Demonstrating the return on investment of internal communications campaigns is essential for organizations looking to justify their efforts and resources in this critical area. While it can be challenging, proving the impact of these campaigns to internal stakeholders is not only possible but crucial for continued support.
Here, Forbes Communications Council members explore effective methods for showcasing the ROI of internal communications initiatives, backed by real-life examples that illustrate the power of these strategies in action.
1. Go Beyond Standard Metrics
Incorporate clear calls to action, such as “share on LinkedIn” or “refer a friend” so you can measure real engagement. This also allows for a cost analysis, weighing campaign expenses against the benefits. For instance, we can compare the qualified referrals acquired in this campaign against the typical expenses incurred by HR for referrals. – Maria Amalia Rojas, XWECAN
2. Develop Objective-Centered Campaigns
Internal communications campaigns should be developed in support of specific objectives, so the measurement must tie back to those key performance indicators. If it’s an awareness campaign, you might run surveys to test overall awareness. Email open rates or engagement (click-throughs) will give you some leading indicators but, ideally, you would also want to track behavior change (a lagging indicator) to judge impact. – Bethany Hale, Newfront
3. Put ROI Into Action
There are many metrics available, but to highlight the three that we use in our own intranet ROI calculator, we use benchmarked data showing the impact of effective communications on employee retention, productivity and onboarding. If you can give employees a faster way to self-serve and find HR policies, for example, you reduce admin burden and associated costs. That’s ROI in action. – Scott Hitchins, Interact Software
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4. Connect Communication Metrics To Business Outcomes
While communication metrics are critical to illustrate the impact of communication strategies, you’ve got to connect them to business outcomes. In a period leading up to and following a mega-merger, my team and I connected reach and content metrics to organizational health and voluntary attrition scores. We correlated results on trust and belief in future states to reduced attrition. That’s ROI! – Mark Dollins, North Star Communications Consulting
5. Seek Suggestions And Adapt Quickly
I was part of a large global rollout of digital signage capabilities across 200-plus manufacturing facilities to connect unwired employees to information. We leveraged a simple email-based feedback loop that welcomed content suggestions and contributed to an over 40% increase in overall engagement. – Christy Thompson, Milliken
6. Give Employees Face Time
A hybrid work environment challenges us to effectively unite employees from diverse locations under one virtual roof. Email alone doesn’t cut it for internal communications. We give employees “face time” with executive leaders via brief videos and scheduled team update meetings. ROI comes through both employee engagement and penetration of new client offerings that have been pushed through internal communications. – Matt Naeger, Merkle
7. Take A Holistic Approach
Two of the goals of internal communications is to drive employee engagement and transparency by sharing information. Tactically, you can measure open rates or engagement of individual emails, newsletters, Slack or Team messages and more. But, at a more holistic level, it may be more meaningful to look at the trend of eNPS data and employee engagement survey metrics and qualitative responses. – Rekha Thomas, Path Forward Marketing LLC
8. Use Visible And Invisible Metrics
Invisible metrics are the “behind the scenes” metrics—open rate, click-through rate, read versus scan, event attendance and so on. Visible metrics are feedback mechanisms provided to employees, such as “rate this newsletter” or an event digital survey. Coupled with a short annual survey on how our people feel about the volume and cadence of communications, these provide a comprehensive picture. – Karen Quinn, Finastra
9. Align Metrics With The Goals Of Specific Internal Audiences
To show the impact of a communications campaign, you should align metrics with the business goals of specific internal audiences, be it senior leadership, department heads or frontline employees. For strategic decision-makers, details—such as the number of likes on social media—may not matter as much as metrics demonstrating increased employee engagement and tangible impact on productivity. – Astrid Pocklington, Enghouse Interactive
10. Solicit Feedback At Planned Intervals
There’s nothing more valuable than employee feedback, and soliciting this at planned intervals in a variety of formats is the key to measuring the ROI of your internal communications. You can (and should) provide reports of all email marketing efforts and other messaging performance, but feedback from surveys and small focus groups is invaluable and will help you show the effectiveness of your messaging. – Victoria Zelefsky, The Menkiti Group