Best Practices


5 ways to define your universe

Benchmarking with other companies is a fantastic way to learn what you could be doing better, and to get ideas for initiatives, formats or channels you might like to try in your own internal communications.

Internal communications benchmarking is particularly valuable because communicators in one company don’t often see the work that those in other companies are doing. It’s different in consumer branding, when you see your competitors’ ads (and those of unrelated brands) online, on air, in social media and in trade pubs.

At Tribe, we’ve pulled together participants and developed the questions for many benchmarking projects for our clients. We’ve also done a lot of benchmarking for our own research, such as how large employers were handling communications during the pandemic.

When you’re developing a benchmarking study, we’d suggest these five considerations for scope and structure:


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Widen your focus

If you’re in manufacturing, for instance, you’ll certainly want to include other manufacturing companies in your pool of participants. But you could also look for manufacturers in industries that are unrelated to yours. For instance, if you’re an apparel manufacturer, you might be surprised by what you learn from communicators working in pharma, mining or aviation.

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Discover other audiences

Continuing with our apparel manufacturer example above, talking with communicators who are also working with plant employees is an obvious choice. But think about other non-desk or unwired employee audiences as well. For instance, what solutions are being used to communicate with doctors, nurses and other clinicians in hospital setting? How are rideshare services hotels, or pest control companies communicating?

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Think about geography

Are you a global company with employees in more than 30 countries? Or are you located only in North America in a handful of offices? Invite participants with similar footprints to your company’s. If you’re dealing with issues like time zones, multiple languages and national cultural differences, it will be helpful to hear how other communicators are crossing hurdles like translations and scheduling town halls.

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Ask one question at a time

Stick to measuring one factor per question. For instance, if you’re interested in human-to-human channels, you might come up with a question like this: “How effective do you find manager cascades and corporate town halls?” But that’s lumping manager communications in with executive leadership communications — which are two very different things. Compound questions won’t yield very useful results.

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Allow room to explore 

Quantitative results are the primary goal of most benchmarking projects. But open-ended questions can provide nuance and context that you won’t get from multiple choice and yes-or-no questions. Offer at least a few opportunities in your survey for participants to elaborate on what they can share about the challenges and solutions that are the real reason for your benchmarking study.

How can we help?

Tribe does internal communications – and that’s all we do. We’re a full-service shop, from audits and strategy to creative and production.

Steve Baskin
President and Chief Strategy Officer
Office: (404) 256-5858
Mobile: (404) 663-7910
[email protected]