The value of communication in sharing success
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The value of communication in sharing success

February 28, 2024

In December, the Partnership for Public Service hosted a virtual event with Jason Love, a program analyst and award coordinator at the Department of Health and Human Services, to share how federal communicators can shape positive narratives about government and amplify agency success stories. 

Throughout the discussion, Love focused on how effective communication must occur internally to successfully engage your audience and spread your organization’s message externally. 

Here are three key takeaways: 

1. Strong internal communication with organizational leaders matters 

An organization’s internal communications must recognize good work before it can be shared with an external audience.  

“Leadership’s awareness of the initiatives that are going on within their organizations puts them in a unique position to identify those that are best suited to be nominated for an award or for any type of recognition,” Love said.  

Recognition and sharing success stories starts at the top of the organization. Leaders must be aware and knowledgeable about their employees’ accomplishments in order to nominate people for external awards and publicity, which fosters a culture of appreciation. 

To create this awareness, Love meets quarterly with leaders at HHS to brief them on upcoming events, award deadlines and ceremonies and nomination criteria. These leaders then spread this information throughout the agency. As a result, more departments have the knowledge to nominate employees, which adds diversity to the award nomination process, leads to better recognition for individuals and fosters a healthier work environment. 

2. Building relationships with your public affairs and communications teams is an effective way to spread your message 

According to Love, inviting your public affairs and web management team into a conversation is necessary to shape and promote your message.  

These teams are experts on creating digital and print-based content, and on how to leverage social media and news outlets to reach broader audiences.  

LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter all require separate language styles and audience engagement strategies. Communications teams know how to develop these strategies and articulate messages in a way that draws in new followers. 

Love explains that when organizations and their public affairs and web content management teams get involved and collaborate, they communicate better. Better communication fosters higher agency, employee and external audience engagement.  

3. Strong internal and external communications facilitate recognition and leadership, employee and audience engagement 

Collaboration and communication between award coordinators and their leaders, and web management and public affairs teams lay the groundwork for publicizing and sharing information within and outside the agency. 

According to Love, when employees get recognized for good work, both internally and externally, they become more engaged and get a morale boost. 

In addition, employee recognition on external communication channels draws the attention of leadership; and as a result, leadership becomes more attuned to what the workforce is doing and seeks out additional opportunities to help promote their employees and their agencies.  

Sharing narratives becomes the most successful when award coordinators, communicators and leaders collaborate. The Partnership fosters this collaboration through its Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals®, or Sammies, program, the preeminent awards program for federal employees. Since 2001, the Sammies have recognized more than 760 public servants doing exceptional work across government.  

Stay tuned for additional information about our 2024 nominees this spring.

Subscribe to receive updates about the upcoming events from our Federal Communicators Series.

Rebecca Dowling is a marketing intern on the Partnership’s Communications team.

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