Quick: how are your internal communications doing?
Are they effective? Does your frontline read them? Are they driving your organization’s core business outcomes?
If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you’ve got a problem. Internal communication can drive employee productivity, operational efficiency, even boost retention rates – if it’s effective. And that’s a big if.
In other words: if you’re not able to measure the effectiveness of your internal communications, you might be missing out.
And, unfortunately, a lot of frontline organizations are missing out. According to The Deskless Report, 59% of frontline workers say the communications they receive aren’t useful, even though 86% of leaders said they’re sending meaningful communications.
This kind of disconnect arises when organizations don’t measure the effectiveness of their internal communications. Without any way to track what’s resonating (and who is reading what) communications leaders aren’t armed with the insight they need to tweak and improve. As Peter Drucker put it, “What gets measured gets managed.”
Here are 5 reasons why every communications leader needs to measure the effectiveness of their internal communications:
1. You might not be reaching your entire workforce
There are a number of reasons why a frontline organization’s internal communication strategy can inadvertently exclude some of its workforce. Sometimes it’s a channel issue: if an organization uses email to share information with its frontline, they might not have an up-to-date email list. Or, it might be an accessibility issue, with some workers not able to use certain tools or channels – or requiring translations to read the information.
How tracking your internal communications can help: There’s a workforce metric that every deskless and frontline organization should be intimately familiar with: reachability. Your reachability rate is the number of employees that you can communicate with compared to your full workforce. If you have low reachability, you don’t have access to a large portion of your workforce. Low reachability can also be a warning sign that your communication channels are ineffective, hard to access, or confusing to use.
Tracking your reachability rate can be simple or complex, depending on the communication tools you have in place. For example, getting a reachability rate from your email list might be difficult because you’d need to take into account not just how many email addresses you have, but if any are outdated – and even then, you can’t be sure that your staff is actually accessing the email address on file. On the other hand, a digital communication platform makes calculating reachability simple (at Nudge, for example, we consider users reachable if they’ve used our app in the past 90 days).
2. You might have too many channels
Quick: what’s your SOP for disinfecting high-traffic areas? Where are your store opening guidelines? Where do you keep your brand values and mission statement? If you have more than one answer to where these pieces of information are kept, there might be a channel issue happening. We’ve said it before: information shouldn’t be a treasure hunt. Frontline staff need to access info in real time to address customer needs and execute on operational tasks quickly.
How tracking your internal communications can help: A big part of measuring the effectiveness of your internal communications is keeping a close eye on your channels. With the right tracking in place, you’ll be able to easily see who is going where for what – and slim down your tech stack accordingly.
Build a central employee hub for your frontline workers with Nudge! Our Quick Links feature allows you to corral your tools into one central place – LMS, shift scheduling, HRIS, you name it – right within the Nudge app!
3. You might be sharing the wrong information…
Even the best-laid campaigns can go awry. When you’re building out a communication strategy to prepare your staff for, say, an upcoming promotion or menu changes, you might miss the mark – even if you’ve got the right tools in place.
And without any way to track the effectiveness of your communications, you’re at risk for bigger problems around workforce preparedness. When your staff isn’t fully prepared for a key event, it can lead to inconsistent CX, inefficiencies, and poor launch performance – even lost revenue.
How tracking your internal communications can help: Having the ability to monitor and track preparedness ensures that you can adjust or re-launch communications, and make sure every employee is getting what they need. With the right analytics in place, you can stay agile in your communications, and make changes as you go. They also allow communications teams to apply learnings from past campaigns to future ones. For example: maybe sharing details about a new product a month out was too far in advance, and your staff forgot about it. Or maybe the information you thought was most relevant wasn’t tactical enough.
Keep in mind that workforces are always changing, with some generations leaving and new ones joining. The best way for communication teams to stay on top of what information resonates – and empowers – employees at scale is to take a data-driven approach.
4. …Or not enough information…
Sometimes, the problem isn’t about sharing the wrong information – it’s about the information being hidden, or missing altogether. When you’re not sending out enough information, knowledge gaps can occur. A knowledge gap is a disconnect between what you need your employees to know and what they actually know.
Unfortunately, these knowledge gaps are far too common. According to Gartner, 70% of employees don’t have mastery of the skills needed to succeed in their role. Another study found that sales employees at a company didn’t know about or understand 22% of the product’s features.
And these gaps can lead to some serious concerns. Safety gaps on the factory floor, for example, can lead to workplace accidents. Product knowledge gaps can lead to poor customer experiences, and menu knowledge gaps can even lead to health emergencies.
How tracking your internal communications can help: Using a digital communication platform with robust analytics baked into the tool ensures you can track everything from read rates to task execution – but more importantly, you can use knowledge testing quizzes to quickly identify the information you need to send out, pronto.
5. …Or too much information
Ah, information overload. The bane of every communication leader’s existence. Information overload takes place when an employee receives more information than they can process. It can occur in frontline organizations when there are too many communication channels, too many updates, or the information being shared is too long. It can cause mental health issues, productivity hits, morale issues, knowledge gaps and even safety concerns
How tracking your internal communications can help: With the right communication tools in place, you can track red flags like low read rates and channel drop-off to identify information overload. But you can also leverage feedback loops through pulse surveys, employee forums, and even focus groups to learn more about how your frontline feels about the volume of information you’re sending out.
Tracking the effectiveness of employee communications can provide communications teams with valuable insights around not just the success of the updates they’re sharing, but also the timing and volume of their communications, and the tools they’re using to share them.