Every company wants to communicate better. When ideas and information flow freely, organizations can’t help but flourish. If only it was easy to make that happen.
Communication is an abstract concept. It’s hard to define correctly, identify concretely, or understand completely. Companies want to track how well they communicate and make improvements when and where necessary. They just don’t have the means.
Communication analytics is the first truly viable solution. It cuts through the ether to reveal when, where, and why communication is working or not. Organizations finally have the means to improve what they say, and, more importantly, how they say it.
The Basics of Communication Analytics
Communication analytics, like all forms of analytics, uses vast amounts of data to uncover trends and patterns. It looks at how team members communicate – for instance what communication channels they use and how often they use them.
The purpose is to uncover where communication is working and where it’s hitting roadblocks. Every organization struggles with these obstacles. They could be accidental or intentional. In either case, they inhibit information from moving around the organization. These roadblocks are often subtle, even invisible. It’s possible to see the consequences but not really the root causes. Communication analytics changes all that by studying information flows in completely new ways.
Now that so much communication happens over digital channels it’s possible to track exchanges in-depth. Companies can locate exactly where the problems exist. More importantly, they can make changes that actually improve communications.
Once that happens the benefits are limitless. A McKinsey study found that connected employees are up to 25 percent more productive. They are also more innovative, more engaged, and more adept at critical thinking and problem solving. Now that communication analytics is in the business tool kit, every company can reap these rewards.
Important KPIs in Communication Analytics
We have discussed this concept broadly, but we haven’t dived into the specifics. One of the most important aspects of any analytics effort is identifying the key performance indicators. These are the metrics that matter the most and reveal the most. They indicate whether the company is getting better or worse in key areas, so they require regular tracking. As you work to improve communication through analytics, focus on these KPIs:
- Click Through Rates – Tons of email messages get sent out, but how many actually get read? Tracking how many messages get delivered, opened, and then engaged with reveals a lot. If the rates are low, it could indicate problems with your communication platform or messaging strategy. In the most general way, this metric shows how loudly people are being heard.
- Engagement Rates – Poor communication leads to disengaged employees. It’s not the only contributing factor, but it’s a big one. The Employee Net Promoter Score is a reliable indicator of engagement on a scale ranging from +100 to -100. If engagement is low, it’s a clear sign that employees don’t feel heard or spoken to.
- Retention Rates – Disengaged employees lead to high rates of turnover. If an organization is dealing with a lot of turnover, communication is probably one of the problems. To find out for sure, correlate retention rates with the insights from communication analytics. If turnover is rising while communication is declining, it’s time to intervene.
Analytics often gets associated with detail-oriented endeavors like manufacturing or finance. Really, it’s a natural fit for something more ephemeral like communication. It takes what is unknown and unknowable, then condenses it into something objective and understandable.
Technology promises to give companies new capabilities. More exciting is how it overcomes classic challenges.