What Are Internal Communication Metrics? - theEMPLOYEEapp

What Are Internal Communication Metrics?

Measurement has become essential for internal comms professionals. Whether they want to improve the effectiveness of their campaigns or get budget and influence, internal communicators must show ROI. As the demand for better internal comms analysis has arisen, more internal communication metrics and measurement tools have become available.

mouse with a trend line going up to represent internal communication metrics

What are internal communication metrics?

Internal communication metrics refer to the measurements used to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of communication efforts within a business. This can include the impact of strategies, communication channels, and individual campaigns.

Here are some examples of internal communication metrics:

  • Message open and click rates. These metrics track the number of employees who open and engage with internal communications, such as emails, newsletters, or employee intranet posts. They provide insights into the effectiveness of the subject lines, content relevance, and overall engagement of employees.
  • Intranet use. Tracking the number of visits, page views, and time spent on the intranet or internal portal can gauge how frequently employees access and engage with the platform. It indicates the relevance and usefulness of the content provided.
  • Channel reach and adoption. This metric assesses the reach and impact of various communication channels, such as email, employee apps, intranets, texting, etc.
  • Employee survey responses. Collecting feedback through surveys, focus groups, or suggestion boxes can provide valuable insights into employees’ perceptions, understanding, and satisfaction with internal communication initiatives.
  • Employee advocacy. This metric measures the extent to which employees actively promote and share the company’s messages, values, or content with external audiences. It can be evaluated through the number of employee-generated social media posts, mentions, or positive online reviews (e.g. Glassdoor).

These metrics are not exhaustive and can vary based on your company’s specific goals and comms channels. The key is to select metrics that align with your desired outcomes and continuously monitor them to be able to make changes in real-time.

male business professional tracking internal communication metrics on his laptop

Why do internal communication metrics matter?

Before we talk about specific internal communication data points, we should talk about the importance of measurement.

For a long time, there have not been many specific key performance indicators (KPIs) for internal communication specifically. Most communicators have relied on soft metrics (also called vanity metrics) like message open rate, time spent on a channel, and so on to prove that a campaign was successful or not. 

But now, there is an emphasis on proving what the business impact was of campaigns. Instead of looking at open rates for an open enrollment communications campaign, communicators should show their impact on the HR team’s open enrollment objectives. This helps to show the actual effect of communications. Rather than focusing solely on employee engagement on messages, they are showing how they activate employees toward a desired outcome.

This is important because it positions internal communications as a core, strategic branch of a company and not a nice-to-have function.

How can internal communication professionals measure their impact?

To measure the impact of internal communication, internal comms teams must:

  • Use communication channels that provide analytics. Although looking at metrics like open rates and channel adoption don’t paint the full picture, they are still helpful to understanding employee behavior patterns. What channels do they prefer? What groups engage most where? What content and content types perform best? This can help a communicator use the right channels, mediums, and deliverers of a message to be most effective.
  • Form relationships with key stakeholders. Many internal communications metrics and KPIs that matter are actually linked to other business units. Because communication supports the initiatives of other departments, internal comms needs to work closely with those departments to track results and understand how communication impacted those outcomes.
  • Perform communications analysis. It’s not enough to simply collect and track internal communications metrics. We need to analyze the data and look for trends by filtering our results by factors like audience and channel. By using demographic data to understand our data not just on a macro-scale but on a micro-level, we are able to find more meaningful conclusions and trends.

What internal comms metrics should you track?

There are many different communications metrics to track. Here are a few of the more important or common ones:

Internal Communication Channel Metrics:

  • Open Rates: Measuring open rates across communication channels (e.g. employee app, email, intranet, texting, etc.) is a good way to see who is engaging on what channels. When communicators can analyze open rates based on the type of content, time of day, presenter, and targeted group, they can glean further insights into what content works best for certain groups.
  • Channel Adoption Rate: Tracking channel adoption is another great way to understand how to best meet employees where they are. Certain groups might prefer different channels, which helps internal comms teams tailor content properly across channels.
  • Time Spent on Content: How long an employee spends on content is a good indicator of either engagement or confusion. This can help you learn what messages are holding your audience’s attention but also what messages are overly complex and hard to understand.
  • Read Receipts: If a communication channel allows you to require a read receipt, this can be a great way to track compliance and be able to follow up with targeted messages.

