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Two Slack Metrics That You Need To Drive ERG Engagement

August 5, 2022
5 min read

In the Employee Resource Group (ERG) space, we use the word “engagement” often, but we don’t often define it. If it’s measured at all, it will typically be in event attendance alone. A little over a year ago, I started my journey in measuring ERG engagement and impact. Slack was one of the first considerations. Oftentimes, Slack serves as the ERG hub for updates, community and resource building. But how do you measure “engagement” in Slack beyond just the total number of Slack Channel members? 

In summary, I created two metrics that I now use as a standard for defining ERG Slack Engagement:  

  • Slack Active Membership Score (SAM): The percentage of Slack Channel Members who have opened the Slack Channel over a month-long period. 
  • Slack Engagement Score (SES): The percentage of Channel Viewers who have either Emoji Reacted or Posted in the channel over a month-long period.

To understand how I developed these metrics and how you can start measuring them, continue reading below.

The Instagram Approach

I’m very Gen-Z - and it shows in my analogies, so bear with me. Did you know that every Instagram account, big or small, has a metric that measures the “health” of the account? Instagram Engagement Rates are used frequently in social media marketing and are meant to help determine how posts resonate with an audience. 

The illustration I often use is an Instagram account with 1 million followers only receiving 10 likes and 2 comments. Obviously, the engagement rate of that account would be incredibly low and as a rule, that page wouldn’t be considered healthy or worth partnering with. Formulas can vary, but the general formula to measure an account’s engagement rate is: 

Engagement Rate = (Likes + Comments) / Follower Count

So what does that have to do with Employee Resource Groups? Let’s make the connection simple:

  • Instagram Account = Slack Channel  
  • Likes: Emoji Reactions
  • Comments: Posts 

Following movements that have happened over the past decade (#MeToo Movement for Women Employee Resource Groups, #BlackLivesMatter Movement for Black Employee Resource Groups, #StopAAPIHate for Asian Employee Resource Groups, etc), many ERGs have had an influx of “followers” aka members. This has resulted in a new trend: ERG Slack Channels, which often are made up of hundreds of employees, having the same handful of employees participating (aka posting and emoji reacting). This typically translates into low event attendance and low initiative participation. As a result of the low engagement, ERG Leads can begin to feel burnt out.

I’m a big believer in “what gets measured gets improved.” That being said, it is only by looking at the data that we can tackle this problem. Your Slack Metrics aren’t the only metrics that determine your ERG’s engagement and success, but they are a good indicator to stakeholders (the people who hold your budget) and to ERG leaders how connected your channel members are to each other and your goals. 

Slack Analytics

The Slack Analytics feature allows you to see the following data points (among a few others, but for the sake of this article we will focus on these 4:

  • Total Membership: Number of Slack Channel Members at a given time
  • Members who Viewed: Number of Slack Channel Members who have opened the Slack Channel over a given period of time
  • Members who Posted: Number of Slack Channel Members who have posted or replied in the channel over a given period of time
  • Members who Reacted: Number of Slack Channel Members who have emoji reacted over a given period of time

Since I’ve started my journey of understanding how to measure ERG success, I’ve utilized the above data points to formulate two “super metrics” - Slack Active Membership Scores (SAM) and Slack Engagement Scores (SES) - that I use to understand the health of ERG Channels. (Fun Fact: Chezie has since adopted these same metrics also to help companies understand their ERG’s Slack Channel health.) Let’s learn more about what these two metrics. 

Metric 1: Slack Active Membership Score (SAM)

As noted above, Slack provides Members who Viewed analytics - people that have opened your channel for more than 1 second over 30 days. In creating this formula, I refer to those channel viewers as ‘Active Members.’ SAM scores define the percentage of your Total channel members that are “Active.” 

SAM Score Formula:

  • SAM = (Active Channel Members/ Total Channel Members)

What is a healthy score?

Eighty percent (80%) is a healthy Active Membership rate to strive for. This would mean 4 out of 5 employees have opened your channel over 30 days. After leading ERG Programs and working with Chezie to implement this metric, we find that the average score of most ERG Programs is closer to 60%.

What does a low score indicate?

A low SAM indicates that employees are not interested in your channel content - or that a large portion of your channel members is disengaged. This is a good indicator of how many employees have your channel muted, preventing them from receiving notifications even when @here or @channel are used.

Metric #2: Slack Engagement Score (SES)

Slack also provides insight into how many Channel Members have posted or emoji reacted. To calculate the SES Score, you’ll need to find the average number of people who have engaged in your channel (add the unique number of commenters and unique reactors, then divide by two). 

SES Formula:

  • SES = ((Unique Commenters + Unique Reactors) / 2) / (Active Channel Members)
  • SES Simplified = (Average Active Members) / (Active Channel Members)

What is a healthy score?

Twenty five percent (25%) is a healthy engagement rate to strive for. This would mean 1 in 4 people that open your channel are moved to action - either by using an emoji or posting in the channel. Oftentimes, companies concerned about low engagement rates will find that this number is closer to 10%. 

What does a low score indicate?
A low score indicates that, while employees are clicking into your channel, they are not met with content that moves them to engage (with either a reaction or comment). Low SES scores often directly correlate with low event participation.

What’s Next

Seems like a lot? Understandably. Setting up the perfect formulas in spreadsheets and tracking consistently takes time, even more for visualizing the results into comprehensive charts. That being said, it’s my personal mission to ensure ERG programs are operating on data-backed decision-making. That being said, I’ve joined Chezie’s Team to work to help companies obtain and strategize from data like this and so much more. Book a call to learn how you can get this information and more!

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