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Measuring the Effectiveness of Employee Communications A General Motors Case Study Kathy Collins Director, Communications Research
Key Events • Competitive pressures increase • Market share declines • Major internal reorganizations • Management goes through phases of denial, reorganizations, then recommits to business basics GM’s recent history GM’s Market Share 50.0% 45.0% 40.0% 35.0% 30.0% 25.0% 20.0% 15.0% 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% 1999 1980
1 in 5 adult Americans knows and regularly talks with a GM employee Employee contact is one of the most credible sources of information about products about the company Employees make a huge impression ….
A two-day corporate benchmarking symposium: GM hosts 13 world-class communicators • 3M • AT&T • Florida Power and Light • Hewlett-Packard • IBM • Motorola • Ritz-Carlton • Royal Bank of Canada • Royal Bank of Scotland • Southwest Airlines • SRC Holdings Corporation • Texas Instruments • Whirlpool
The process is based on seven building blocks of effective internal communication Actively Engage Employees In The Business Environment Vision Use Face-To-Face Communications Leaders Must Drive Communications Communicate With Employees Openly, Frequently,And First Focus On Deeds Not Words Craft Clear, Relevant Messages Measure Communication Performance Performance
GM “deep dives” into key communication elements Improvement Process Objective To establish a communications structure and process to improve business performance Improvement Process Structure External Bench-marking Message Content Message Development Process Common Process Media Measurements
The communication improvementplan starts with best practices • Business leaders will drive communications using face-to-face meetings and “Winning Together” theme • Sites will implement a common communications process • Common activities • Overarching theme and six key messages • Upgraded media tools and technology • Site Business Communications Integrators Goal • Actively engage all employees • Improve business performance • Each site’s process, capability and overall effectiveness will be measured and tied to business results
Management leads communication measurement with these requirements • One number per location that local and divisional leaders can manage • Added to the overall divisional performance measurement process • Structured around common processes to be implemented at every site in North America
The internal communication process will be measured and tied to business plan objectives Communication Plan In Support Of Business Plan Problem Resolution Communicate Messages Measurements Process Audit Process Capability Overall Effectiveness Scorecard And Insight Generation
Metrics Staged to Accommodate Variability of Site Communications Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Minimum measurements across the sites Raise the bar Part of the performance scorecard • Communications Activity Inventory • Activity Process Audit • Mechanism Evaluation • Environmental Surveys • Business Goal Attainment • Communications Activity Inventory • Activity Process Audit • Mechanism Evaluation • Environmental Surveys • Business Goal Attainment • Communications Activity Inventory • Activity Process Audit • Mechanism Evaluation • Environmental Surveys • Business Goal Attainment • Process evaluations • Process evaluations • Standardized, numerically based metric for sites
Communication Scorecard Outline FrequencyActual Occurrences Planned Occurrences Common Process Activity ContentStandards Effectiveness Score Department/Team Meetings Diagonal Slice Meetings ____% ____% Number Number (X) (X) (=) Newsletters/Written Communications Quarterly Business Updates State of the Business Meetings Environmental Survey Environmental Score Total Score
Common Process Activity Minimum GMNA Level PlannedOccurrences (Inventory) Department/Team Meetings Diagonal Slice Meetings Newsletters/Written Communications Quarterly Business Update State Of The Business Meetings • Monthly = 12 • Each employee = 1 • (execs w/ >100, monthly; execs with <100, quarterly) • Site newsletter — weekly = 48 • Division newsletter — monthly = 12 • Quarterly = 4 • Annual = 1 The frequency audit measures actual vs. planned occurrences of each common process activity
Common Process Activity Content Standards Capability Goal Attendance Operations content Area/Dept goals content External content Dialogue, Q&A time 100% 35% 25% 10% 30% Department/Team Meetings Total Each process activity’s capabilities will be based on specified attributes and established goals Exploded View of Standards for Department/Team Meetings
