I’m an evaluation evangelist: it’s an element of communications strategy planning you shouldn’t ever leave out. Many of you are already making it a routine part of your work as communications professionals, and that’s a great thing.
But if you’re just dipping your toes into these waters—and congratulations on taking that first step—here’s a question you’ll need to think about before diving in:
How is evaluation treated in your organization?
If you’re operating in an organizational culture that’s highly focused on measurement, think about what gets measured and how that information is valued. It usually makes sense to follow the existing language and structure when shaping your evaluation work. For example, if your organization currently uses a dashboard to capture data from its operations group, perhaps you can link your evaluation to that dashboard or create a similar tool. If your business measures its results based on ‘key performance indicators’ or ‘metrics,’ you should do the same. This will enhance alignment and elevate the perceived value of your work.
On the other hand, if your organizational culture isn’t at all oriented to evaluation, expect the task of getting attention for your evaluation efforts to be more challenging. Think of some creative ways to make the case to your colleagues and executives, and take satisfaction in some baby steps toward a more robust evaluation environment.