Communications Academy

How to successfully measure the results of your branded employee app

May 02, 2019 Season 1 Episode 13
Communications Academy
How to successfully measure the results of your branded employee app
Chapters
Communications Academy
How to successfully measure the results of your branded employee app
May 02, 2019 Season 1 Episode 13
Staffbase
Show Notes Transcript

One of the biggest hurdles in deploying a branded employee app is uncovering what you need to measure. There’s a lot behind that and communicators are always looking for ways to further validate their efforts to leadership and also find new and creative ways to improve and pivot their own strategy. Today we’re talking with Frank Wolf, Co-Founder and CMO at Staffbase. He’s got decades of experience to back up his knowledge of enterprise employee engagement. From the rise and stumbles of the intranet and the launch of mobility within large workspaces. 

What are the key metrics you’ve found that are most powerful when presenting engagement results to leadership teams?

ROI - this sounds hard to measure?

Do you find it important to measure interaction between mobile and desktop?

I know Staffbase offers an analytics dashboard. What are the key metrics you’ve found are most useful to the teams administrating Staffbase?

What are some of the actions that result from seeing these metrics? Like, for example, if we see a particular newsfeed or channel is popular -what do you see organizations do to capitalize on that? 

 If you could package up the business value of a measuring engagement, what would it be?

