Friday, April 18, 2014

Gov Communicators Get Social

Posted by: Britt Ehrhardt, Co-Chair Federal Communicators Network and Technical Writer/Editor, National Institutes of Health

More than 50 communicators joined the Federal Communicators Network and the National Association of Government Communicators on Wednesday night, April 16, for a great networking happy hour. Thanks for coming out, everyone! We hope you were able to make some valuable new connections or renew some existing relationships. And if you couldn't make it this time, perhaps we'll see you at the next one.

John Verrico, Chris O'Neil, Wendy Wagner-Smith and others were there representing NAGC. And FCN and friends came in big numbers too. Ethan Alpern, of the FCN leadership team, was joined by Victor Romero, Bernetta Reese, Steve Lewis, and many others. What great conversations, and what fun to see you all there.

Britt Ehrhardt, FCN, and John Verrico        
Josh Folk and Kim Seigfreid
Jimmie Cummings and Larry Tracy

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Networking Happy Hour for Gov Communicators

Join the National Association of Government Communicators and the Federal Communicators Network for an informal happy hour, 5:30pm to 8:00pm at Mio, 1110 Vermont Ave NW in Washington DC on Wednesday, April 16.

Connect with other communications pros in public service—better bring your business cards! There will be lots of people there who run public affairs, publications, events, and other related functions for government agencies. Plus, Mio has wonderful outdoor space; won’t it be nice to be outside at last? There’s no need to RSVP. Just show up, buy yourself a drink or a snack, and look for our sign.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Why Employee Engagement Might be the Most Effective Communication Measureable

By David Hebert, Chief of Internal and Audiovisual Communications at the U.S. Geological Survey,  FCN Co-Chair

Employee engagement leads to higher profit, greater safety, less mistakes, and other benefits in the workplace. How do you know if your employees are engaged? You measure, of course. Here are some tips.

Where is this relationship going?

Knowing where things stand in your employee community becomes very powerful when you can apply that knowledge to business-driven goals. Consider:

·         Strategic business need you want engagement to address.
·         Things that matter to employees.
·         Goals that bring business and employee needs together.
·         Cost-effective tactics that resonate with your organizational culture, and correlate every tactic to a measurement.

So what do you measure? Let’s run through some common and useful questions.

I want to get to know you

Consider the sorts of things you would ask your employees if you could sit down with each of them:

·         What do they need or want to do their jobs?
·         What things would they change about the organization?
·         How do they feel about the organization’s financial health?
·         Do they trust senior leadership?
·         Who keeps stealing food from the office fridge?

Ask yourself: what do you want to accomplish, and what will you need to ask to know whether you did?

So how did you guys meet?

There are a number of ways to get answers to your questions:

·         Web-based polls are a good way to see how people feel about a particular issue.
·         Web and social tool usage stats can tell you what terms people searched for on your intranet or how many of them read the director’s blog posts.
·         Blog comments and emails can tell you what topics interest people and reveal issues you might not be aware of.
·         Idea sharing and voting tools, like UserVoice or IdeaScale, afford you the collective wisdom of your employees and tell you what’s on their minds.
·         Employee events like town hall meetings can include before-and-after polls, and if you video stream to remote locations, you can measure viewership.
·         Finally, the rumor mill continues to be the champion of information exchange (accuracy notwithstanding). Set up a rumor message board with anonymous posting and arrange for subject matter experts to confirm or deny with accurate info.

Let’s take things slow

Don’t dump overwhelming, raw feedback on your senior leaders without any analysis or context. Take these steps when reporting input:

·         Look for common threads among qualitative and quantitative data and help your leaders follow those threads, not every squeaky wheel and piece of information.
·         Find regular time with executives to go over a simple report that includes what you’re seeing and hearing, what the sources are, and your suggestions for action.
·        Help leaders take personal responsibility for their relationships with employees and provide accurate information. For employees, establish comment policies, and respond to rudeness in a professional but direct way.

Putting together an engagement measurement plan takes thoughtfulness and hard work. However, no measurement effort for a single audience may have a bigger positive effect on your organization.

This post is adapted from a more detailed article published in the PR News Measurement Guidebook, Vol. 7 (link opens a paywall-free Google Doc).

You can follow David on Twitter and find his page on LinkedIn. This discussion is brought to you by the Federal Communicators Network. FCN members are government employees managing U.S. government communications.