Measurement Matters 

  from Angela Sinickas, ABC


August, 2011

Strategic Planning  

Focus Groups  -  Surveys Training  -  Evaluation  


 Sinickas Communications, Inc.   Tel: +1.714.277.4130   FAX: +1.714.242.7049                                             


his first issue of Measurement Matters is filled with tips and examples of how others are putting research and measurement to work for them in very practical ways, often at no cost. We hope you consider contributing your own suggestions and stories to share with your peers in future issues.


In this issue:

  • Article: IC departments make a big difference
  • Slides: How to justify social media to management
  • Client project: Using benchmarking to gain executive support
  • Tip of the month: How to avoid survey fatigue
  • Discounts: $400 off ALI conferences; FREE Sinickas Comms Training audio CDs
  • Workshops: Sao Paulo, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Dallas, SF, Orlando, NY, Oslo
  • Webinars: Marketwire, PRSA
  • Monthly poll: Aspects of communication you have measured
  • My Story: by Andrea Heslop at HSBC Bank UK
  • Online forums: Click-through rates, AVE and measuring campaigns


Internal comms departments do make a big difference

A Sinickas
By Angela Sinickas
Good employee communication doesn't happen by itself. Survey results over the last 10 years prove the large impact on results that professional communicators can have.

While most companies have created external PR departments, many of them have been slow to see the value of having a full-time employee communication function. That's short-sighted because my client survey research shows correlations between having a formal internal communication function and better communication and better business outcomes.


 Client Project:  

Benchmarking to gain exec support for changes

Client: Barclays Global Investors (BGI)
Erin Hosilyk, Global Head of Internal Communications

Need for research: An employee opinion survey BGI conducted showed room for improvement on internal communication. Using question guides developed by Sinickas Communications, Erin conducted interviews with 12 senior leaders and 14 employee focus groups in eight countries to better understand what was working well and what could be improved. We developed a questionnaire to quantify current baselines, but the survey was put on hold due to a number of other surveys scheduled in the coming months. Instead, we conducted an external benchmarking study to identify how BGI compared on several key aspects of internal communication that were identified as important during the qualitative research. These included communicating in a matrix structure, communication measurement, cross-unit communication, face-to-face communication, webcasting, and intranet content and governance. According to Erin, "The external benchmarking gave us the critical quantitative input that was lacking due to the shelved employee survey."

Erin Hosilyk
What made this research different: Erin's original intent was to benchmark each aspect of communication with 10 companies known to be excellent for those approaches; for example, benchmarking with intranets recognized by Jakob Nielsen's annual awards program.

However, in discussing the project with senior executives, "We realized that we were equally as interested (if not more) in comparing ourselves to other investment firms," explained Erin, "regardless of whether their internal communications were best practices or not."  As a result, the study was expanded to include nine competitors, all of which were delighted to participate since no existing research was available at the time. For confidentiality, all participants provided answers to the study questions directly to Sinickas Communications. 


The reports we created did not connect a company's name with its data. We provided three types of reports:
  • The full narrative of answers to each of the questions asked (113 pages). This was the only report provided to participating companies.
  • A 73-slide, detailed analysis showing the percentages of participating companies handling each issue in different ways. This also showed in which group BGI fell in that distribution.
  • A 24-slide, high-level summary for senior executives that showed, on each issue, where BGI was better than most of the other companies (indicated with a "+" sign), worse ("-") or about average ("="). We also highlighted the key differences among the companies and provided recommendations for BGI to make changes.
Results of the research:

"The study gave us the data points we needed to help focus our communication plan," said Erin. "It was a large undertaking, but totally worthwhile." Executives allocated $100,000 for improvements to the intranet alone, and authorized many additional changes in written policies, guidelines and standards in how internal communication should be handled in a variety of situations, from intranet governance to internal announcements of organizational changes and product launches. A variety of new tools were developed to support managers' communication with their staff. Finally, the research project also won an IABC Gold Quill in 2006 (see entry and sample slides). Erin is currently Head of Internal Communication at LinkedIn.

