November is measurement month

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By Suzy Giles

For the whole of November, AMEC (The International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication) is holding a measurement month. What does that mean for communications professionals around the world? Access to resources, events, online chats and webinars – some of them free to access. It’s a great initiative and has made me think again about how I should be measuring the work I do.

In the education sector, for a long time, measurement was seen as something that the marketing team did effectively, while measuring the impact of communications was based around AVEs and how many stories were pushed out that month. But things have changed significantly in recent years, thanks to the impact of digital. With reduced budgets across the sector, increased competition and the yet, unknown, but impending impact of government decisions such as BREXIT, the need to measure the impact of communications work is probably greater than ever. So, taking time to look at what measurement professionals are doing in this area is time well spent for all of us.

An area I feel passionately about is the need to measure the impact of what an organisation does internally, as well as what it does externally. An often over looked area of measurement compared to what we evaluate from external communications, but it shouldn’t be.

So, I was keen to take part in the AMEC webinar on the 5th November on measuring and evaluating internal communications.

Professor Julie O’Neil, from Texas Christian University and Sean D. Williams, from True Digital Communications, took us through the evolution of how we’ve measured communications. A good reminder that we need to move on from the quantitative measurement to some real evaluation of the impact of the work we do. At an organisational level the potential impact of internal communications is huge, especially in times of organisational change. Some useful takeaways for me were:

  • Move away from concentrating on the “outputs” – how many stories are on your intranet. Simple I know, but I’m also aware of global organisations who still don’t move on from this.

  • Find various ways to evaluate the “outtakes” – what people have actually understood from your internal communications. Have you moved their knowledge and understanding of a subject? Look at what they say on social channels, are more people searching for a particular topic on your intranet? Ask people. Julie gave the example of an internal information campaign at Texas Christian University on what to do if there is an active shooter on campus, and the importance of checking staff actually received that information.

  • Think about how to evaluate the “outcomes” – what is the impact for the organisation? Has trust in leadership improved? Have you created greater advocacy amongst colleagues? Surveys are the most common way to measure this but there are other things you can consider – staff retention or performance reviews.

  • Think about the organisational impact first – what do you want people to ‘think’, ‘feel’ or ‘do’ as a result of internal communications.

I’m a firm believer that organisations who don’t invest in good internal communications expertise won’t achieve the successes they could, since the value of staff as brand advocates is so high in today’s digital world. One look on Glassdoor will open many CEOs’ eyes. My favourite quote from Julie and Sean’s presentation: “Measure to improve – not just to prove”

Take a look at AMEC measurement month: and follow the hashtag: #AMECMM

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