Frank:
0:00
This is a case you don't fight on a dashboard, go out, talk to the people and, and, and look for it. And these stories are stories that you can also tell the leadership. Nobody will ever forget this. Everyone, we'll talk about this, right? So in the best case, you bring together your analytics data and the bigger picture to these stories and say, and this is how it affects and impacts in business.
Jason:
0:28
Hello and welcome. Uh, what are the biggest hurdles in deploying a branded employee application is uncovering exactly what it is that you're going to measure. You know, there's a lot behind. Uh, what exactly is the communicators are looking for? A, you need to validate those efforts. You need to bring those, uh, that validation to leadership. And also you want to uncover new and creative ways to help improve and expand that, uh, that process itself. So what we have today is we have, Frank Wolf are a co-founder and CMO at Staffbase and he has decades of experience to back up the knowledge that he's going to give us today. I'm really excited to talk to him and learn more about specifically the metrics end of using a branded employee application. So, frank, thank you so much for joining. I really appreciate you being here. Thanks for having me. And let's just jump right in. So you have spent a great deal of time working with organizations, um, that are, that are looking to evoke this thing called cultural transformation, but there's a bit of a bottleneck in that. How are you going to measure the success of that? Um, you'll need data to present to higher ups, et Cetera. So from your perspective, what are some of the key metrics that you've found are the most powerful when presenting engagement results to a leadership team?
Frank:
1:56
Great question. And I think like that's one of the most important question and one of the most pressing question, especially looking at communicators around the world who look at their initiatives and like think, what can I tell management? How can I prove that what I've done, that what we deliver really helps, right? The first thing to understand here desert, there's a difference between outputs and outcomes of communication, right? So, uh, an output can be anything that you see as a measurement today, maybe in your tool, like how many users do I have? What's engagement, uh, that has c, uh, on staff? How many posts did I put out? What are the channels that we put content on and, and, uh, communication on, right? That's one part. The other part is actually what's the outcome of all of this, right? How does it help? And outcome could be, it eases form real, real engagement. Like what are comments likes or any way feedback from, from uh, employees, from users. It moves on to employee surveys where you see yet you may have an engagement index based on this and you see how does it evolve? So over time, over the years, right? And even in the best cases, you can measure outcome as a real business impact in dollars as an Roi on what you do.
Jason:
3:20
Hmm. That's interesting. So, okay, so I like that you are parsing it between outputs and outcomes. And I think that's where probably a lot of the confusion comes from is you're either focus exclusively on the channel or your focus only on the actual outcome itself, so that way by looking at two of them together, you can figure out a way to balance that too in order to find those answers. But at right at the Ed, you mentioned one thing that really perked my interest and is this Roi factor, right? So Roi itself is a very, I would almost say it's a vague phrase because it's so, it just encompasses so much so it seems really hard to measure Roi. So how would I even go about doing that
Frank:
4:04
is hard to measure and here's the bad news first, right hind to ROI on your dashboard. It's not there, right? You, you have to search for it and you have to search for it in terms of go deep into cases and understand numbers. To give you an example. You can go to a safety department and they may have a safety communications channel and you can say we do safety communication and you can start to measure or posts that you do and the engagement that you get it, it's not business value yet. If you dig deeper, you can ask questions like, how many hours do you spend every week to put out this communication? How many people do as worldwide? How many accidents do we have in the company every week, every year? How many near misses do we have in a certain timeframe? What are the costs of these, uh, incidents?
Frank:
5:01
How does it all come together? And once you have that knowledge, you can pretty much combine it with your channel data, with what you see there. And you will be able to have some deductions and saying, this saves us time for the people that put the content out, maybe one or two hours a week or a day. Um, it saves actually, uh, accidents. It reduces accidents and it's has a real impact. But you have to search for the numbers first. And maybe that's the bad news. But I think that's so interesting. You have to look into these cases. You have to travel maybe sometimes onsite talk to the people and understand their case. We have one customer that's a transportation company. They use an employee app to put out training videos for truck inspection before, uh, they actually entered the truck and start the day. And they've this for a couple of months over a year. And they've seen that they saved 15% in damages, um, on the trucks because, uh, damages, uh, happened less often. And uh, the, the safety insurance fees, right? So this is a case you don't find on a dashboard, go out, talk to the people and look for it. And these stories or stories that you can also tell the leadership. Nobody will ever forget this. Everyone will talk about this, right? So in the best case, you bring together your analytics data and the bigger picture to these stories and say, and this is how it effects a business.
Jason:
6:35
Enjoying the podcast? I hope so. If you'd like to learn more about staff days, go to staffbase.com you can click on schedule a demo and now back to the show. So this ties right back to what you were originally saying about the difference between these outputs and these outcomes. So if you're looking at that trucking, uh, organization for example, the problem was there was injuries, there was, there's mechanical issues, et Cetera. There was, there was a lot of problems that were occurring from the driver's perspective and from a cost perspective as how expensive is it to fix this? What happens when we lose a driver, uh, for a time period because of the accident, things of that nature. So then the output is to create a platform or a medium that allows for a safety to be a primary focus. And then as you pro, as you push that out and you get more drivers to focus on that information, then you see the result is less and less of those issues occurring. And then there's your Roi right there. But yeah, that is complex. Okay, that's really interesting.
