Tag Archives: Measurement

Social Media will not replace the need to survey

Those in hungry need for budgets and time to access the thoughts and feelings of stakeholders are increasingly using social media. This is a vast new frontier for researchers. I am excited to participate in the innovation of new methodologies to interpret our findings.Yet, this exciting new area will not achieve what a survey does.

Most of the new processes like Ideation using tools like PollStream give us researchers new data sets. They allow participants to vote and comment. This is useful data but it must be put into context. It is not a survey that had distribution methodology. Surveys can potentially be generalized to the broader populations.  At their foundation these new tools are qualitative in nature and should be used as such.

In corporate communications research qualitative measurement is gold. They give us evidence and inform why people think what they do. The professional practices that communication and human resources professionals alike should resist is reporting these findings back to executives with the indication that they provide a predominance of opinion. Specifically, for engaging and informing employees the survey retains the position as the best tool to inform and track our progress. With more study, social media tools may emerge with some quantitative elements but we are not there yet.

The employee engagement survey best practices in 2010
To fulfill the objectives of the survey and enhance the value of the benchmark data, I construct a theory of business using leader interviews and organizational plans. A theory of business is a model that reflects the circumstances that organizations believe would bring about goal attainment. This theory includes the foundational measures used in the benchmarks that look at a variety of foundational engagement factors (I use the Conference Board of Canada`s 2006 Meta Analysis on Employee Engagement). The next two areas examined are focused around the mandate/values and the strategic priorities specific to your organization. The last section queries the ability of the participants to engage, innovate and inform decisions. The presentation of these elements in more detail can be illustrated with the following typical items in an engagement survey:


Surveys are powerful two-way communications. Anyone conducting an organizational survey should appreciate that the very act of surveying itself influences attitudes (Walters, 2002). The survey communicates what is important to an organization. What is asked and responded to will create a social contract between the organization and employees. The process can tell employees you care about their issues and that you are willing to do something about these issues (Church & Oliver, 2006). From a leadership perspective, the most powerful survey is one that enables a strategic frame and moves away from purely transactional relationships.

The survey sets the limits or boundaries for a creative and innovative discussion around continual improvement. The survey will be constructed to communicate an outcome focus, important values and supporting mechanisms that will enable goal achievement.

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Filed under Communication, Employee Surveys

IABC World Conference in Toronto

What a great time with old and new friends at this years IABC World Conference. Some speakers were great, some good and one dud. Free the Children was inspirational and Guy Kawasaki was motivational. I enjoyed engaging colleagues from Tanzania, Poland, South Africa, Brazil and the US. What a bunch of great people. My presentation was well received and I would love to get more feedback. My slides are below. You would have had to been there to hear the story. So as IABC seeks to enhance value, be vital and increase its visibility how do you think the profession will change or should change?

Short version in Prezi

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Filed under Communication, Planning

Genius is not required for great leadership – learn how

I love the game of football and I am not the only one. I work with a group of men who feel the same way. We love the process, the practice, the games and the social aspects. For those who really love the game it is the purpose that young men find in the game that really motivates us and as coaches we have the opportunity to impart values, work ethic and show young men what love looks like.  The touchdowns are fun but it is the changed lives that create passion.

Learning how to deal with disappointment and victory offers coaches the chance to grow with their team. We dedicate countless hours with game plans, practice plans, breaking down film and professional development to be the best. This desire comes from the belief that we can win and that will change lives. We are not that smart but we work hard, we are organized and we have passion for what we do.

I write this blog to share the leadership lessons I learn on my journey as a consultant, a coach, father and husband. I have a belief that good leadership is good leadership. With this belief, I go as often as I can to the annual University of Washington Huskies football clinic. Some of the most inspiring and insightful leaders I have met and listened to have been at this clinic. Some of these leaders were 40 season high school football coaches, legendary college coaches and NFL greats.

This year, a former NFL coach made an impression on me. Jim Mora coached both the Seattle Seahawks and the Atlanta Falcons. He is a ‘loose cannon’. He is the type of speaker that makes you nervous, like the nervousness you get when you watch the Office television show. You really don’t know what he is going to say. He knows this and warns you for this eventuality. This is one of the reasons he is a former coach. So with his lack of brain filter how did he become a head coach in a competitive profession – the answer is he has some great leadership practices.

