To start, I’d like to tell you a true story about the history of navigation at sea, which will help show the relevance and importance of measurement.Back in the early 1700s and before that, sailors could not be certain of their location at sea, not until they hit land, at least – and sometimes not even then.Even sailors with great intuition and great skills.There are any number of explorers who thought they were somewhere they weren’t. Columbus is an example of that! When he arrived in the Caribbean, he thought he was in India. That’s why those islands are called the West Indies.
Why? Well back then sailors only knew their latitude. That’s the distance one is from the equator.They had the tools to figure out how far they were in relation to the equator, but, they didn’t know their longitude – that is, how far east or west they were.So, they didn’t know how far north or south they may be. Basically, they had to guesstimate, and were often wrong.
The consequences of not knowing longitude were significant. Ships would sail to the latitude of their destination. This prevented a ship from taking the most direct route or a route with the most favorable winds and currents. This extended the voyage by days or even weeks, increasing the likelihood of short rations,which could lead to poor health or even death for members of the crew due to scurvy or starvation.As a result, such skeleton crews could put a ship at risk.Errors in navigation also resulted in many shipwrecks.Suffice it to say that the British Navy was highly motivated to find a solution, and offered a prize to whomever figured it out.
The solution was finally invented in 1773 by John Harrison who developed a mechanical timepiece know as a Marine chronometer Appropriately, the key to discovering longitude was the development of a precise measurement tool.
This development enabled safe ocean navigation. Sailors knew where they were, so they could get to where they were going in the most efficient way. It transformed sea travel.And that brings me back to effectively measuring the work we do in communication in a way that is relevant and helpful for our success and for executives.
If you can help executives know where they are today, and how they can get to where they want to go, you become indispensable.So, how do we do that. Let’s first talk a bit more about measurement, what is it and how do we do it.
The true value of measurement is understanding how we are performing against key objectives, how we compare to our peers and the competition and what we need to change to improve.
There are five levels of measurement:Level 1, which is access and usage, measures whether or not the message was received. Though this is the most basic level of measurement, it still has a place and is important.Level 2, knowledge transfer, measures learningLevel 3 is critical because it gets to the heart of the matter, did the information or event change behavior?Levels 4 and 5 are more advanced but absolutely attainable.Level 4 is Impact, did the actions taken in level 3 have the desired impact?And Level 5 can’t always be measured directly, but there is a lot of data out there that supports the fact that effective communication does have a financial impact. In micro communication efforts, direct financial impact can also measured.
There are a few basic tools we use to measure, and those include surveys, interviews, focus groups, benchmarking against other organizations and audits of our existing practices, tools and vehicles.
And what we measure falls along the continuum of levels of measurement from views and attendance, vehicles, channels, knowledge to actions, behaviors and ultimately impact.
Define communication successWhat does success look like? How will you know if changes have occurred?What will change? What stays the same?Identify what should be measuredDefine what data you need to collect?Do you improve employee engagement, increase collaboration, improve messaging alignment, create ambassadors of the brand?Identify current metricsWhat baseline data do we have? How can we define our current state?Can we collect existing data from other functions or programs?Does any qualitative data exist to complement the quantitative data?Are there industry benchmarks?Create measurement strategyIdentify measurement approaches – quantitative and qualitativeDesign measurement output (e.g., dashboard)Draft key topics and questions Identify audiencesSelect measurement timing and intervalsProcess for ongoing data collection
Modern ships have sophisticated and clear ways of understanding where they are and how to get to where they want to go. Generally, key information is shown on some form of dashboard.Of course, ships are not the only things to use dashboards, but I’m sticking with my nautical analogy.
Similarly, communication groups who want to track their progress in a sophisticated and clear way use dashboards. Here is a sample dashboard, which is also on one of our handouts.
And if it’s a race, which it is, you better know where you are in relation to others. Hence the importance of benchmarking
As communication professionals we have grappled with putting structure and measurement around the work we do. And even more importantly, we have struggled with answering the question – what business value are we bringing to the table? With the ROI Communication Benchmark we set out to find what solid, predictive, data we could find between excellence in our work and the bottom line. The data also gives us a strong benchmark of how large companies around the world are doing employee communication today. And ultimately, it helps us determine how to improve the work we are doing and the impact we have on the business.