Frank:
7:37
And it's really like taking safety. Just two things. One is to challenge with safety is it's not enough to do this like once a year. You have to do this on an ongoing basis. So, um, it's very interesting to do this and kind of maybe even mobile platforms to, to get things out and keep talking about this. And the other part is I think there's a number out there that's really interesting. 60% of accidents happen in the first year of employment at the company because you are new to the environment. Uh, things are going on everywhere. You, you're not used to stuff. And so it's so important, especially if as part of the onboarding to, to address safety. Right? And that's just not one topic of many others. You could also go into retention, like go to HR and understand what's the, what's the employee turnover rate? How much does the employee costs? That leaves the company, how can we impact this? Right? If you look for numbers, you will find numbers.
Jason:
8:37
Excellent. Thank you. That was really, that's very interesting. Um, you, you mentioned at one part of your answer, you were talking about, you know, having this information available on a mobile device. Now I'm very curious that when you're measuring, uh, the, the use cases here, the difference between mobile and desktop, do you find it important to separate the two and, and, and provide analysis? Okay, this is the results from our mobile users. This is the results from our desktop users. Is there even reason to investigate that?
Frank:
9:15
I would say yes. And, and the, the basic insight that's really interesting is how many are accessing this on mobile, right? Um, if you find that this is a huge number, it also changes your mindset as the one that creates the content. Because, you know, like if 80%, half just on mobile that's have shorter, less text, let's have more picture, let's have more video, right? That we put this in a format that makes this worthwhile for them to read. So that's, that's one aspect that really helps. The other aspect is that you may find that for certain channels, you see, we have more mobile users. Um, maybe certain countries, certain user groups, maybe leadership, maybe sales. And this also helps you to tailor the content to the platform and to their, to their needs. Right? That's, uh, that would be the aspect where, where the difference is, is really useful and in something you really want to know.
Frank:
10:18
Interesting. So, yeah, go ahead. Yeah, sorry, maybe one last point. Um, just a very interesting point about mobile that we learned. Uh, that's, that's changing with analytics if you, it's kind of a real insight, but I think it's interesting if you send out a push notification, right? Um, and if you, if I'm an editor and I write in the title of the push notification what this is all about, right? It's pretty easy for users to just look at the push notification already know the content and no need to, to press on this anymore. This means there's a, uh, it's so powerful to have push notifications. There's a lot more activation, but at some points people just read this and they are informed and that's pretty much it. So, uh, one thing that you may have to do, you, you have to change the way you write titles for instance. So you would rather say a title is that's an important announcement. Please read. That's for mobile. It's might be a better title as to say them announcement itself because people won't click on them. Push message. Again, I know it's pretty detailed, but uh, that's, that's uh, that's a pretty significant impact you have when you, when you use push and
Jason:
11:33
absolutely. I mean even with just the idea of push notifications themselves, not to go off the rails here about push notifications, but there's, I mean, apple and Android, I mean they're finding new ways to interact with the push notification itself. What before you even enter the, so there's, there's a whole, there's a whole different mobile first frame of mind to be considering when you're sending, especially if it, let's say, I'll use an extreme example, a crisis situation. You know, you want to get, you don't, you don't necessarily, the goal isn't to get them to open the APP. The goal is to share a message to get them out.
Frank:
12:14
B, this would be one of the examples where it say, I don't care about the metrics. I just sometimes in a crisis situation you go further and say, I want to, um, people check in and say in the message, yes, I'm safe. So you can even do that. Then it's again a point where you want them to open this up. Right. And this is what it sounds like a really detailed discussion, but that's what's coming up when, when, when you do more. Right. I love it. I say, let's give it one metric about mobile that we found around push notifications on average on our platforms. Users open a message three times, uh, more often if it's pushed. So you see there's a pretty big impact in, in pushing stuff out.
Jason:
13:00
Interesting. That's very interesting. So the push notification, so there's kind of a two levels of that. One of the earlier podcasts we had with Peter was talking about, you know, when you're setting, when you learn you're leveraging the push notification, you need to be very respectful of making sure that it's relevant enough that it deserves a push notification. Um, because otherwise it can become noisy very quickly. Um, but then to your point and say when, when, assuming that you do that, when you do leverage it and then you have to make that decision on whether or not this is a meshes that were, that I would really need you to go into the application to acknowledge, or I'm just trying to send a message in my, the metrics are actually kind of irrelevant. I just want to make sure you get safe and get the message clear and as easy as possible.
Frank:
13:49
Absolutely. And as we like to say with, with push, with great power comes great responsibility. That's exactly the point, right? We think when do you want to use push? And we see it as, as, as editors as a part of like, let's say there's an e weekly editor's meeting, people sit together and like, what do we want to do this week? There's this new discussion coming around like, what do we actually want to push this week? So it's a, it's a part of the thinking that we see coming, uh, coming into these columns, discussions, enjoying the podcast. I hope so.
