3 steps to measure success for an internal social media community

Step 1: Figure out what your goal is

Define why you are doing what you are doing. This should be something that adds value to the business. If you don’t know this, and aren’t scrambling to define this right now, then you should maybe start looking for a new job now before you’re laid off. Why not be proactive about it, right?
Some example goals for an internal social media community could be to increase employee productivity, increase employee satisfaction or spread knowledge across the organization.

Step 2: Find out how your goal is already measured at your company

There are two main sources of data for this:
Data source A: Every enterprise company that I’ve worked with surveys their employees at least once a year to understand how satisfied they are, how up to date they feel they are with respect to communication to upper management etc.
Data source B: Enterprise companies also usually have a formal employee evaluation process. If one of your goals is to increase employee productivity, this should be a valuable source of data for you.

Step 3: Use current measurement to understand impact of your activity

Employee surveys are usually confidential and run by a third party company, but you should be able to work with the company running these surveys to cross reference employees that are active on your internal community to survey results to see if active employees are more likely to be more satisfied etc. You could also take the next step to see if an employees satisfaction scores went up after they started actively using the community. If, like at most companies, much less than 100% of your employees are actively engaged in the community, then you should have a large control group to compare against.
A similar method can be applied to the employee evaluation process. You should be able to provide a list of employees who are actively engaged in your internal community to your HR group to run an analysis seeing if there is a correlation between productive employees and employees that use the internal community. HR groups should be against sharing employee reviews with you (if they’re not it is cause for concern), so they’ll need to run the analysis.

Summation

Use the results to demonstrate how effective (or ineffective) your community is. Scream from the rafters if you are increasing productivity and then ask for more money to do more. If you aren’t being effective then take a serious look at what you are doing and take steps to fix it.

Additional Notes

Due to the nature of the data sources used, this is going to be a once a year exercise. There are many other things you should be paying attention to on a daily basis to monitor performance (e.g. engagement levels, registrations, traffic, etc.), but most of those don’t answer how well you are executing against your fundamental goal – unless your goal is as un-ambitious as getting more people to use the internal community, which in and of itself doesn’t demonstrate business value.

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