Strategic Planning - Focus Groups
Surveys - Training - Evaluation
As most of you know, I focus on the measurable business impact of communication.
Recently I've seen a Credit Suisse research report
that companies with more women directors on their boards outperform their competitors
--and that it's because of the way discussions change in the boardroom.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about this issue or about how to become a director, please have them come to one of the events in cities across the U.S.
being held Nov. 12 to raise money for a campaign to increase gender diversity on boards
. Roxane Romulus and I will be hosting the one in Atlanta.
The pitfalls of benchmarking
staffing and budgets
Typical financial benchmarks for communication departments compare a particular number about the function against a number related to the scale of the organization as a whole. For example:
- Number of communicators as a percent of total employees.
- Communication budget as a percent of the organization's revenue.
- Cost of the PR budget divided by audience "impressions."
Financial metrics are best compared against companies most like your own. This is because:
- Service companies may need more communicators than manufacturers of the same size because they have a larger percentage of employees who have direct, unsupervised contact with customers. These employees may require more communication to help them achieve customer satisfaction.
- Consumer product or service companies and governmental units may need more external communicators because they have larger audiences to reach than wholesale or business-to-business companies. They are also likely to receive more calls from the media, especially if their operations have health, safety or environmental implications.
- Publicly traded companies may need more communicators than privately held companies, and not only for investor relations.
- Geographically dispersed companies may need more communicators since differences of language and culture are better handled by local communication staffs.
- Smaller companies may have higher ratios of communicators to employees or to customers simply because some communication functions are staffed the same way regardless of the number of stakeholders served. For example, two companies may both have an editor of the employee newsletter. Yet a company with 100,000 employees will seem to have a more efficient ratio of newsletter editors to employees than a company of 1,000 employees.
In the example below, while our client had the lowest staffing of its competitors, it also spent the most on outside PR agencies in comparison to company revenue. After this study, they decided to handle more PR internally.
on factors to consider when conducting quantitative benchmarking.
Read more on how to decide what aspects of communication to benchmark.
Tip: Get a handle on where time is spent
If you have a vague feeling that your time is being spent on the wrong projects, try tracking your time for a month in different categories (see chart below for examples). Before you see the results, decide what you think the ideal proportions should be. Read more about ways you can use time-recording to re-focus your efforts and to use with your leadership team when justifying changes you'd like to recommend.
| Workshops 2013-2014
In addition to the public workshops below, I will be in Indianapolis November 15, in Southern California in early December, in Europe in the late spring and in Brazil in early August for client work. (See full speaking schedule.)
- Dec. 11, New York, Tracking Your Progress: Audits, Surveys and Monitoring (Conference Board)
- Feb. 7, 2014, Tempe, AZ, Measuring How Well Your Communication Is Aligned to Company Goals (Ragan Engagement Conference)
- May 27-28, 2014, Oslo, Measuring the Impact of Your Communication Programs (Norwegian Communication Association)
We can also conduct customized workshops for your organization based on concepts in our one- and two-day programs, or provide you with pre-recorded audios of one-hour segments of these workshops:
A practical manual on measurement
"A definitive hands-on resource... from advice on conducting focus groups, to measuring communication flow, to survey question construction, it's all here."
--IABC Communication World
Now in its 3rd edition, this practical guide to communication measurement is filled with samples
of questions and reports, as well as dozens of stories
about how measurements have been used by others.
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