Jason:
14:23
If you'd like to learn more about staff days, go to staff based.com you can click on schedule a demo and now back to the show. Okay. So we've talked about the idea of these outputs, these outcomes. We talked about measuring Roi and what that looks like. And then we even started to dive a little bit into when to leverage push notifications, looking at measuring desktop users versus mobile users and trying to identify if there's something of value that, um, I know Staffbase itself offers a, a analytics dashboard. Um, and this, you know, for our, for our customers that are listening, um, I really like to get your specific insight into what are the most useful metrics to put on that dashboard. So that if you're going to be administrating Staffbase, what are those goto numbers or items that you should be looking at on a regular basis to know what you need to tweak and improve on, et cetera.
Frank:
15:24
There's starts with, with different levels. One level is to use our level, right? So you want to understand which use it, how many users are in the platform, right? And especially in this, this, uh, the question is who's not on the platform? Like what can I do to actually reach them? It's a specific locations as a specific target groups. Um, what can I do? So if you, if you have that, that's a, that's a really great basis. The second one would be around channels and to say like which channels work really well? A channel, it's like a, a tool to bring together a couple of news for specific target audience or around a specific topic. So you want to know which of the channels who works really well and you also want to know which content and the channels works really well. So it's this, um, usually of course it's content that's uh, that's a really relevant, that's local specific.
Frank:
16:22
Um, all these, these topics work really well. It's great if you have pictures in their videos in there, right? If you write the titles rail. So that's a lot of learnings you can do. That's, that's would say step one. Step two is especially to dive into target audiences and understand, let's say you have 10 locations and dive down and say we have a cultural change initiative going on. And if I look at the locations, you may see that that eight locations are pretty, pretty engaged and everything's good and two are lagging for some reason, right? This gives you so much insight to go there or talk to the leaders there and say like, what's going on? How can we help you to further improve that? And what do we need to do, um, to, to bring people, right? So this diving into target audiences, and this means pretty much every group that you have in Staffbase can be use for this. So if, you know, that's my leadership team, it's the new joiners, that's people from a specific country or with a specific job profile, you can dive down into these groups and understand their engagement. And based on that, you have way more detailed, uh, like way more detailed thinking on what to give them bottom, what to provide them with.
Jason:
17:46
Excellent. Okay. So that, that's great. So then here you have this, the dashboard is giving me insight into all of those different behaviors and actions, et cetera or uh, and so, so yeah, with that, what is the next step then? So I had this dashboard, I'm looking at it and I see, okay, for example, this one particular news feed or channel is wildly popular whereas another one is not. Um, what in your experience, what are you seeing organizations do to either capitalize on success or try to work to improve?
Frank:
18:23
Now that's the interesting part because now you can start off and say, what's working well? And you were in a great position if you have channels or examples does work well because it gives you an opportunity to learn if you, if you come from a marketing perspective or website perspective, you know a lot about ab tests, about experimentation. And we really liked the thinking behind this because from a communications, especially employee communications perspective, um, these types of roles typically or the last, the last resort before things go out, there are pretty risk averse. They need to be right and they don't want to do mistakes. And it's a, it's a great, it's a great approach to say we start an experiment, right? Instead of, uh, using this annual newsletter from the CEO this year, we do a five or 10 minute video and we don't say we do this from now on.
Frank:
19:22
We called as an experiment and we say we will do it, we will measure it and we will see what's going on. And this gives everyone the right mindset and expectation management what this is all about. So that's what I love about Ab testing and how we can bring a B testing with measurement also to columns and employee comms. That's, that's, that's the basis now if you have a larger company, you have a lot of different people typically that are involved in comms in your locations, in different roles. So there's a lot of things happening and there's, I'm pretty sure that good things are happening there and there are things to learn from best practices that evolve and stories to be told. If you are a central comms manager, your role is more to bring these people together, give them a platform, maybe have a yearly meeting of all editors and let them tell their story and say this is what works in our country. And then they talk about this. Others learn and can improve by themselves and all that is enabled by metrics. And that's, that's the fantastic thing about measurement is not so much, I know we are talking about this, go to the management and, and uh, tell them that your, your job really matters. That's important. But the really cool part is the learning and to improve and to experiment and the result.
Jason:
20:49
Yeah, absolutely. I think when you were talking about the Ab test in particular, the idea of just calling out what it is, this is an experiment, you know, we don't know exactly what we're going to get from it, but we want to just see and measure and get it, see how the adoption is, and then just by level setting right off the bat, I think you're going to, you're just, it opens up that relief. The pressure is off. You're not putting all of your eggs into one basket saying, this is what we're doing now, and Gosh, if it fails, it's just going to be catastrophic. It's just like, no, we're going to put her in a C, we're going to try something a little different, a little new. Let's just see if it breaks anything. And if it does, is it a good break or is it a bad break? And we go from there.
