Host: Today on ICTV, Sean Williams, communications and analytics expert, sheds light on how to get started with measurement to assess the impact of your internal employee communications strategy on your company’s objectives.
Sean Williams: You want to do what’s possible. Ideally all of us would do marketing, mixed modeling, advanced statistics, and we’d be able to account for every conceivable input into what people are thinking, feeling, and doing out there in the enterprise, right? So we can say definitively when the CEO said, “Well, how much should it cost us to generate that level of awareness among our employees?” We’d be able to say, “Here’s the cost.” But there are so many different inputs that it’s really hard to isolate any specific tactic.
We say “Get started with what’s possible”, which may mean that you’re going to count clips at the beginning. For example, at one company where I worked, where we instituted this process even well before the research happened, one of the things we did is, we said, “we want to just get a feel for what the content is we’re producing and what it’s about.” So we did, actually, a content analysis of what it is we are covering. What they did is they went through everything that was on the intranet over the course of two years, and then they counted the number of stories that apply to geographic business units.
What we found is in an organization that aspired to be a global company, that about 90% of the content we were creating was based in the United States, and about the United States. So that meant when we looked at the statistics for our intranet platform, it was no surprise that 98% of our traffic was coming from the U.S. People just didn’t think there was anything that would be relevant for them going to that intranet. As a consequence, a company that was in 90 countries there were like 80 different employee intranets. We started with that sort of simple thing of like where are we now given our aspirations and what our strategy says, what are we covering now? And so then we created our plan, and we said we want to have a more accurate representation of the geographic footprint and business footprint of our company reflected in the material that we’re presenting. And as a consequence of that, we were able to actually create a strategy, and start doing that, and in the first year we flipped that from about 90% U.S. to about 40% U.S. We actually tripled the overall traffic to the intranet within two years, and there was actual proof that what we had done had begun having an impact on the way people thought and believed and felt about the organization.
So if you take nothing else away from this discussion, it’s to get the objectives right, do what you can do, and then go out and take a look at the standards, and see how the internal employee communication measurement standards can relate to your organization. When you align your strategy with the outputs, the outcomes, and the business impact that we’re talking about, then you increase dramatically your relevancy. You make yourself less of the person who does the intranet and much more the person who helps the organization meet its business objectives.
Host: If you like this episode of ICTV, share it and subscribe. To see the other episodes in our ROI series, go to theemployeeapp.com/videos/. If you want to take these skills to the next level or learn more from Sean Williams, check out the online Master’s of Arts in Media and Communication program at Bowling Green State University where Sean teaches.
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