The Ups and Downs of Corporate Message Quality

 In Future of Work

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The ROI Communication Benchmark Report™ measures the impact of corporate messaging to employees at large companies. The bottom line: financial performance definitely correlates with the quality of communication. The 2017 ROI Communication Benchmark Report offers up some new insights for the new year, honing in on the types of employee communication that really impact a company’s financial health and growth. In this series, I’m talking about a few of their key findings.

In this final post, I’m going to take a deep dive into the subject of communication messages and message quality and then go over a few of the challenges ahead in the world of business communications.

In my previous post, I chatted about Communication Messages and Message Quality because the ROI Communication Benchmark Report™ has found that it’s the single most important communication category when it comes to having an impact on Trust and Engagement.

Let’s look a little closer: what exactly is being measured in the category of Communication Messages and Message Quality? This category is all about messaging; it measures how consistent, relevant, honest, timely, and accessible internal content is—and how it coordinates with external messaging. Like the other categories we’ve discussed, better communication messages and higher message quality can positively influence your bottom line.

The findings from ROI are mixed but optimistic. In 2017, 76% percent of survey respondents rated Communication Messages and Message Quality favorably. That’s a 2% decrease from 2015, but it still represents a communication culture of quality messaging. And among respondents that took the ROI survey in both 2015 and 2017, the favorable rating of Communication Messages and Message Quality actually increased—from 83% to 86%.

More good news: 90% of respondents reported regular communication when it came to strategic goal and financial performance.

But there’s still room for improvement. The 2017 respondents reported that content could have more of a spark: only 64% said that formal communication channels shared content that was interesting and engaging, down from 66% in 2015. And a mere half of survey-takers agreed with the statement “My company regularly communicates company performance compared to our competitors.”

Why should we care? Well, because higher rates of messaging (like communicating company performance) and message quality (sharing interesting content) enhance trust and engagement across the board.

While Communication Messages and Message Quality represents the final communication factor that predicts an increase in financial performance, the ROI Communication Benchmark Report™ included some thought-provoking additional key findings.

Full-Time Equivalent Employee Communication Professionals: A Good Investment

Whether you’re looking for increased revenue or increased Trust and Engagement scores, full-time equivalent (FTE) employee communication professionals could hold the key.

Want proof? Healthcare and Financial Services respondents report the highest number of (FTE) employee communication professionals, and they also score higher, on average, in each main area of the ROI Communication Benchmark survey.

Here are some numbers to think about: the average ROI Communication

Benchmark respondent has 3.8 FTE employee communication professionals per 10,000 employees. Healthcare and Financial Services hire more: for every 10,000 employees, they have 7 and 6.9 employee communication professionals, respectively.

In other words, companies need to invest in communications to see the business benefit.

Focusing on the Future of Business Communication

What are employee communication professionals focusing on in the next year? The report found that 20% of respondents are planning on giving the most attention (and funding) to employee engagement, experience, and culture. Meanwhile, 13% list “communicating the company strategy” as the top priority. And don’t forget executive and leader communication and measurement—those represent the top focus for 12% and 11% of employee communication professionals.

When it comes to getting the job done, employee communication professionals anticipate a few speed bumps. Looking ahead to the coming year, these professionals list budget, resources, and bandwidth/time as the biggest barriers. The budget is the primary concern—40% of respondents forecast obstacles in that area. The areas of general resources and bandwidth/time generate the same concern: 23% for each.

In Conclusion…

Once again, ROI Communication Benchmark Report™ has provided food for thought and insights on how to build a better and more open communications culture. Investing our time and, yes, money in hiring employee communications professionals is a wise step towards ensuring our future success—but so is increasing the quality of messaging and working towards creating a harmonious and trusting employee experience. Ultimately, it’s all about ensuring that communication thrives.

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