
  5. Analyse your data – Utilising all the above should provide those in IC with a host of different metrics on how their messages are being received. Taking the time to sit down and investigate which aspects are performing well is the most crucial part when it comes to determining impact.

Useful links:

LinkedIn profile – https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrea-scarpulla-99120531/

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