How does good communication contribute to creating value for companies? Anyone who can prove exactly that has found the holy grail of modern communications management. Does it exist, this holy grail? As much as professional scholars agree on the growing importance of internal communication, they still disagree on the question of whether and how the success of that communication can be measured (clearly). A joint venture by Buchele CC, a communications control and communications management consultancy, and Staffbase, an employee communication platform, addresses this question. Both advise and lead large companies in the field of telecom digitization.
And that’s also what the volume, also published in 2022, on the economic and business side of internal communication, return on investment (ROI), and value creation through communication, is about. It is about measurement characteristics and key performance indicators (KPI’s). So a rather dry and complicated book of communication control? Not at all – on the contrary, it is a very lively book with a very innovative approach Here via Staffbase as an e-book It can be downloaded for free.
The case study here is compiled in the form of a story. The film is about fictional young manager Ina Interna, who is in charge of employee communications at the fictitious technology company “Utopia” with a five-figure number of employees spread over a number of locations. She is looking for a path through specialized literature and studies, through KPI criteria and various models with the aim of being able to provide substantive answers about the impact of her company’s communications activities. Answers that also clarify senior management questions: How much communication budget is used? What is our ROI, understood here as the contribution to the added value of all communication activities as a whole?
The full volume is about key numbers, about key performance indicators, about measurement methods, about measurement points. About the combination of quantitative and qualitative. But all this is told wonderfully easily in the form of a story, skillfully bringing the knowledge of specialized sciences (especially Ansgar Zerfaß, University of Leipzig, his methods of managing strategic communications and Lothar Rolke’s level of influence model). Anyone who then wants to learn more conceptually can turn to an online glossary compiled by Mark-Steffen Buchele.
The Ina Internas process takes two years in total. This timeline is important for readers who want to learn. Because things like that don’t add up overnight. In the beginning, there are many characters scattered about in the company. They are centrally grouped under a systematic objective. Now closely studying, reflected, further development. Suddenly, measurable goals appear. Vital and meaningful control over communications is being developed, which also facilitates the acquisition of investment decisions in communication tools by the board and management. The relevance of the new system’s daily use to the daily work of the various fictitious employees and their use of media is then demonstrated.
The communications director can now provide number-based management reports with quantified communications services to the board. It cannot be converted 1:1 into Euros. But they can show to what extent and to what extent investments in communications have paid off. Services and effects are becoming more real and tangible. At the end of all operations, the key to the intercom’s “return on investment” is not a set of numbers. Instead, a comprehensive understanding of internal communications emerges as a process of performance and effect. With calibration display that there are different levels of effectiveness. And the necessity of continuous reference to the strategic objectives that relate to the general objectives of the company. So it does exist, the ROI of internal communication – but not in the simple idea of a magically working key figure.
Bottom line: Because of its storytelling approach, the narrow size is a great fit to relieve younger communications managers in particular from the complexities of monitoring success and controlling communications.
Title: From the ROI of Internal Communication. A route through the jungle of objectives, strategy, key numbers, data and KPIs; Authors: Lisa Marie Trabitsch and Mark Steven Buchel in collaboration with Julian Kisenbauer and Sina Kay Lockley; Collaboration project between Staffbase GmbH & buchele cc GmbH, Leipzig 2022; Scope: 83 pages; The volume is available as an e-book Here via the Staffbase website It can be downloaded for free.
About the author of the review: Professor Dr. Marcus Kiefer (64, photo) She worked full time at FOM University from 2010 until the end of the summer semester 2022, as Professor of Public Business Administration, with a focus on corporate and business communications. Starting in the winter semester of 2022, he will hold teaching positions with a focus on public relations and corporate communication at FOM and on rotation at other universities.
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