Measurement Matters 

  from Angela Sinickas, ABC


September, 2011

Strategic Planning  

Focus Groups - Surveys Training - Evaluation  


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


his 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 of Measurement Matters (see directions to contribute below in the My Story block). Feel free to share this issue with others using the easy link at the bottom of the newsletter.


In this issue:

  • Article: Should communicators measure ROI? (plus 2 "how-to" ROI articles)
  • 76-Second Video: How to connect communication with financial results
  • Database findings: Topics employees prefer to read on their intranets
  • Tip of the month: How to measure true knowledge, not just feeling informed
  • Discounts: $400 off ALI conferences; FREE Sinickas Comms Training audio CDs
  • Workshops: Jacksonville, Atlanta, Dallas, SF, Orlando, NY, Oslo, Cape Town
  • Webinars: Marketwire, PRSA
  • Monthly poll: Do you think we should measure ROI?
  • My Story: by Kathy Hedin, former Communication Director at Honeywell and Cenveo
  • Online forums: Survey benchmarks, comment statistics, brand engagement and PR metrics


Should we measure ROI? Communicators disagree.

A Sinickas  
By Angela Sinickas, ABC  


British communication consultant Kevin Ruck and I got into a bit of a debate on a LinkedIn forum on whether ROI should be measured by communicators. We formalized the difference of opinion in an article in Melcrum's Strategic Communication Management journal. What do you think? Take our 15-second poll, at right.
Kevin believes we shouldn't measure ROI because it's a flawed approach that he compares to advertising value equivalency, and that much of what communicators do is just for the purpose of information, not to contribute to the bottom line. He's also concerned about treating employees like research guinea pigs if we use pilot and control groups. He worries that "by saying it can be done, [measuring ROI] places impossible pressures on practitioners to deliver a credible figure to senior managers." 


I, of course, believe that ROI is easier to calculate, and in far more situations, than Kevin thinks possible. Pilot and control groups occur all the time accidentally when not all managers use our communication materials or not all cities' mass media pick up on our news releases. I conclude with examples of just how credible ROI calculations have been with senior leaders, leading to increased resources for the communicators.


 Mining Our Database

Topics employees want to find on their intranets

What types of information do your employees want to find on the intranet? The answer varies a great deal by company because of the differences in their workforces and in the effectiveness of other available sources. However, the table below shows the results of communication surveys conducted in the last several years with 14 organizations around the world in a wide range of industries whose surveys included many of the same questions. (The entire Sinickas database includes over 2 million employees in more than 40 companies.) 


The column at left shows the average percentage of employees at all those companies who chose the intranet as one of their top two preferred sources for each topic. The column at right shows the lowest and highest percentages at individual organizations. In many cases, the differences are quite large. For example, only 9% of employees at one organization want career development information online, while 61% at another one do.


Of course, the only way to be sure your website is meeting your own audience's needs is to ask them. For example, one client's survey asked for preferred sources on work/life balance; 46% of those employees wanted to see information on that topic on their intranet. If you don't ask about the right subjects, you won't be able to meet employees' needs.





Regulatory, legal, ethics info

15% - 36%


Career development, job openings

  9% - 61%


Industry issues

25% - 59%


Employee recognition

25% - 57%


Policies & procedures

17% - 65%


Mission, vision, values

17% - 48%


Diversity & inclusion

15% - 55%


News around the organization

20% - 64%


Brand issues

16% - 52%


Products & services

15% - 48%


Benefits & comp

  9% - 47%


Company performance

10% - 49%


Organization strategy, goals & plans

  8% - 51%


Competitive information

17% - 43%


Customer satisfaction

16% - 40%


How I help reach company goals

11% - 36%


Social responsibility, sustainability

15% - 36%


Organizational structure

12% - 37%


Company history & culture

14% - 23%


Reasons behind decisions

12% - 27%


Unit goals & plans

10% - 25%


How my unit is doing

10% - 20%

 My Story 

How I've been using research & measurement

Kathy Hedlin
By Kathy Hedin

Former Director of  Communications at Honeywell and Cenveo, and currently looking for her next opportunity to add value


My eyes were opened when I participated in a measurement seminar Angela conducted at Honeywell awhile back.  I recall her encouragement to collaborate with business leaders to establish clear, measurable communication objectives linked to their business objectives, and to be assertive in negotiating the contribution communications will make to growing the business or changing employee understanding and behavior.


In my first experience with measuring communications, I had the fortune of working for a visionary leader who believed employee communications was important to drive a cultural transformation of the business. The communications group I led was recognized for significant contributions to the division, averaging a 7.5% annual internal growth rate and a 16.7% annual improvement in operating profit over the next eight years.


What if you are challenged to prove the value of communication? Using research tips I gained from Angela's manual on measurement, I led a group of company communicators on a benchmarking mission to identify measurement practices of other Fortune 100 company communicators. Our research led to  a proposal for communicators company-wide to use several quick and easy measurement tools to illustrate the value of employee communications and PR - to be used on division projects and to roll up together with other division results for corporate-wide communications for this Fortune 100 company.


Measuring support for change: I was recruited to establish the corporate communications function for a  paper/printing industry conglomerate  - a strategic roll-up of 85 independent companies. I led the company-wide change to one name that supported the One Company business strategy. Imagine the resistance from location leaders, who were often company owners. As communications were rolled out to employees on this name change, I used a Pulse Study. I had my location communications contacts, usually in HR, ask at least five employees, from as many different departments, the following four questions:

  1. What messages did you hear?
  2. How effective were the communications?
  3. How confident are you that this organizational change brings value?
  4. What questions and concerns do you have?
Even though this was qualitative research, my analysis and report identified that our key messages were getting through, and 81% were confident the changes were bringing value. My report led to greater cooperation from senior leaders to spend time in the local businesses and additional budget support to develop communications addressing questions and concerns, including an open phone line to leave a message for the CEO.  


To contact Kathy or see her bio, email  

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 and IABC

If you join the Melcrum LinkedIn forum, a communicator has recently completed a survey and is looking for benchmark comparisons. 

If you're a member of IABC, a communicator on MemberSpeak is asking for comparisons on how many employees comment on newsletter stories through messaging tools. 

On the Innovative Marketing forum, an article about measuring brand engagement, instead of click-throughs, has been posted.

If you join the PR and Communications Professionals forum, a member is asking for input on what types of PR metrics agencies are reporting to clients.
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

Measuring True Knowledge 


People may feel well informed on a topic, but how do you find out what they really know? Use knowledge questions with right and wrong answers. A few tips can ensure wording that doesn't make people feel as if they are being tested.

(read the entire tip


Video of the Month

& More Articles 

76-Second Video:

15-Second Poll

Should communicators measure ROI? You'll see a summary of responses after you submit your own.

Take the poll

Results of
last month's poll

(...aspects of communication you have measured...):


Measured most are

activities, understanding, attitudes, channel effectiveness.


Least measured are

 managerial communication and ROI.

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 or looking for tools to purchase with their remaining 2011 budgets.


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)

  • 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)
  • Dec. 13-14, Cape Town, S. Africa (client)


$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. 22 in Atlanta, GA

Oct. 6 in San Francisco, CA

Nov. 4 in New York, NY


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Measurement Matters 

From Angela Sinickas, ABC

September, 2011