Communication in the workplace – Case Scenario
You have been given the task by your manager to develop a workplace communication and PR strategy for the launch (during Youth Week)of your newly-funded community organisation providing assistance for the homeless and those at high risk of becoming homeless (such as youth, clients experiencing mental health and substance use issues, and single parents both employed and unemployed). The service can assist clients from 16 years old.
Your organisation has been given 6 million dollars over the next four years. It is important to note that there will be a federal and local election in two years’ time.
The aim is to assist homeless clients and those at high risk of homelessness to obtain and maintain long term accommodation in public or private housing, shared accommodation or community style living.
Part of the funding contract is to provide clients with educational opportunities in relation to key life skills that have been identified as placing them at higher risk of becoming homeless. Your organisation has identified the following (your organisation does not have to provide these services directly and can subcontract to other organisations, however all services must be free of charge to the client).
• Communication and negotiating skills (in particular negotiating with creditors for extension of bill payments)
• Job seeking skills, interview skills, developing resumes and writing responses to selection criteria
• Education retention skills such as tutoring, study skills
Your manager has decided to outsource job seeking skills and education retention skills.
Your service also offers case management, individual and family counselling, and therapeutic and informational groups.
As part of the funding requirements your organisation has a Board to oversee the implementation of programs and finances and monitor outcomes. The Board consist of 6 members, one of which must be a service consumer. The remaining Board members have varying qualifications and industry related experience. The Board meets once every two months to discuss the progress of the service and requires reports such as financial, client numbers, and service provision details.
There are 3 other organisations offering homelessness services. Some offer long and short term refuge accommodation as well as crisis accommodation. Some also offer services such as basic cooking and budgeting skills, employment and education skills, counselling, and advocacy with government organisation such as Centreline.
Your organisation has the following web presence
Private Facebook page for consumers to support each other
Communication Plan for (Insert name of your organisation)
A communication plan is designed to help your organisationcommunicate effectively and meet organisational objectives. A communication plan will help reduce the likelihood of workplace misunderstandings and ensures that everyone is moving towards the same organisational goals.
This does not have to be very detailed. It is useful to mention why you have developed a communication plan and what it hopes to achieve. For example
This communication plan is designed to assist in:
• Engaging effectively with stakeholders
• Communicating to others what we do
• Ensuring everyone achieves organisational goals and objectives.
2 Current situation
This section has 3 partsa PESTEL analysis, a SWOT analysis, and a competitors analysis. You also need an introduction paragraph, this should include what your organisation does, who is its target market ie who is the organisation going to provide services to, what the organisation’s main functions are and where it operates from. Does it operate from one site? Or does it have many, with one site operating as a head office? Will your organisation be providing all the services, or will it outsource some of the services?
A) Political, Economical, Social, Technological Ethical and Legal analysis. (PESTEL)
This section needs to include external factors that may affect your organisations work. These can be positive or negative. Mention issues that may have an impact on your organisation’s work and what effect each would have.
B) Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis
SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool to analyse the internal and external that may positive and negative impact your organisation. A SWOT analysis can help identify your advantages, predict or identify any problem areas, and put in measures to reduce their impact or avoid them all together.
C) Competitors analysis
Have a look at other organisations that are delivering the same or similar services. Look at the programs they are delivering - are they the same as or similar to yours? Are you able to identify gaps in their services? Do they have a strong media presence? How well are they known in the community?
Organisation Services Media presence How well are they known in the community Spokespeople
Remember this is not about being competitive,this is about identifying possible gaps in services or duplication of services and looking at strategies that other agencies use that you may be able to tailor to your organisation. Assess your communication plan’s strengths and weaknesses by looking at what your competitors are doing.
Website Media presence How well are they known in the community Spokespeople or special media campaign
3 Organisational and communication objectives.
In this section you need to look at your organisation’s vison, aims and objectives. Then outline how your communication strategy will help in delivering these goals.
This section should give the overall message the organisation wants to convey (you should have 3-4 objectives).
Objectives (operational or policy) Communication objectives
4 Identifying stakeholders
Give a description of your “audience” both internal and external. This should include staff, the public, clients/service users, politicians, funding body, Board, and any other relevant people or organisations.
Your organisation may have many audiences. It can be useful to identify which audience needs what information.
Audience Services Finance report Policy and procedure Success stories Advice or information other
Identify the messages you want give each individual stakeholder/ audience.
Audience What they need to know Key message
6 Communication method
For each of the audiences you have listed in section 5, identify the most appropriate way of communicating with them, for example newsletter, formal report, social media, website.
Audience Message Communication method
7 Work plan
Now that you know your audiences, objectives, and key communication methods, all you need to add is the communication activities including budget and required resources. Include people, timeframes and any specific events or publications that should be included in the plan.
Activity Jan Feb Mar Apr May June Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
report to funding body
report to Board
Almost done!! How and when will your communication plan be evaluated? How will you know if your strategies have been successful?
9 Crisis Plan
Not everything goes according plan. While you are establishing your service, one of the employees posts their personal, not so favourable views, on your facebook page. The employee wrote
“So over Gen Y and millennials!!!! They are over entitled lazy rude and contribute nothing to our community but expect to have everything given to them grrrrrr”
Although the employee removed the post it was seen by several Board members as well as several members of the funding body. Your agency has also received a number of calls from members of the community expressing their concerns. Your local newspaper has also contacted your manager for a statement.
Your manager has asked you to put together a crisis plan and digital media etiquette plan to deal with the situation and to handle any future situations.
1 Identify the key message
2 Develop a statement
3 Identify the spokesperson
4 Where will your main statement be delivered– for example facebook, interview, or elsewhere?