Frank:
21:33
That's exactly right. And to, to make this work, there's one thing that I personally think so important and often overlooked in terms of analytics and measurement. You think of these big dashboards where you look at and you have all the filters and you go into and dive and, and you need to be a data analytics person to even get this right. If, if you've worked with Google analytics, you know what I mean? If you can be weeks and weeks and without really understanding it, right? The important part of measurement is also bringing this to everyone that's involved. Right? Just to give you an example, um, maybe you can see this. Yeah. So that's, that's an article I've written a couple of days ago about some changes that we have and our team and I put in some pictures and so on. And what I have here as an author, I have the statistics. Great. So, and the important point is, is not a big dashboard. It just gives me the feedback of the important things that I want to know and even more important for measurement than just, uh, giving this big dashboard is get this out to everyone that's involved and give every author, give every contributor contributor the, the ability to learn about their own content and what they want to do.
Jason:
22:59
Enjoying the podcast. I hope so. If you'd like to learn more about staff days, go to staffbase.com you can click on schedule a demo and now back to the show. That's great. Yeah, and it's theirs. I think, you know, from it is, you mentioned earlier if a, if you're familiar with marketing, et Cetera, it's, I feel like internal communications or just communications in general. I mean, you are a marketer, you know, you're just, because you're not dive head in to Google analytics and inner trying to figure out the right technique with a high, you're going to do, uh, something on Facebook or Twitter. I mean, your world is this audience, which is your organization. And so it's that same frame of mind. You need to test things out. You need to see what sticks. You're probably gonna find some that surprise you. You know, if you, in going back to those push notifications, simple tweaks and how you phrase things in that push notification and then all of a sudden you're going to get way better results.
Jason:
23:56
That's all about how you work within the realms of this. And even if you have really good content but no one's reading it, well, there might be a way to present that content, uh, differently up front and then it will be read. And that's, that's great. This is really, and that's where the metrics really fall into place by testing that out. Um, so true. That's, this is really interesting. I love this stuff. Um, so okay. If I needed to say. Great. All right, let's give me just a way to package this all up. Um, I need to just understand the business value of measuring engagement, right? How would I begin to have that conversation or what would it be in your frame of mind?
Frank:
24:41
First, I would repeat like my, the big message that I have in that, in that field is, I know you do it first to prove that your job is important, that your work is important at columns is important. Unfortunately. And this has to be approved again and again because it's so hard to measure compared to other stuff that companies do, right? So totally get this, but I think it's very important to stay, uh, stay closer to the whole topic of learning, improving, experimenting, really used the numbers to get better or help others to get better in what they do and how they put out stuff. We are in the, especially also in marketing right now, you see, it doesn't work to just sell stuff to people anymore. People just shut down. They don't want to hear it anymore. You need to be authentic. You need to have story, you need to have a message and numbers force you to think about it.
Frank:
25:45
They force you to improve on that. And that's exactly what this also happens for in trauma coms, right? So that's, that's one thing. And the other thing, once you have the numbers, it's important to also keep talking about them in terms of like put us out if you have an intranet, if you have an APP, talk about them, write about them to a video about them, talk about numbers and cases that you learned about. Because the more you do this, the more people have also come back to you and say, Hey, I heard you talking about this case. That sounds really interesting. And by the way, here's my story on how communication impacts what I do, right? So you will be able to gather a lot of these stories if you start to talk about analytics and measurement and the stories that you learned, right? If you share stories, things, we'll come back and you will even have more stuff to share.
Jason:
26:39
That's great. Thank you very much. Last question. Are you working on anything fun? And if so, I would love to hear about it.
Frank:
26:50
We are actually, we work on a, on a campaign right now. It's about how staff piece helps organizations that use a SharePoint, uh, today for communication to improve the way to which their employees. It's also about measurement. SharePoint historically is not, is not a very good tool to help with measurement there and a lot of SharePoint, um, like owners and communicators today or pre concerned about this. Also about complexity and it's not really good on mobile. So these are all things that we want to help organizations with, um, to, to move on, uh, and, and have a way better, uh, approach to each to employees and a, and also get the numbers that they, we want and the campaigns. It's going to be really fun. So we, we look forward to for it to be launched and a, yeah, that's what I'm working on too.
Jason:
27:47
Excellent. That does sound fun. Um, I love, yeah, let's, let's bring the fun out of sharepoint. I like that. Let's do it. That sounds great. Frank, thank you so much for your time. This has been very helpful and I think it's going to help a lot of folks out there that are in the process of either whether they already have deployed a branded employee app or as we're considering it, I think this really helps put a nice frame work around how they're going to start to think about what measuring this thing called success is from doing this deployment. Uh, thank you so much. I hope you have a great day and uh, we'll be on again soon. Thanks again.
Frank:
28:29
Thanks, Jason. Really enjoyed the conversation and thank you. Thank you. Okay.
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