Closing the Gap: Why Internal Communications Metrics Matter for Employee Engagement

Co-authors: Naila Mir, President of P3 Connect UK, and Quinn Harrington, CEO of HDco

The second article in this six-part series addresses the challenges employers face in managing their workforce’s environmental, social, and political demands.

For many internal communicators, capturing and evaluating employee engagement metrics is ‘the weakest link’.

Only 56% of survey respondents track website analytics, 44% look at email clicks, and 19% don’t measure employee communications at all. Moreover, only 22% were confident that their internal communication strategy effectively boosts employee engagement and experience.

This lack of confidence creates blind spots within your organisation. Two-thirds of communicators share their internal communication metrics with their company’s executive teams, but a staggering 70% report that some leaders don’t even ask for metrics. Internal communications data is often minimised or frequently ignored. Source:

According to a Deloitte 10 study, 85% of US and 84% of UK employees rated experience as important or very important. However, the same study found that only 22% reported that their companies were excellent at building a differentiated employee experience. 

To quote Sir Richard Branson, “Customers don’t come first, employees come first. Look after your employees, and they’ll look after your customers.”

Like any strategic initiative, data is a good place to start. 

You’re likely already sending out employee surveys and capturing feedback from performance reviews. 

  • Is your response rate creating a dataset that reflects your entire workforce? 
  • Are you asking the right questions and gaining insights? 
  • Is there an underreported silent majority? 

Employees want to feel happy and productive at their workplace. However, not every employee can express what they require to achieve happiness. Platforms like Mojo provide a visually appealing representation of what matters most to each employee. This way, employees can comprehend their intrinsic motivators, and their managers can ensure that these needs are met while keeping track of any changes in motivation in real-time.

Anna Bertoldini, Global Head of Employer Branding at NielsenIQ, says, “It’s important to prioritize employee engagement and experience, as creating a positive, inclusive, and fulfilling company culture can produce measurable results in employee productivity, retention, and long-term organizational success.
Other than employee turnover and exit interviews, which happen too late, there are better ways to capture employee data and engagement levels. A few that come to mind are engagement surveys, regular manager feedback sessions, recognition systems, usage data, and employee advocacy.”

Forward-thinking leaders we work with will often ask the same question. How do you identify the gap?

These answers will inform your strategy.

  • Do you know your workforce? A stakeholder analysis can identify demographics such as who they are, their location, their preferred language, and accessibility needs. You can obtain this from HR data and past surveys. European-based companies should be mindful to comply with GDPR.
  • Does your employer brand articulate your values? Does the data support your employees’ commitment to the same values the organisation promotes? In other words, do they believe you ‘walk the talk,’ or is it more corporate-speak?
  • Employees are more concerned than ever about environmental, social and political change. Does your workforce believe that your operations contribute to the problem, and do they believe you are taking the necessary steps to address their concerns? For example, your company produces packaging containing forever chemicals like PFAS, and data shows employees are unhappy about your efforts to eliminate the company’s harmful environmental impact. Or your organisation’s leadership lacks diversity, and the data shows a glass ceiling will limit their career path. It could affect performance and retention if you’re unaware of these issues or choose to minimise them.
  • How you respond to your workforce when your organisation faces a significant change like a layoff or lousy publicity is critical. Conversely, how you share the good news about a merger or acquisition can make all the difference. When an employer faces organisational change, digital transformation or a new cause, it’s essential to understand the impact on your workforce. Impact and risk assessments will give your comms teams the tools to engage and effectively address their concerns. How do they feel, what are their fears, and what can you do to support them?

Your workforce is overwhelmed with information. From a tactical perspective, identify the best channels or methods of engagement. Observe how your employees prefer to receive and digest information. Your channel analytics will likely reveal what channels employees engage with the most.

Consider both qualitative and quantitative data to gain insights into your employees’ preferences. Qualitative data is captured through focus groups, surveys, and interviews but may not always align with a respondent’s actions. Quantitative data, such as regular engagement or clicks, can provide a more complete picture of employee preferences. For instance, an employee may claim to prefer written updates from management, but statistics may show that corporate videos receive a 60% higher engagement rate. Source:

Make employee engagement metrics meaningful.

Nicholas Wardle, Employee Experience Director for Brand Experiences, says, “Most organisations capture employee data in a ‘mass catering’ manner – largely through employee surveys, which have generic and often rather unactionable questions. For more than a decade, we’ve been hearing about the importance of personalising the customer experience, and it’s as important to personalise the employee experience. To do this, you need useful data.
Wardle continues, “To boost productivity, you first need to focus on an employee’s motivation. If someone has no motivation, they won’t get out of bed; if they have high motivation, they can smash their work targets, drive productivity, boost well-being and build resilience. If an employee is, say, motivated by being creative, then it just makes sense to give them as many creative opportunities as possible.”

Transformation and capability-building efforts can cause some leaders to struggle with turning their data into action. Behavioural insights can help create a bridge between information and results. We’ll take a deeper dive into this in upcoming articles. Source: To create lasting change, companies can draw on behavioural insights | McKinsey

How do you budget for this?

You’ve considered all the data, but perhaps you’re unsure what resources and budget to allocate for engagement. Well, there’s a tool for that! The EXOpportunity Calculator can help you build a business case for a sustained employee engagement effort.

The future of internal communication suggests promising advancements.

Gallagher’s State of the Sector 2022/23 report surveyed over 2,000 communication and HR managers to determine the anticipated impact of various factors on internal communication within the next five years. According to the survey, hyper-personalisation emerged as the most anticipated trend, with 55% of respondents recognising its potential (total of “Most impactful” and “Somewhat impactful” answers). 

Artificial intelligence closely followed, with 40% foreseeing its influence, while gamification garnered attention from 32% of participants. These findings underscore the growing recognition of innovative technologies and their potential to revolutionise internal communication strategies in the years ahead.

How employee engagement metrics and insights will transform the HR world.

The COVID-19 outbreak has allowed companies to rethink their approach to employee experience and employee engagement metrics. This includes considering individual differences such as home lives, skills, mindsets, personal characteristics, and other factors while adapting to rapidly changing circumstances. The good news is that with the help of technological advances in listening techniques, behavioural science, advanced analytics, two-way communication channels, and others, leaders can now address employee experience in a more targeted and dynamic way. By identifying which employees require more support and tailoring actions to create a sense of well-being and cohesion across the workforce, leaders can foster a positive work environment for everyone.

Here are some helpful links:

Part 1 of our series on employee communication.

If your employee communication does not boost engagement, you’re not making things better. You’re making them worse.

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