3 steps to boost execs’ trust in internal communications

Going by instinct will get you and your team only so far. Data analysis can help guide your decision-making and give your hard metrics to show your senior leaders.

Many internal communicators rely on a gut feeling—and, granted, they’re often right.

Still, how does that play at the senior executive level?

That’s why those responsible for employee messaging find themselves wringing their hands and wondering how to become a “trusted strategic counselor.”

Internal communications should take a major step toward a greater focus on data and insights and their impact on the business. There’s no need to lose the empathy and the gut feeling; just be more consistent with that extra, more analytical, skill set.

Here are three things you can change easily:

1. Bring together all the data you have and review them weekly.

Every internal comms team has valuable data that can provide real insight. Make that review the first part of every team meeting. Look at hits on your intranet, most-read news items, where people are interacting on internal social media, feedback from town halls, and so on. Doing this builds the habit and reinforces—to the team and to wider stakeholders—its importance.

2. Allocate money in your budget for measurement.

The rule of thumb for PR is that 10 percent of your budget should be spent on analysis and measurement. Internal communications audiences are more self-contained and easier to analyze than the general public, but you should set aside at least 5 percent for that purpose.

3. Measure what you own.

Put together a scorecard of the higher-level metrics you’ll use to quantify success, and clearly identify their link to specific and overall business objectives. Beware of signing on for extraneous benchmarks.

Employee satisfaction metrics are a double-edged sword. Even world-class messaging can have uncertain impact on staff engagement, and you could be held accountable for factors beyond your influence. On the other hand, if you’re the custodian of the essential metrics, you can be a powerful influencer of change.

Ben Matthews works in employee communications at eBay. A version of this post first appeared on LinkedIn.


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