Business Metrics:

  • Benefits Enrollment: Participating in benefits open enrollment is a key HR objective that internal communication is highly connected to. This annual campaign is a great one to track year over year to see if you are able to improve employee participation, on time enrollment, and so on.
  • Retention: There are many ways communication can improve retention. From improving work environments to making managers better communicators. It’s important for comms pros to work with HR to track retention throughout the year and correlate campaigns with changes in this key metric.
  • Safety Incidents: Safety is a primary objective of many organizations, whether it’s improving positive patient outcomes or reducing the number of safety incidents in a manufacturing facility. Communication teams who share updates and policies about safety more effectively are likely to see the number of safety incidents go down, which helps the bottom line and improves employee well-being and retention.
  • eNPS Scores: Employee net promoter scores are a good indicator of culture and future retention. Communication can be linked to healthier cultures and employees feeling more included and psychologically safe. All these factors can contribute to employees feeling more positive about their organization, which can be measured with employee engagement surveys and eNPS.
  • Time Savings: Great communication can have a huge impacts on employee efficiency. There are many campaigns where saving time might be the primary ROI data point a communicator tracks. For example, does a more effective open enrollment communication campaign reduce the number of questions the human resources team needs to answer? How many hours does that save HR during open enrollment and then how much salary does that save?

What internal communication analytics should you share with leadership?

When it comes to sharing internal communication analysis and results with executive leaders, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • What metrics to share.
  • How frequently to report.
  • How much detail to include.
  • What visualizations you choose.

What communication metrics should you share?

You do not need to share every single data point with executive leadership. In fact, you really shouldn’t.

Senior leaders don’t really care about open rates and channel adoption so long as you are achieving your key business objectives and helping the company achieve the overarching company goals.

If you have a new channel, which is a core business goal for a year, then it might make sense to give snapshots of channel adoption growing over time. But you can’t stop there. What kind of impact have you made on retention, culture, eNPS, and so on? Those high-level metrics are what leaders care about.

How often should you share results with leadership?

There are a few key groups that internal communication metrics should be shared with: the internal comms team, key stakeholders, and senior leaders. And each of these groups should be reported to on a different cadence.

  • Internal communications teams should be tracking and talking about results on a weekly basis.
  • Share results with key stakeholders during monthly stakeholder meetings. If engaged in a key campaign, like open enrollment with HR, you might report results more regularly (e.g. weekly) in your project meetings. 
  • Share results with senior leadership at least quarterly. This gives the internal comms team time to actually learn the greater impact of a campaign, not just the vanity metrics like open rates.

How much detail should you include?

Just like the cadence, the level of detail internal comms shares with each group will vary.

  • Internal Communications Team: The level of detail in your department meetings will be very granular and include all data points that are being tracked.
  • Key Stakeholders: Less detail will be shared with key stakeholders, but may still include trends in open rates and engagements.
  • Senior Leaders: The detail shared with senior leaders should be very high level and focused mainly on key results, rather than individual metrics.

Visualizing your data

Creating the right data visualizations is also an important thing to consider when sharing your results. There are multiple different types of chart to choose from. For instance, you’ll want to always use line graphs to show change over time compared to bar graphs, which are intended for showing quantities.

This chart guide from Storytelling With Data is a good place to start.

What internal comms analytics does theEMPLOYEEapp provide?

theEMPLOYEEapp’s analytics platform includes many communication metrics that are valuable for tracking the success of the channel. This includes:

  • Open Rates: How many people have opened each piece of content? Our platform then uses AI to automatically display top-performing content based on opens.
  • Registrations: How many users have registered on the platform over time (includes new registrations in addition to total adoption)?
  • Read Receipts: Easily export a list of everyone who has acknowledged a read receipt on compliance-related messages.
  • Likes and Comments: See what content receives the most likes and comments as well as the total engagements on each individual post.
  • Banner Clicks: Learn what banners are clicked on most frequently.
  • Most Common Search Terms: Understand user intent by reviewing search terms most commonly entered in the app.

To learn more about the internal communication analytics we provide, visit our Metrics & Analytics product page.