 My Story 

How I've been using research & measurement

Andrea Heslop
By Andrea Helsop

Feedback Channels Manager, HSBC Bank UK

I attended the best training course on measurement, conducted by Angela Sinickas for Melcrum in March 2011. It was the day snow and protesters were in London! I have implemented a lot of the tips she gave in creating our new Channels Monthly Dashboard for HSBC Internal Communications in the UK.
We have also started to measure people's awareness before we do the campaigns by sending out a survey to gain their understanding and then repeating this survey 6 and 12 months into the campaign to see how we are doing. I have also piloted small areas to see if there are ways we can get feedback before we launch the full UK campaign.

I am constantly going back to my notes and improving what we are doing to get a better understanding of the figures and feedback we receive.

To submit your own story of how you've been using research and measurement,

 send an email, with the following information and your photo attached:

    • Your name, title, organization and location
    • Which Sinickas resource inspired you (workshop, manual, tool, article, etc.)
    • What you've done with the information you learned
    • What impact it had on your audience, your organization or your career.  

Online Forums

Current measurement discussions at LinkedIn

If you join the IABC LinkedIn forum, people are discussing 
good/bad open rates and click-through rates for electronic newsletters. A key point is that it's hard to benchmark these because some newsletters are designed for most people to get what they need from the initial pushed communication, while others are designed as a "tease" to force most readers to link through to get even a basic understanding of the stories. 

If you join the LinkedIn forum for Public Relations and Communication Professionals, alternatives to using advertising value equivalency (AVE) as a measurement for PR effectiveness are being debated.


At the open LinkedIn forum for Measuring Internal Communications, one participant is asking for best practices in measuring campaigns. So far, suggestions involve being clear on objectives, using a mix of measurement methods, and focusing on behavioral changes.  

Measurement Matters aspires to be a useful resource for communicators with a need to measure, but without a great deal of time, money or expertise. Please send in any questions you have about research and measurement, and contribute your own experiences in having conducted measurably successful communications for others to learn from.



Angela Sinickas, ABC

Sinickas Communications, Inc.

Tip of the Month

How to Avoid

Survey Fatigue


Management often believes employees are over-surveyed before employees do. Employees feel over surveyed in some of the following situations:
(read the entire tip


Need a Quote ASAP
for 2012 Budgets?

We are currently helping many organizations on calendar-year schedules who are starting to develop budgets for 2012.


If you're considering doing some research or measurement and want to include a rough cost estimate in your budget, either call us at


or email us for cost estimates on:
  • Interviews and focus groups (worldwide)
  • Surveys
  • In-house training
  • Benchmarking studies
  • Measurement plans/dashboards
  • Strategic planning
  • Content analysis
  • Website analysis
  • And much more 

Seminars & Workshops

In the next few months Angela Sinickas will be conducting training on internal/external measurement, measurement on a budget, social media measurement, the value of PR, and ROI.

(See details & full calendar)

  • Aug. 26-31,

    Sao Paulo, Brazil (ABERJE)

  • Sept. 14,

    Jacksonville, FL (IABC)

  • Sept. 22,

    Atlanta, GA (ALI)

  • Oct. 3,
    Dallas, TX (Ragan)
  • Oct. 4,
    Webinar (PRSA) 
  • Oct. 6,

    San Francisco, CA (ALI)

  • Oct. 16,

    Orlando, FL (PRSA) 

  • Oct 27,

    Webinar (Marketwire)

  • Nov. 4,

    New York, NY (ALI)

  • Nov. 28-29,

    Oslo, Norway (Norwegian Communication Association)

$400 OFF
 Advanced Learning Institute
will offer a $400 discount when you mention Angela Sinickas' name on your registration form for ALI Conferences in 2011 where she is a speaker: 

Sept. 11 in Atlanta, GA

Oct. 6 in San Francisco, CA

Nov. 4 in New York, NY


Slides of the Month

& More Articles 

Presentation Slides:

How to Justify Social Media to Management




10-Second Poll

This month's
10-Second Poll question identifies which aspects of communication you have measured in your current job (or most recent job if you're new or between positions). You'll see a summary of responses after you submit your own.

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Measurement Matters 

From Angela Sinickas, ABC

August, 2011