Election results translate into multiple changes at federal agencies. Political appointees from the previous administration depart, new priorities begin to emerge, and the potential to be distracted by uncertainty can change day-to-day individual routines as they slow down or shift.
Some may assume that civil servants tucked away in a small federal agency, whose employment is not at risk when a new President and U.S. Congress take office, simply need to go about their duties during the transition to a new administration. A report by the Partnership for Public Service, “Moving the Needle on Employee Engagement During the Presidential Transition,” cautions that communication is critical to maintain employee engagement during times of change. According to the report, federal leaders advise their peers to “Communicate with employees clearly and regularly, and acknowledge that a transition is underway and change is coming. This communication should come from the current political appointees, the career senior executives and managers down the line.”
The Washington Post’s recent story, “It’s time to talk about the presidential transition process,” calls out ways to set up two-way communication and avoid an exclusively top-down approach to the flow of information. According to the story, it is “Important for leaders to use multiple communication channels to reach the workforce. Team or small-group meetings can be effective in establishing a personal connection with employees and allowing for better questions and discussions. In addition to video teleconferencing for those in field offices, agencies can use email and their regular newsletters to communicate updates.”
Video teleconferencing in particular enables leaders and employees to share information and react to it in a way that encourages openness, collaboration and clarity. Specifically, video teleconferencing can:
- Deliver one story simultaneously to the entire workforce
Civil servants at federal agencies work across multiple geographies in hundreds of different disciplines. Video teleconferencing enables leaders to communicate a transition plan to a diverse workforce simultaneously, such that each employee can receive the same message at the same time.
- Gauge and respond to employee reactions in real time in small group meetings
Unlike a briefing delivered over a telephone line, video teleconferencing provides an opportunity to observe visual cues. Do employees listen attentively, or shift uncomfortably when information is delivered? When questions are asked and answered, do facial expressions relax? In times of change, when not everyone speaks up verbally, video teleconferencing delivers more information regarding the level of comfort employees have for the future.
- Humanize the interaction
As citizens, the election process and outcome is a very personal one. To address a change in administration that may indicate major policy shifts that affect each individual employee with a memo or an email sacrifices the opportunity for dialogue, a necessary element for change. Video teleconferencing gives employees the chance to react and ask questions in a face-to-face environment.
To learn more about video teleconferencing solutions that enable face-to-face dialogue, go here.