Each process is measured by degrees- from being informed - to taking action Communication Action Strategy Correlation Score/level of action taken by employee 0= No business information available through this process 1 = Business information is barely available through this process 2 = Occasional reference to business goals in this process 3 = Business information is generally available in this process 4 = Dialogue is taking place regarding business issues in response to this process 5 = This process helps explain how business goals affect employees 6 = Employees can describe how local leadership is involved in supporting business goals as a result of this process 7 = Employees can articulate personal role in business issues 8 = Employees can explain what actions they personally need to take in support of their locations business goals as a result of this process 9 = Employees can describe what actions they took to support business goals as a result of this process 10 = Employee actions resulting from this process have improved business performance Information Understanding Commitment Action Business performance improves
FrequencyActual Occurrences Planned Occurrences Common Process Activity ContentStandards Effectiveness Score Department/Team Meetings Diagonal Slice Meetings Newsletters/Written Communications Quarterly Business Updates State of the Business Meetings 90% 100% 95% 100% 100% 80% 90% 75% 70% 90% 6 8 6 5 5 =4.3 =7.2 =4.3 =3.5 =4.5 Environmental Score 6.5 =30.3 Total Score A communication scorecard for a site could look like this…
Capability Goal Attain 0 2 4 6 8 10 Actual = __% Planned Total (Xi)/n = __% Capability Goal Attain 0 2 4 6 8 10 Actual = __% Planned Total (Xi)/n = __% Capability Goal Attain 0 2 4 6 8 10 Actual = __% Planned Total (Xi)/n = __% Capability Goal Attain 0 2 4 6 8 10 Actual = __% Planned Total (Xi)/n = __% Capability Goal Attain 0 2 4 6 8 10 Actual = __% Planned Total (Xi)/n = __% Relevant to Msgs, SW, & Media The math behind the single communication scorecard-type metric Mechanism Capability Actual Occurrences PlannedOccurrences (Inventory & Audit) Process Effectiveness(1) Standardized Work Score Newsletters (Written Communications) Department & Area Managers Meetings State of Business Meetings Diagonal Slice Meetings Business Updates (Satellite Broadcasts) Max = 10.0 Max = 10.0 Max = 10.0 Max = 10.0 Max = 10.0 = __ (number) = __ (number) = __ (number) = __ (number) = __ (number) Viewpoint Score Max = 10.0 Total Score Max = 60.0 Notes: (1) Gathered from CC Integrator Process Evals & Standardized Work feedback: obtain general level of EE understanding of key information
Key Communications Effectiveness Measures (Base for Environmental Score) • My supervisor acts on my ideas, suggestions and concerns. • I have the opportunity to participate in solving problems that affect my job. • My supervisor is kept well-informed by upper management. • Communication here is well-planned and efficient. • My plant or staff is well-organized and efficient. • Management and employees here are all working toward the same objectives. • I have the tools and information I need to make a full contribution here. • My plant or staff provides me with information about the company. • I understand the reasons for decisions within my plant or staff that affect me. • Top management is visible and accessible. • Overall communications are improving in my plant or staff.
Low scores on effectiveness should generate insight and new business and communications plans Is the effectiveness score over or under five? Identify common processes that do not meet the standard define corrective action Always do, regardless of score Under Over Review survey and/or focus group data. Identify environmental elements that contribute to communication effectiveness Put plans in place to maintain good communication environment Review viewpoint survey and/or focus group data. Identify environmental elements that Do Not contribute to communication effectiveness Prioritize those elements that make most significant negative Impact on communication effectiveness Develop corrective action plan to address environmental issues. involve site steering committee
Summary points Process • GM has a common process for communications across North America • Management and Communications have a common process they can communicate through together Scorecard • Scorecard balances different elements (frequency, content, effectiveness and third-party surveys) to create credibility • Management has a measurement tool that they understand and accept • Management drives the process and manages the measurement • Scorecard facilitates implementation and improvements • Communications people now have data to take to management — not just “feelings”