Finding your way through the measurement maze

About the author

Kevin is a co-founder of PR Academy and is the author of Exploring Internal Communication published by Routledge. Kevin leads the CIPR Internal Communication Diploma course. PhD, MBA, BA Hons, PGCE, FCIPR, CMgr, MCMI.

Hits, views, likes, mentions, re-tweets. Sentiment. ROI.

There are now many more ways to assess internal communication. At CIPR Inside, we decided what was needed is a set of principles to help practitioners through the maze.

We ran a summit with leading experts providing their take on how to approach measurement. We consulted with practitioners. Then we thought hard and the experts re-gathered to consolidate all the thinking into a one page measurement matrix, based on seven dimensions:

Channels: are they working?

Content: are employees getting the information they want and need?

Conversations: are people communicating effectively?

Voice: are there adequate opportunities for people to have a say?

Sentiment: what do employees think and feel about the organisation?

Behaviour: has employee behaviour been influenced by communication?

Return on investment (ROI)

The matrix makes it clear that using output measures is not enough. Outcome measures, identified in the matrix as sentiment, behaviour and ROI are often much more meaningful. Of course, the last of these, ROI, has a limited application only when other factors that impact results can be isolated.

Research and measurement is all part of developing a stronger professional basis for what we do. It is hardwired into the CIPR internal communication certificate and diploma and is linked to setting measurable objectives.

The real challenge is to embed this into day-to-day internal communication planning that supports business objectives, though sometimes business objectives can be hard to identify.

Measurement is not the be all and end all of professional practice, it is one part of ensuring what we do that adds value and enables organisations to perform better. However, simply measuring how many newsletters are produced or the hits on an intranet is never going to establish what we do as a strategic and valued function.