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Isentia - Using media data to gain edge

Research First Of course I’m worth it

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Using media data to gain edge 

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.

Strong correlation

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

Research First

Of course I’m worth it

Pay rise. It’s the conversation that can send even the staunchest of us running in the other direction. Not because we don’t want to get paid more, but because the concept of asking for more money is intimidating and even a little bold.

You could be forgiven for arguing that it’s just simply a reflection of the large dose of humility born in every Kiwi. But it seems the problem is not germane to understated kiwis alone. American research suggests that only 12% of people actually ask for a pay raise during a performance review and 44% of people never bring the subject up! New Zealand statistics mirror this, with 46% of New Zealand professionals not intending to enter the discussion in 2017.

Yet, when you’re working hard, billing considerable hours, throwing the life-line for an uncomfortable situation, or circumventing a crisis altogether, why shouldn’t you back yourself to have the conversation?

Because fundamentally, most of us have an innate fear that we’re not deserving – yes, the imposter syndrome – you’ve heard of it, right?

Psychologist and author of The Joy of Me, Dr Shaelyn Pham, believes it’s more typical for people to undervalue themselves than it is to be aware of the contribution they make to an organisation, and certainly their contribution in relation to co-workers.

Of course, if you don’t believe in your own value, it’s obvious you’ll have difficulty in asking for more.

If you unpack this a little more, then the fear of rejection is most likely bubbling away in the back of your mind, too. The embarrassment of the answer being ‘no’, becomes too much to warrant the risk of asking the question in the first place, and heaven forbid the thought we might think of a ‘no’ as being a starting point for negotiation. And for the most insecure among us, a ‘no’ might even mean ‘clear your desk and don’t come Monday’.

Perhaps the answer to our insecurities around our value lies in a lack of confidence in how we have progressed professionally; or more precisely, the lack of formality we’ve put around the knowledge and skills we have gained and continuously apply to our everyday work.

In the communications industry, we often roll our eyes at the mention of professional development (PD) likening it to days away from the office, time wasted, and not a lot actually achieved. However, in this day and age, if you want to be competitive on the pay scale, PD might just be the circuit breaker - especially if you’re a woman.

The latest Research First PRINZ Survey shows that, despite an over-representation in the industry, women are typically under-represented in higher salary brackets and the very top jobs.

While some employers actively prioritise the professional development of their employees, many do not. It is essential to the industry, and to us as professionals, that we constantly learn and evolve as communications practitioners. If PD is not on your employer’s radar than it is up to you to take charge of your career and look for programmes to develop yourself.

PRINZ is actively encouraging members to develop a professional development plan (CPD) for themselves. Far from simply being days away from the office, CPD activities can include attending  webinars or other industry related events and courses, becoming a PRINZ mentor/mentee, or completing the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) programme, an internationally recognised qualification.

The more you develop your skill set the better a professional you become. And with skill comes confidence. It is pivotal in any job, but especially in this industry, to back and empower yourself, so that when you do have to sit down with your employer and talk about money you have the skills, the ambition, and the confidence to negotiate the salary that you deserve.

So, don’t leave a pay rise to chance. Take responsibility for developing yourself, be confident in the value you bring to the table and kiss goodbye to the unease associated with the discussion. The only conversation you should be having is quite simply “of course I’m worth it.”


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