Ragan’s Communications Leadership Council, a membership community for senior communicators shaping the world’s best work cultures and brands, conducted an exclusive study on how the function is making use of communications technology. From budgeting and getting buy-in for new tools to what’s missing from communicators’ tech stacks, Ragan compiled a wide range of insights to help you better understand what tools are critical to the modern practice of comms.
According to the recent Ragan 2023 CommTech Report, available in full exclusively for Communications Leadership Council members, internal communicators face a number of obstacles and challenges ranging from how metrics are pulled and what tools they have at their disposal.
Having a plan to overcome every roadblock along the way — whether it’s a lack of enthusiasm or confusion around the larger strategy — will better equip communicators to prepare for the future. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look.
Sifting through internal comms data
Data without context is simply a group of abstract numbers. But with a backstory behind it, data collection can provide invaluable, qualitative insights into how your employees think and their attitudes.
Internal respondents said that metrics with origins in generative AI platforms (18%), internal social media platforms (19%), and employee experience portals (20%) were least able to provide useful and needed comms data. On the other side of the coin, survey respondents claimed that employee surveys and the metrics from newsletter software were the easiest to understand.
This is indicative of the overarching idea that more isn’t always better.
A key to better understanding could lie in training the right kinds of tools and prioritizing the ones that lend themselves to the highest level of understanding. For instance, generative AI has lots of potential going forward, but it’s so new and the dearth of information it’s able to provide leaves the door open to misinterpretation and inaccurate narratives.
However, using a classic tried-and-true employee survey allows comms pros to hear directly from the employees themselves, so seeing it as a preferred data method isn’t too surprising.As more tools come to the forefront, proper training on them will help add another arrow in the comms quiver.
Who’s pulling the data?
When you’re close to the numbers, it’s easier to glean narratives from them. According to the survey, either comms leaders or people from their teams are the ones rolling up their sleeves and getting into the metrics. Among internal respondents, 47% pulled the metrics themselves, while 41% reported that a direct team member was responsible for getting into the data.
While it might seem a little daunting at times, getting into the weeds with the data can have some benefits — it allows emerging comms leaders to uncover stories borne out by data that weren’t always apparent, and it can lead to a deeper understanding of existing issues and trends. Most importantly, it can build business fluency that helps communicators climb ever higher up the ladder.
What trends and challenges are you seeing in measurement and metrics? Check out the report’s executive summary and let us know what patterns are on your radar.
For more information on how to access the full report and become a member of Ragan’s Communications Leadership Council, reach out here.