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McKinsey: Smart internal communication metrics to measure success

Click-through, open, and click-to-open rates are all valuable ways to measure how your audience is engaging with internal communications, but diversifying the metrics you use can offer a more complete picture of what’s happening across the organization.

  • Why it matters: Developing more nuanced metrics will both help you quantitatively explain the value internal communications are adding to your organization and begin to help you draw a direct line between them and broader engagement and retention goals.

“The first thing that we try to do,” says McKinsey & Company Head of Lifecycle Engagement Joel Willcher, “is think about what's the behavior [we want to encourage] and how would we observe the behavior? If you don't know, it's hard to communicate that in a crisp way. And it's hard to track whether that's happening.”

Focus on the problem you’re trying to solve by digging into metrics that speak to both individual contributor views and company-wide sentiments — which means incorporating new tactics to get a full picture.  

💡 Four unique topics to track:

  • Employee satisfaction: Zero in on larger, more organization-wide opportunities with annual input. “We really focus on the annual employee health and satisfaction survey. The annual survey tells us how we are contributing to the overall atmosphere of the institution and the health and stickiness of our value proposition,” Joel said. That way, you can tackle the topics employees want to hear about most.
  • Employee emotion: Ask weekly how they’re feeling. It can go a long way in determining if they find their work meaningful. “Our people team does a weekly sentiment survey,” Joel said. “There's an open text box, and we learn a ton about what communications techniques are landing with folks. Because it is weekly, it's easier to recognize patterns.”
  • Employee energy: Employees put more effort into their daily tasks when they are engaged and have a sense of pride in their work. Survey employees with quick one-click polls to see how they are doing during their work week — and be ready to shift priorities or reallocate tasks when employees report burnout. “We spent a lot of time figuring out what kind of question people would appreciate being asked,” Joel said. 
  • Community building: Connections create a sense of belonging, which plays a large role in employee retention, or what Joel calls “employee stickiness.” By creating a true culture and community at your organization, employees are more likely to feel — and stay — aligned around the messages you send. Look at how many attend happy hours, what teams plan bonding events, and how colleagues are communicating with each other to get a general sense of how strong your community is. 

The bottom line: Focus on the behavior you want, then turn to opens and clicks and all the other metrics that annotate it, create feedback loops, and you’ll be able to see, track, and change trends in a much more powerful way.  

Go deeper: 7 ways to measure the success of internal communications

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