We invited more than 600 public and private companies that are at the Fortune 500 level of revenue, to participate in this benchmark study. 25% of those companies signed up to participate, which as you know in the survey world is a significant level of interest. Ultimately, we used data from near 100 companies to form our results. Most of those companies are shown here. Each participating company got a copy of the detailed benchmark report free of change as well as other benefits such as attending the webinars and a discount on a custom report.
The framework for the ROI Communication Benchmark Survey has been in development for several years. ROI regularly convenes a Global forum of communication professionals from the Fortune 200, and as a group we spent time identifying what the critical areas of our profession are. This work started seven years ago, At ROI Communication, we have translated and further developed that research into this model for our profession to use to give us structure as we develop our plans and manage the function.
Here is some great data. Some information that is requested of us often. What is the staff and budget for employee communication at other companies. Here is the data we got from the ROI Communication Benchmark Study:For every 10,000 employees, the average number of employee communication team members is 6.2. So, if you have 100,000 employees, that would be 62 team members – on average. The low end is very low and the high end is super high, but it gives you a solid benchmark to work from.And, another big one, the average budget per 10K employees is $421,352. So, if you have 25K employees, the average budget would be over a million dollars. If you have 100K employees, it would be 4.2 million dollars.
As the modern navigators for communication effectiveness, these are the key next steps to take as communication professionals to build a successful measurement approach.Understand what your leaders care about – influencing is more than just numbers, it’s political and emotional too. For instance, what companies do you leaders want to be benchmarked against?
Barbara fagan smith iabc houston presentation on measurement, oct. 2013 - for distribution
"We Have Metrics on This?"
Building Executive Support with
IABC Southern Region
October 25, 2013
Value of measurement
How you are performing in support of the business
How you are performing in support of your
How you are performing in comparison to peers
What you need to do more of, less of and differently
Levels of measurement for communication
Level 5 Financial Impact
Level 4 Business Impact
How did it impact the
savings or gains
Did the actions have
the desired impact?
Changes in program
Level 3 Application/Behavior Change
Level 2 Knowledge Transfer
Level 1 Access/Usage
Did the audience
receive the message?
Hits, views, attendanc
4-step process to measure communication
Insert image of navigation dashboard
Communication dashboard questions
What do you hope to accomplish?
Who is the audience?
How will it be shared?
What actions will emerge from the information?
What categories of information are interesting?
Channel and vehicle performance
Steps to build a dashboard
Based on your measurement strategy:
Identify what data and information you want to track
Determine what data you currently have access to and
what data you need to collect
Decide how you will collect new or additional data
Determine how you will assemble, design, update and
maintain the dashboard
The ROI Communication Benchmark
An annual survey that measures
the scope and effectiveness of
employee communication at the
world’s leading companies and
the impact of such
communication on their financial
The study’s goal is to help
companies quantify, understand
and increase the impact of their
employee communication to
deepen engagement and improve
The ROI Employee Communication Model™
A strategic planning and
management framework that
helps organizations improve the
performance of their employee
Three core areas critical to employee communication
Leader and Manager
Role of the
Our approach to the analysis
3 Areas of Focus
elements of employee
the greatest impact on
Leader and Manager Communication
Open Communication Culture
We only reported data
with a statistically
Trust and Engagement
Message Type and Quality
Governance and Oversight
Information Sharing and Feedback
Change in Revenue
Change in Profits
Earnings per Share
Total Return to Investors
Social Business, etc.
60 Survey Questions
My company has a robust employee
communication measurement program.
Senior leaders regularly talk with and
listen to employees.
Managers provide recognition and
appreciation for a job well done., etc.
ROI Communication Benchmark –
staffing and budget data
Ratio of Employee Communication Professionals Per 10K Employees
: 10K Employees
1 : 100K Employees
: 10K Employees
62 : 100K Employees
: 10K Employees
250 : 100K Employees
Average budget per 10K employees is $421,352
Trouble for managers
Managers understand their communication roles and responsibilities.
The employee communication team is actively involved in communication training for managers.
Managers regularly ask employees for their opinions.
Communication effectiveness among people managers is a meaningful part of the performance
We improve what we measure
Internal social business tools are not supported or
measured for effectiveness
ROI Communication Benchmark results by rank
Invest in your employee communication staff
Strengthen leader and manager communication
systems, training and accountability
Measure your overall communication effectiveness
Do a custom report to see how you compare with