Setting Measurable Objectives

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Q: I would like to know if there is a reliable measurement instrument that could be applied to determine the level of programme effectiveness when it comes to measuring communication programmes. Your response would be sincerely appreciated.

Werna du Preez

A: Dear Werna:

Unfortunately, I don’t think there is just one instrument. Many people have developed different instruments. In addition, what makes your own program successful might be quite different from what makes another company’s program successful in the eyes of its management. You will need to tailor a measurement instrument to your own needs. You might want to take a look at my response about communication audits to Clark Miller elsewhere in this list of questions for an overview of the many different approaches to measuring the effectiveness of a communication program to see if some of them might work well for you.

The beginning point should be setting objectives for your program, and making them measurable objectives. For example, one goal might be to make sure employees know about the company strategy. Possible measurable objectives could include any of these different ways of defining success for this objective:

  • Have 80% of employees be aware that we have a written strategy
  • Have 50% of our employees be able to identify our three strategies from a list of five possible ones.
  • Have 67% of employees know what percentage of market share we are trying to achieve in the year 2001.
  • You can also develop measurable objectives for communication channels, for example:
  • Ensure that 95% of employees receive our employee publication each month
  • Ensure that 67% of the employees who do receive the publication believe it provides information they either need or want to have.
  • Have at least 25% of employees who receive the publication say that reading something in the publication has affected the way they do their jobs.

When you set objectives, you first define what criteria have to be met to define “success.” This should be developed together with your management to be sure that your definition of success matches theirs. When you make those objectives measurable, you begin to define the exact questions that need to be in your own individual measurement instrument that will help you quantify how successful you are.

Thanks for your question,

Angela D. Sinickas