Step 1 – Identify the underlying problems
1) Political tug of war, scapegoating
2) Actual inefficiencies – need to modernize and streamline an outdated and overly complicated system
3) Gap between public and private sector human capital practices (e.g. people who can get fired for very little have trouble understanding how civil servants seem to be protected from the actual marketplace)
4) Complacency within the federal workforce, or fear and lack of awareness as to what to do
Step 2 – Identify the communication problems
1) The level of the brand (how the public perceives us) is “all civil servants” but there is no entity representing all civil servants as far as image consulting or representation
2) Not clear where #1 would be housed or how it would be funded – logistical issue
3) Differing opinions about Step 1 – how would you formulate an inclusive strategy that speaks to the issues, with a lot of disagreement about the issues?
4) Fragmentation of leadership – dispersion among different agencies
5) Who would vet the content of what is said – it would have policy repercussions
Step 3 – Possible solutions
1) Each person can serve as a “brand ambassador” on their own – nothing prevents you or anyone from demonstrating that civil servants are vitally necessary, hardworking and dedicated to the mission simply by talking about what they do and why it matters. (You would be amazed at how little people know.)
2) Like Terry said, as much as you can, use this opportunity to help your Agency leadership implement cost savings – and then work within the Agency to share those stories more broadly.
3) Where possible, join interagency task forces to brainstorm solutions to issues like this.