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  • Writer's pictureAnton Tsuji

Don't be afraid of numbers in your communication goals

Without measurable goals, many efforts in corporate communication are wasted. Unfortunately, smart goal setting is often overlooked in internal communication. In this article, you'll learn how to not only define your communication goals correctly but also use them to prove the ROI of your initiatives.

A crowd of people running away from a cloud of numbers

Okay, let's be honest: It's not that internal communication departments don't have goals. It's more that their goals typically… well, let's just say they're not exactly management best practice.

The problem? Most goals in corporate communication are poorly or not at all measurable. They sound like: “We communicate our sustainability strategy”, “We promote a sense of unity” or “We launch a new intranet.” Might sound good, but it's of little help. These goals are binary because they mostly boil down to “done” or “not done”. And that leads to, mildly put, nothing. At least nothing long-term effective.

Why binary goals suck

Such goals are not just unappealing, they actively hinder effective communication work. The reasons are simple. These binary goals are…

  • unspecific: Vague goals lead to vague success. What exactly do we want to achieve?

  • … difficult to measure: How do we measure whether we have achieved the goal?

  • … poorly realizable: Many goals are so nebulous that you don't even know when you're “finished”.

  • … irrelevant: Often, communication goals are not supported by management because they lack a clear connection to the company strategy (more precisely: generating revenue).

  • … not time-bound: When exactly should the goal be achieved?

Let's get SMART

The word SMART in front of a lot of light bulbs

A good method for writing better measurable goals are SMART goals. We sometimes find the mnemonic a bit silly, but it actually provides good guidance:

  • S – Specific: Clearly defined goals that everyone understands.

  • M – Measurable: Progress and success must be quantifiable.

  • A – Accepted: All participants should support the goal.

  • R – Realistic: The goal must be achievable with available resources.

  • T – Time-bound: A fixed end date or a clear timeframe.

Applied to the dud examples above, it would look like this:

Communication Goals 2nd Quarter 2024:

  • 75% of our workforce have been demonstrably informed about the sustainability strategy – the Acceptance Score is over 80%

  • Our eNPS (Employee Net Promoter Score) increases by 20% through an internal communication campaign.

  • 90% of employees use our new intranet daily

Benefits of SMART Goals

By applying SMART goals, you can not only improve your communication strategy but also have a real, measurable impact on your company. You will be able to clearly demonstrate the ROI of your communication measures and prove that your work makes a significant contribution to the overall success of the company. This not only increases the visibility of your department within the company but also strengthens your position, showing that communication is an integral part of company success.

By integrating SMART goals into your daily work, you not only gain clarity about your goals and methods but also create a culture of continuous improvement and measurable success. This means you can adjust and optimise your strategies based on real data, leading to more effective and efficient communication campaigns. Ultimately, this allows you to maximise your influence within the company and sustainably and successfully achieve your communication goals.

Taking it a step further

Having understood the importance of SMART goals, we can take it a step further. There are several goal-setting methodologies. We at clusterfck love the OKR methodology (stands for Objectives and Key Results), which not only helps us structure goals but also view them in a larger framework focused on continuous improvement and adaptability.

The word OKR in front of a lot of targets

The philosophy behind OKRs

OKRs are based on the idea that goals should not only be ambitious and measurable, but also dynamic and flexible to encourage creativity in goal pursuit. They enable teams to focus on the essentials by using agile and adaptable methods, without defining the path to the goal too concretely and thus inflexibly. OKRs promote a culture of goal orientation and continuous feedback, which is especially advantageous in rapidly changing environments such as corporate communication, as they allow room for innovative approaches and adjustments in the process.

Example intranet relaunch:

Take, for instance, the relaunch of a dusty corporate intranet. The overarching goal (Objective) could be: “Successful relaunch of the intranet to improve internal communication and employee engagement.”

For this, the following Key Results could be defined:

  • 90% of employees use our new intranet daily (e.g., measurable in daily active users).

  • 65% of intranet users interact with the content (e.g., measurable via social functions)

  • At least 25 comments are posted on the intranet per week

By integrating OKRs into our strategy, we not only set clear and measurable goals but also create a framework for continuous improvements and adaptations. This approach helps us not only to plan, but also to reflect and learn – a key to long-term success in the dynamic world of corporate communication.

Cool. What's Next?

To successfully implement a system like OKRs, you, of course, need a few more ingredients. For starters, you need to be able to measure the KPIs mentioned here. You'll receive tips on these topics and more when you download our soon-to-be-released guide, “Change Enablement Marketing”. We are also happy to provide you with tips and more thoughts through our email newsletter.

Some useful FAQs

How do I formulate SMART goals in corporate communication?

Formulating SMART goals in corporate communication means focusing on five key aspects: Specificity (precise definition of the goal), Measurability (clear criteria for success), Acceptance (approval of all involved), Realism (achievability under current conditions), and Time-bound (a set timeframe for achieving the goal). For example, instead of “We improve employee engagement,” a SMART goal could be: “By the end of the quarter, we increase employee satisfaction by 10%, measured by an internal survey.”

What are OKRs and how do I apply them in my company?

OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) are a framework for setting goals, consisting of ambitious objectives (Objectives) and measurable key results (Key Results). In your company, you could apply OKRs by setting clearly defined, challenging goals and supporting these with specific, quantifiable results. For example, an Objective might be: “Increase brand awareness”, with Key Results such as “Increase website traffic by 30%” and “Boost social media engagement by 25%”.

How do I measure the success of my communication strategy?

The success of a communication strategy can be measured using various metrics, depending on the set goals. This could include analysing engagement rates on social media, evaluating employee feedback, observing changes in customer perception, or measuring changes in sales or customer satisfaction. It's important that the measurement methods are directly adapted to the set goals and are regularly reviewed to identify progress and areas for improvement.

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clusterfck's founders lara klinkenberg and anton tsuji
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