  1. He sets the big picture for his players in terms they can understand. His premise for all his drills and systems are used to increase turnovers for other teams and reduce their own. He has the stats – 62% of teams with a +1 turnover ratio will win. This is the focus around which all other activities are based. We will win when we cause turnovers and when we protect the football. To do this he has to encourage specific player and coach behaviours.
  2. He clearly defines what bad behaviour is and what good behaviour is. Bad behaviours are ‘Loafs.’ He breaks this out into observable activities like accelerating out of every move on the football field. That acceleration is termed a burst. The absence of this burst is call a’ Loaf ‘. Good behaviours have themes. Competitions are created to have winners and losers for protecting the ball. If you cause a big play or turn the ball over it is acknowledged.
  3. When everything is defined it can be measured. The team films and counts everything they do. This information is aggregated and tracked individually, by units and as a team. They track and trend and relate those measurements back to what they do. In business planning terms their outputs.
  4. When measurement happens accountability is possible. Football teams watch a lot of film and everyday Mora’s teams will get the ‘Loafs’ posted by player number for all to see on the film room door. Along with the Loaf, great plays are celebrated and posted.

Players know why they are doing what they are doing, they know what is expected of them, they know it is being tracked and they know that it will be reported. Now think about your work day – can you say these same things. These practices drive performance and yet in business the planning and measurement budgets may be the first things to be cut. I think we can all learn a little from a fired NFL coach.

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Filed under Leadership

IABC Gold Quill Blue Ribbon Panel 2010

This year has been a pivotal one for corporate communications with the speed of technological change and global economic turmoil. The work that came in from around the world to be judged at IABC headquarters in San Francisco reflected that turmoil. Crisis plans that managed H1N1, companies struggling to do more with less, non-profits getting amazing results with limited resources and the continued integration of social media characterized the work we reviewed. Work plans both challenged the judges to contextualize the results and to be critical where little strategy was in place and when excellence was found we celebrated. A cow bell from Vancouver was the sign of exuberance inspired by the world’s best communicators.

The judging panel was made up of some of the best minds in the communication business and the best personalities. We had representation from Russia, India, South Africa, Argentina, Australia, China, Belgium, England, Canada and the US. Collectively, we represented all aspects of the communication world from technical to written, and creative to management. Together, we looked for winning entries.

The IABC staff did a great job acting as a host and a resource. Thank you for your efforts and the instant creation of a spell checker (which I should always use).

Entry Highlights

Great work seemed to always follow a good understanding of the business need and some solid research of the audience.

One area that seemed be weak in many entries was the audience description. Note to all who enter in the future, everyone is not an audience you should program for. A great example of a description is one that lets us know the primary audiences demographic details, and provides an evidence based assessment of their behaviours and attitudes.

One trend was an increased number of entries for micro sites to support organizational programs. I am not sure if this was a reflection of smaller budgets or the ease of implementation when we do not have to attach our efforts to our corporate websites.  I was surprised to note that many of these sites did not integrate social media options for feedback or sharing.

What a great time to learn and improve my own professional practice. To give you a flavour of the process above is a short video with Tim Buckley finishing strong with an original Gold Quill anthem.

A special thanks to:
Julie Freeman, ABC, APR for the use of her office.
Paul Matalucci, ABC for opening his home to us and being such a great host.
John Finney, ABC for his wisdom and good humour.
Stacey Thornberry for getting us there and making us feel so welcome.

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Filed under Communications, Leadership, Public Relations

Social media measurement and the ‘Hawthorne Effect’

This week’s video blog remembers the wisdom of Elton Mayo and applies his research to social media measurement.

Here are my two reactions when I think about the Elton Mayo’s Hawthorn Effect and social media measurement:

  1. Wow the possibilities!

  2. Oh no, we can really mess this up if we are not careful.

A resource for a more precise look at the Hawthorne Effect.

An example of the new powerful tools – Social Radar.

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Filed under Employee Surveys

Video Blog Series on Employee Research

Today, I am launching a video blog series on the evolution of employee research. This series will highlight significant historical milestones, thought leaders, practitioners, and market demands. I will explore issues like the confusion in the use of terms like employee engagement and the choice of research practices. These issues can be traced back to events, fads and conflicting ideas. I look forward to your insights and conversations arising from this series.

videoblog-series-image-1

What other events, fads or conflicting ideas can be captured in this discussion?

The next post will be the first video blog. I will introduce scientific and humanistic management.

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Filed under Employee Surveys