Everything happens for a reason.

Yes, even when it comes to your employee emails.

Every open and every click means something.

Now, you may be used to taking your internal email metrics to leadership and getting accolades for your awesome open rate. That’s great.

But if you are just celebrating opens or clicks, without looking into why it happened, you’re losing half the story.

And there is a story.

And like all good stories, it’s full of insights and important lessons.

There is powerful, actionable information about the employee email experience lurking just below the surface of your email metrics. Learn to uncover it, and it will help you improve your communications and engage employees.

Using email analytics to get to the human side of data

A lot of the communicators we know get a bit defensive when we start talking about data.

They know they should be collecting it, analyzing it, and making strategic, data-based decisions. Every consultant and employee engagement technology on the market is singing the same tune. (Including us.)

But there seem to be some real cognitive barriers stopping communicators from opening their hearts up to data. And of course, some logistical barriers too.

The biggest problem is that communicators believe they are not numbers people, but rather, words people.

To that we say, why the false dichotomy? Why not both?

The truth is, as an internal communicator, you actually have the perfect set of skills to interpret employee email data.


Because you understand that people are not numbers. You know that everyone has a story. You flex that empathy muscle every day.  

You understand that everything happens for a reason. You understand people know how they think.

So when you look at the numbers, you’re going to see a lot more than just a set of data points. You’re going to see evidence. You’re going to see pieces of the bigger puzzle you’re trying to solve as a communicator.

But who’s got time for employee email analytics?

We also know and respect that communicators don’t have a lot of time.

Shifting priorities, mergers, organization-wide changes, new leadership, deadlines. There’s always something.

So when the topic of employee email analytics comes up, as much as they may like to, communicators don’t feel like they have the time to really get into it. They may have a few minutes to pull some basic numbers for leadership, but beyond that, it doesn’t seem worth the time.

After all, in many cases, no one is asking for anything more in-depth anyways.

How measuring email engagement can actually save you time

We have a lot of great customers who are using data like champions.

Tom is one of them. 

Tom manages internal communications for a finance organization of over 45,000 employees. When he joined the internal comms team, he realized his department was sending way too many global internal emails.

But he was met with a lot of resistance when he suggested departments cut certain types of messages or batch them together.

After collecting data for just a few weeks, Tom had the numbers he needed to prove his intuition.

Open rates and click rates were much lower than even he had anticipated, and it was clear that the channel wasn’t reaching employees as intended.

Graphs showing a sample of open rates and click rates of emails fluctuating over a span of three months.

Tom's team used the data to justify reducing the number of global emails to all employees to just two per week (from the one or two being sent per day).

Despite sending fewer emails, engagement increased and feedback from employees was positive.

The lesson here is that a small investment into collecting and interpreting data ultimately led to greater engagement with far fewer emails.

If you don’t think you have time to collect that data and figure out the story behind it, you’re potentially doing way more work than necessary.

A "before" image of a full inbox with many unread emails with an "after" image beside it showing an organized inbox with only one unread email.

Using employee email analytics to become a trusted advisor

We also talk to a lot of communicators who are committed to owning their comms; who want to do more meaningful work; be more strategic; grow; get that coveted seat at the table. They see the potential. And they are hungry.

What they all eventually realize is that getting that seat at the table is a numbers game.

It always has been, regardless of department, industry, or job role.

Linking your work product to the organization's financial success has always been a good way to get credibility and resources. It’s just that up until now, it has been very hard for communicators to prove that link. They’ve been treated like a post office. And the lack of numbers and data to show their improvement and success hasn’t helped.

Investing in employee email and engagement analytics

We’ll be the first to admit that reading the data and looking for the story is going to take time and practice. 

But as you become more familiar with the language, and more open to the potential ways data can serve you, not only in your organization but in your career, the benefits you reap will be well worth the effort.

Learning to understand the data and using it to uncover the hidden stories will give you the evidence you need to show leadership what actually works — and why it does.

That crucial “why” piece is how you’re going to stake your claim for more influence and resources.

When you own and understand your comms, and can teach others, including leaders, why employees behave a certain way, you become an even more valuable asset to both leadership and employees. 

You become an interpreter of your organization’s unique language. 

You become the communication channel.

And that’s powerful