Step 5: Get the word out
Doing things publicly, whether through blogs and newsletters or other communication vehicles, connects employees within agencies and across the government. Being open and transparent fosters community, shares knowledge across different organizations, and makes government stronger.
In parallel, you can also work within existing agency processes. Many federal employees need to create individual development plans — tools to help them outline their careers and chart their professional paths. GovConnect can help as an employee maps out their career development, and the following text outlines how to make that happen.
What mechanisms already exist within the federal agency to alert new and current employees about advancement opportunities, career plans, and self-evaluation techniques that align them to the agency’s goals, mission, and objectives?
- [Create a strong message]
- [Find and win support]
- [Create a phased approach to marketing]
Continuous feedback is essential for a partnership between employees and their supervisors when it comes to career guidance. Similarly, marketing your agile workforce initiative requires multiple approaches which happen in different phases to appeal to different audiences.
Create a strong message
Success for GovConnect depends on the clear articulation — and operational delivery — of a well-defined value proposition.
A strong and resonant message has the power to unite employees around a true reflection of them, creating a sense of pride and forward momentum even in the face of challenges as the program expands.
Find and win support
In order to gain attention, participation, and support from mid- and top-level leaders, internal champions will need to overtly leverage all the strengths of GovConnect.
In developing a brand strategy, solicit the support of your agency’s outreach, communications, multimedia and social media specialists. Your charge is to introduce not only a new program, but to re-introduce your agency as a niche brand for innovation in a particular subject or discipline — veterans’ affairs, energy, health and human services — or other core attributes, not only in your region but beyond.
GovConnect represents a way for employees to create strategic niche partnerships throughout their agencies and across the federal government.
In order to successfully claim this position, internal champions will need to calibrate the agency’s brand, bridging current market and audience expectations with existing attributes, assets and strengths that are true and authentic to your organization.
Create a phased approach to marketing
Internal communications must focus on connecting employees to the agency and its strategic goals, and supporting employees in understanding how their roles and career development plans support your mission.
The need to connect with your employees through focused, effective communications has never been stronger as your organization focuses on financial strength, responds to challenges in the marketplace, and charts its path for success.
Effective communications can help engage employees to meet these challenges and keep the agency on a path of success.
Plan your approach
- Plan and deliver meaningful communications
- Educate, inform, and engage employees about organization-wide priorities, news, events, and topics.
- Define goals and priorities to employees and provide updates on your progress.
- Develop and execute effective communications that are strategic, timely, meaningful, and targeted.
- Assist departments and teams throughout the organization with the development and execution of targeted and effective communications around priority news and information associated with the program.
- Stress quality over quantity — focus on strategic priorities through a well-developed plan so events, and topics.
- Define goals and priorities clearly, and explain the “why.” Help staff on all levels understand the connection the program has to your strategic goals and decisions.
- Engage and connect
- Connect senior leadership to employees and increase middle management visibility — the frontline for advocacy.
- Encourage employee feedback and two-way discussions.
- Provide managers with the tools they need to effectively communicate.
- Utilize technology
- Use the agency’s intranet, a centerpiece of all communication.
- Explore technology capabilities that will enhance your communications and engagement as an organization.
Plan Key Steps
- Educate through a launch campaign
- Maintain an editorial calendar and execute communications that provide fresh and compelling content about your program, including news articles and leadership articles bimonthly, and multimedia communications. Feature different themes.
- Give a voice to middle managers through regular articles and blog posts; also give a nod to senior leaders.
- Use multiple communications channels to integrate message and create platforms to support and sustain messages.
- Introduce key priorities for your agency in an integrated, thematic approach, such as short-term goals, strategic planning, service excellence, and so on.
- Create program ambassadors among your employee base.
- Enhance communication channels
- Develop a plan for sharing human-interest stories with employees to provide more compelling content.
- Develop criteria, guidelines, and process for internal communications channels.
- Develop a plan and proposal for digital signage throughout your agency.
- Update and enhance channels to reflect new branding for the program.
- Audit channels and adapt as necessary (frequency, design, content, and so on.).
- Engage and connect employees
- Effectively engage management and leadership as messengers of communications. Develop accountability for managers in the process.
- Plan how to report on and share the program with employees to extend awareness by liaising with regional offices. Develop a plan to engage distributed teams and execute communications about site visits to all employees.
- Build trust and rapport through informal channels. Research indicated that pilot program participants think leadership — particularly middle management — should be more visible. Find those leaders and make them visible!
- Explore blogs and other interactive communications as platforms to enhance leadership visibility and voice among employees.
- Develop a plan for internalization of program launch, and execute the plan to build awareness of your program, understanding of key concepts, and adaption of ambassadors among employees.
- Enhance HR communications and serve as a consultant or liaison to various departments and teams across the agency.
- Enhance the intranet
- Create links and promos on an internal site that helps employees do their everyday work. Do most employees have a home page that their browser always opens to?
- Plan for and launch a new homepage design, functionality, etc., with updated messaging to promote the program. Or, develop a landing page to promote your initiative.
- Explore extranets and externally accessed team sites/collaboration sites/cloud.
- Explore blogs and pilot quick polls to collect employee feedback.
- Refining manager communications
- Develop a plan for staff meetings to better meet managers’ needs.
- Collaborate to coordinate agendas to enhance the cascade of information among different leadership-team members and work groups.
- Use staff meetings as a key platform to inform management about the program’s objectives, progress, and status.
- Train managers on effective communications by providing tools to help them translate the program’s objectives, solicit feedback from their direct reports, report back to senior leadership, and develop accountability in the process.
- Define metrics of success and measure your progress
- Determine formal metrics for quarterly internal communications report, such as:
- Homepage visits and time spent
- Click throughs from e-newsletters and other popular content
- Page views/popularity
- Produce a formal quarterly analytic report with recommendations for edits
- Evaluate analytics, including Google, Sharepoint, etc.
- Conduct pulse surveys of employees to assess communications.