The Power of Measuring Internal Email
In this IC Space guest blog, evaluation experts Bananatag discuss how you can assess the success of your internal email channels.
Though internal communication technologies are growing in sophistication and availability, year after year, internal email is ranked as the preferred communication channel of both employees and internal communication professionals.
This revelation is surprising, considering how much the industry and organisations are investing in tools to attempt to replace or reduce email.
The main motivators for trying to replace email with other digital channels is a desire for more two-way communication (as email is often seen as a broadcast-only channel) and the perceived difficulty in quantifying email’s reach and impact.
However, we need only to look at our counterparts in marketing and external communications to see that email is an immensely powerful channel, primarily because of the built in measurement tools that come with most email marketing platforms.
If you have measurement and data to back your internal email strategies, you can transform email into your most powerful, effective, and insightful internal communication channel.
The value of smart content decisions
Crafting an engaging all-staff newsletter isn’t easy. Communication teams are often bombarded with content submissions from numerous departments across the organisation.
Should all that content make it into the newsletter, the result would be an excessively long email, with too many competing ideas–likely requiring hours of re-formatting to ensure tonal, visual, and structural consistency.
To communicate effectively, selecting and curating content strategically will ensure the right audiences get the right messages at the right time, and in turn, ensure employees actually read and value your emails.
Unfortunately, when all stakeholders consider their information essential, selecting which content makes it into the newsletter can be political.
That’s where email metrics like click rates, read times, and employee segment data become vital.
By evaluating audience engagement metrics like click rates or read times, you can discover which topics are most valuable to employees.
The first step is codifying different types of content that you regularly send and integrating clickable calls to action within each of these newsletter components. From there you can easily determine the relative popularity of a specific type of content by looking at your metrics. Once a content type is deemed under-performing, it can be retired or optimized.
Email as a two-way communication channel
When communication is two-way, the listener is more likely to engage with the information they are receiving.
To many internal communication professionals, the idea that employee email could be a two-way conversation rather than strictly a broadcast channel might be completely new.
With the evolution of new internal email tools like Bananatag, you can easily encourage two-way communication between employees and your communications team, and even leadership, by incorporating interactive elements like pulse surveys into your emails.
Unlike longform surveys, pulse surveys reduce friction in the feedback process by keeping it to a single question. For example, responses to a question like “What could we have done better at the town hall?” can show you how employees are feeling, and allows you to respond and own the narrative by addressing any issues directly, with the right key messaging.
Adding Employee Net Promoter Score style surveys to your emails can also help you measure employee engagement.
Further, pulse surveys can be an excellent avenue for encouraging employees to influence content decisions — whether it’s by asking them for their feedback, allowing them to leave likes or social reactions, or asking for submissions.
Getting insight into the employee experience
Internal communications has a large stake in the employee experience. But without data and feedback, it’s hard to understand the impact and role internal communications plays, how employees are really feeling and what they need, and how to influence employee experience positively.
This is another area where embedding pulse surveys into your emails can make a big difference, but other engagement metrics like opens, clicks, and read times can also help you demonstrate what employees are interested in, what they need, and what they don’t.
You can then leverage these metrics to make evidence-based decisions that will inspire even more engagement.
The power of measuring internal email
Like all strategic communication, internal communication is best when it connects business objectives to shifts in audience behaviour or perception.
With the right tools, employee email can both influence and measure these shifts.
Even with the rise of other digital channels like mobile apps, intranets, and enterprise social networks, there is huge untapped potential in this channel for uncovering employee insights, tracking trends, demonstrating the value of internal comms to leadership, and delivering a great employee experience with your communications.