What gets measured, gets done…

Last week we hosted our second annual Measurement summit.  You can download the slides here if you missed the event. We also storified ll of your tweets from the day and you can see that here. Gloria Lombardi, one of the CIPR Inside committee members has shared her experience of the day with us too.

Over to Gloria:


On Tuesday 23rd July, CIPR Inside ran its annual measurement summit, “Survey, Sentiment and Strategy – measurement in practice.”

The event saw the participation of forty plus internal communications professionals, who gathered together in Russell Square to listen to the latest trends in the subject.

CIPR Chair, James Harkness, opened the session with a warm welcome and initial speech on the importance of measurement for internal communications: “What gets measured, gets done…”.

Then, the speakers took to the  stage.

First was Kevin Ruck who, following the successful launch of the CIPR Inside Measurement Matrix last year, presented the findings from his most recent studies. His talk highlighted the relevance of considering:

Channels: are they workingsummit visual

Content: are employees getting the information they want and need?

Conversations: are people communicating effectively?

Voice: are there  adequate opportunities for people to have a say?

Sentiment: what do employees think and feel about the organisation?

Behaviour: how has employee behaviour been influenced by communication?

Kevin Ruck shared an interesting figure from The Workplace Employment Studies: 71% of employees reported that “using my own initiative I carry out tasks that are not required as part of my job”. This percentage,  as @steve_murg twetted it during the summit, may represent a positive sign of intrinsic motivators.

The second speaker was Dr. Jimmy Huang from Warwick Business School, who talked about analysing internal social media and the links to the IC strategy. He spoke about rhetorical practice as a crucial aspect of internal communication, and introduced people to a study he conducted on three telecoms organisations. The first company was hierarchical and resistant to almost any employee feedback; the second one was more open but still pretty rigid and formal in its communications. Finally, the third one was a more fluid organisation that implemented internal social media to open up the communications with its staff.

Dr. Huang presented some key lessons drawn from his research:

  • Three key dimensions of internal communications are 1) Rich versus richness; 2) Univocality versus multivocality; 3) Consumption versus co-production.
  • Their characteristics and implications are 1) Defining the degree of fluidity in internal communication; 2) Paradoxical relationships (trade-offs) within and amongst each dimension; 3) Forcing managers to make an ‘either or’ decision amongst the trade-offs.

“Can internal communications be ambidextrous by moving beyond the trade-offs through the use and leverage of social media?”

  • According to Dr. Huang ‘yes’, bearing in mind to align an organisation strategic intents with its internal communications strategy. Also, organisations can be innovative in their internal communications strategy, yet they do have to approach it as a long term investment.

The third speaker of the summit was Guy Bayle from Home Office who talked about internal communications and staff engagement dashboard. Home Office aimed at improving their internal channels, linking them with business objectives and tying it all together through the dashboard. The approach that the company took focused on three key elements:

1)       Data gathering  – monthly return

2)       Problems/solutions – missing data, double counting, spot or trend values, measuring staff feed-back actions

3)       Customers’ requirements

Home Office worked on three layers of evaluation with the first one being internal communications and engagement measures; the second one was high-level staff engagement priorities, while the third one was the overall engagement index.

The outcomes were very positive and included: influencing Board strategy, improved internal channels, instilling a culture of evaluation across the team and the sharing of best practice.

Following Guy Bailey’s presentation, was Simon Elliot from BP talking about “a more rigorous way of measuring employee engagement”. Elliot showed how BP went about it:

  • Twin track approach: How engaged are employees in ‘important matters’  in BP and to what extent is this helping to build and sustain business performance? This involved both the annual tracking (long-term trends and sentiment) and on-going measures (near term data and insights).
  • Robust measurement framework: the framework saw six key measures (communications effectiveness, employee experience, understanding, confidence, trust and actions) underpinned by employee  and workplace satisfaction. They impacted on clear long term performance focus, consistent way of working,  shared beliefs and behaviours.
  • Consistent survey methodology: the six key measures were analysed through four perspectives (‘about BP’, ‘about my business’, ‘about my manager and team’ and ‘about me and my job’). Every survey question informed one of the six measures from one of four perspectives.
  • Responsive tools and techniques: such as ‘SurveyWizard’, the BP survey tool for all employee surveys.
  • Supporting structures: communications policy incorporating measurement standards and requirements; capability; access to tools, capabilities and processes; community of practice.

The final presentation on ‘using measurement to support business performance’, was given by Ghassan Karian from Karian and Box.

Karian talked about employees’ insights to inform business decisions and measurement as part of an ongoing cycle which incorporates:

  • measurement of communications inputs and outputs
  • communication strategy and activity
  • audience perception and opinions

This ongoing cycle needs proactive and retrospective research to access the impact of communications.  Also, Karian stressed the importance of follow-up action and suggested to think of measurement planning as a forward looking tool rather than using it for retrospective justification.

Closing the interesting summit was an equivalent interesting Q&A with all the speakers. Among the topics that emerged during this final Q&A, there was:

  • Metrics and costs: there appeared to be a strong business case for doing measurement despite the costs, since what organisations can get out of it in the end is more than what they give;
  • Measuring opinions and feed-back from non-connected employees: the use of tools such as paper surveys, focus groups, smartphones and  iPads can be of help.
  • Taking action on measurement: organisations need to ask themselves “How are we going to take the survey forward? What are we going to do with the results?”.

When dealing with these questions openness and transparency are key!



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