Measuring and managing: a Q&A with our UX designer about our data & reporting feature
Struggling to develop core take-aways from your internal comms efforts? Your problem is likely a lack of intelligent, insightful data.
In early May, the team that builds our Reach internal comms software is releasing advanced data and analytics capabilities that will help you measure your successes and know exactly where to adjust. Ahead of the launch, Cameron Eldred—IC Thrive’s UX designer and an all-around smart person—chatted with us about what the new feature will look like, how it will help internal communicator make important decisions around audience and timing, the advantage of real-time results, and more.
What kinds of data & analytics capabilities does Reach have?
Cameron: Before this new release, we had message-specific data, so you can see on an individual message basis what is successful, which means being read or “converting,” and what’s not. Then, through talking with experts and looking at the market, we realized we need to have bigger data that talk about the success of your communications as a whole.
To do that, you need to be able to aggregate and look at information:how your messages are performing over time, bigger-picture stuff like that. So that’s why we created the data and reporting dashboard in Reach so that you could look at this holistic overview of all your efforts.
At IC Thrive, we have our pillars that we always talk about—the seven principles of effective internal comms, part of our proven methodology. We’ve tried to give visibility into the success of each of those pillars on our new data and reporting dashboard through the different tabs that we have set up. So you can measure the success of your content, audiences, timing, channels, and employee sentiment.
How will data & analytics in Reach help internal communicators determine things like when they should be timing their messages and which channels to use?
Cameron: For example, we created a heat map for visibility into the timing of messages. On a given day, you’re getting conversions on your messages, and Reach is tracking conversions over all these different time periods. But if you truly want to know when the best time is to send a message, you need to see what your highest-converting segments are per day. We didn’t want to approach this as simply a list of times—that’s not engaging, and in the end it’s not as helpful. With the heat map, which is a very visual way of doing it, I think it’s really easy to understand. You can quickly go to every single top moment in the day, and it’s easily illustrated. And if you hover your mouse over it, it gives you a report of what happened during that time. So it’s very clear. And that can help support people in planning their communications by knowing when people are responding.
It’s especially useful for non-traditional workplaces. For a workplace like Sun Peaks Resort (one of our customers) that has a distributed workforce, or any organization that has shift work or a lot of people on part-time schedules, it can be a lot more difficult to analyze the timing of your messages. Maybe a ton of people come in on Saturday mornings after having Thursday and Friday as their weekend, and they check their messages just as they come in, so the best time to communicate with them is 6a.m. on a Saturday morning. A typical 9-5 organization would never assume that would be the case.
How does data and analytics connect to collecting employee feedback?
Cameron: The goal of this dashboard is to aggregate bigger-picture things, so you can see trends over time. With our employee feedback collection features, there’s nothing consistent about it, because you can do whatever you want—you can do a quick poll with five answers, you can do a quick poll with two answers, you can do a freeform text box, you can do all sorts of things to collect that feedback. So there’s no way of combining all the responses into some kind of analytics.
The point of those kinds of actions are really on a message-by-message basis, so those are reflected in the activity dashboard for individual messages, where you can see the breakdown for each specific question you’re asking your employees. The one exception is that you can look at your five-likert sentiment over time with the data and reporting feature, because you can aggregate all the positive answers against the negative ones.
What’s the advantage of real-time data and reporting instead of assessing results at the end of each quarter, for example?
Cameron: You can do either with Reach! You could set your timeframe on the dashboard so that you’re seeing a quarterly view. But the real advantage ofReach is that the data is coming in real time, and everything else in the software is in real time. So if you send a message and then go back to the message dashboard and watch it, your conversion rate will just keep ticking upas people respond to it.
We’ve always built Reach around pulling live data so that question of, “Is this current?” or “How do I know this is current?” is obvious—everything is current with this software. So that’s a great benefit: you can track things as you’re going, you don’t have to wait till the end of the quarter and go, “Oh, shoot, we could have done something differently.” This way, you can identify issues, and adjust accordingly.
How can you download and assess results?
Cameron: There’s a download icon at the top of the data and reporting dashboard.So whatever your view is on the dashboard at that time, you’ll be able to download that exact view. So let’s say you set you dashboard to a specific time—on that screen, it will download all of the data that you filtered and setup because the idea is that people will set up their own reports or how they want to see their data and then they can export it.
We had lots of feedback from internal communicators going into this—some of them didn’t care about the dashboard at all, they just wanted to set their timeframe, download all the data, take it into Excel and do whatever they want with it. So we allow people to do that, but we also wanted to be as visual with it as possible for people who just wanted to be able to make conclusions within the software itself.
What can Reach customers expect in the future?
Cameron: The idea with Reach’s data and reporting capabilities right now is that we’re trying to help you flag things that are potential problems, and then be able to report on them. And then hopefully—we don’t have anything prescriptive tied to it—but ultimately we want to delve into the next step of this, which is the analytics. That’s part of why we specifically call it data and reporting. The next step is going to be our ability to look at your data and say, “Okay, this metric has dropped, this is what you can do about it,” and make suggestions. So taking that data and putting some intelligence on top of it is where we’re going moving forward.
Overall, we want to be able to zoom out so that you can really use our in-house analytics to talk about the health of your communications program as a whole.
How can I learn more about Reach internal comms software?
A great final question, if we say so ourselves! Our technology pages will guide you through how Reach will organize your efforts, engage your employees and measure your successes. Intrigued? You can book a no-pressure demo with one of our amazing sales reps.
And if this post has inspired you to start improving your internal comms data collection, but you aren’t ready to make the leap into purchasing a product that could solve all your problems, we have a free Internal Communications Metrics Tool that will help you measure your activities for a more objective and strategic view of your communications.
Finally, stay in the know on all things IC Thrive and internal comms best practices by signing up for our newsletter. We’d love to have you join our community.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.