For many businesses, tracking and reporting on media data plays a key part of everyday work.
A strong media profile can have a positive impact on a company’s reputation amongst current staff, potential future employees and for attracting clients—just as a weak profile can have the opposite effect.
But the real advantage of media data is when it’s used to better understand trends, motivators and the wider market. Media profile and how issues are reported has an impact on where people want to work and how they feel about their current employer.
Combined with other business metrics, media data can help businesses understand how clients and consumers view their business and their overall business performance—beyond the volume and reach of media clippings.
In my experience, when we have compared engagement survey or internal focus group results with a wider media profile analysis, there is usually a strong correlation between how employees are feeling, and what is being said about their organisation publicly.
Employees are the strongest brand advocates, and understanding all the information they have access to about a company—internally and externally—is important if you want to know how they may be feeling.
Understanding what kind of announcements or initiatives drive engagement from both current and potential staff can also be measured through media coverage and social media response.
Recent examples of initiatives that were widely reported on, and are likely to impress staff and help attract new talent and clients include:
- New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) announcing a new parental leave policy extending an additional one-off payment of $5000 to permanent employees who are primary carers—the equivalent of an additional nine weeks of paid leave—as well as making a change to leave accrued while the primary carer is on parental leave.
- The Warehouse Group’s work to implement a domestic violence policy in consultation with the Human Rights Commission to support staff who are victims of family violence.
- Perpetual Guardian’s four-day week, where they trialled paying staff a full salary for four days’ work instead of five days, earlier in the year. Independent researchers measured the impact of the trial on the workforce and Perpetual’s CEO recently declared the trial a success and announced the four-day week would be made permanent from November.
- Overseas, the lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity Stonewall announced its Top Global Employers for 2018. Organisations were marked on several core areas including employee policy, training, staff engagement, leadership, monitoring and community engagement. The list celebrates the efforts of leading organisations to create inclusive workplaces and advance equality for LGBT people wherever they are in the world.
While you would expect announcements like these to be positive for the brand, they are also examples of industry innovation. Audiences love innovation, it helps to differentiate brands in a competitive market, and give organisations a licence to be thought leaders.
Using media to better understand trends can provide valuable insights on the challenges and potential avenues for success. Business cases for policy changes can be better supported and fleshed out with examples of the impact that similar announcements have had for other companies around the world.
It is easier to see industry trends and what is working (or not) for other organisations, and understand what might be driving the decisions of future employees.
For example, how important is a successful corporate social responsibility (CSR) or diversity and inclusion policy in recruiting Generation X or Millennials as employees? Or are companies getting an edge in attracting certain demographics from having a female CEO?
Has a paid parental leave or flexi-hours policy changed how a company is discussed? Has an announcement about diversity programmes created more impact than a new sponsorship?
Part of a planned strategy
Data doesn’t live in isolation. It is only useful if it forms part of a planned strategy or research project. It’s crucial to know what you want to achieve from the outset so you ask the right questions and can best utilise the constant stream of information that the data will provide.
Using media data to flesh out and give context to your other metrics can give a more rounded view on how your business is viewed and what is driving that sentiment.
More companies are asking these questions of media data to give them an edge, solve problems, make business cases, and to better understand what factors are most important in influencing their employer brand. It’s an often under-utilised, but incredibly powerful lens to view the world and make sense of where to go next.
As originally published in Employment Today Magazine NZ.
Ngaire Crawford, Head of Insights NZ