Communication Measurements Done Infrequently

March 14, 2003 ( - Internal and external communication of corporate strategic goals is being measured infrequently among organizations, if they do it at all.

Informal feedback was utilized by the majority (57%) of member organziations as a measurement method of a company’s strategic targets. Comparatively, only 15% used focus group feedback, according to a study sponsored and conducted by human resource consulting firm Towers Perrin in collaboration with the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Research Foundation.

Concerned about the current state of the economy, most respondents focused on helping to improve operating performance and keeping organizations profitable. Improving operating performance is the leading business priority for more than 50%, while 40% indicate that “fixing current business problems” is paramount to any other plans or activities.

While the communication function’s priorities reflect organizational issues and 41% said improving the function’s productivity is a primary goal, few offered strategies for achieving that end. Forty percent cited supporting the organizations’ business objectives, while 36% emphasized each of the separate categories of strengthening leadership credibility and reducing costs.

Interestingly enough, only 16% listed brand initiatives among immediate communication function goals, though some interviewees called it a top priority. Although most see a clear alignment between communication and corporate goals, 10% struggled with the question of how to prioritize activities and tasks.

Technological Change

While new media and technology underscore availability of larger quantities of information and an increase in speed of access, the data show many have not yet tapped the new potential of these newer tools. While 82% cited changes in their communications mix (including reductions in their use of traditional print), only 15% are using electronic communication to increase local access to senior leaders. Only 20% use Internet versions of Intranet pages to share information and fewer yet (11%) use discussion boards as part of their media mix.