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4 Easy Steps to Boost Citizen Engagement

At the top of nearly every public sector organization’s priority list is how to better engage the citizens it serves. Boosting stakeholder engagement was rated the highest communications objective for 2014 among nearly 40 percent of government respondents in a survey by GovDelivery, a digital communications service provider.

Communications that can drive stakeholders to engage with an organization’s mission is a critical factor. This is the case regardless of the mission itself, whether an organization like the Federal Emergency Management Agency is trying to drive citizens to prepare for a natural disaster or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging people to get their flu shots.

GovDelivery has collected many valuable citizen engagement tips that apply to organizations of all sizes and across all levels of government and put together a checklist.  Here are four steps that can help your organization reach more people than ever before and drive those people to take action.

1. Step Back and Establish Goals

For the most successful communications, you and your team have to start by working backwards toward a goal. Think about the top one to three things you are trying to accomplish with your messages. Do you ...

Job Requirements Are Mostly Fiction and You Should Ignore Them

In job searches, people frequently look at the listed requirements, see a gap, and move on, fearing rejection and not wanting to waste the employer’s time and their own. They’re making a big mistake, and potentially holding their careers back. A job posting doesn’t describe a real person. It describes a fictional (and often unrealistic) ideal that companies don’t really expect to find.

“A lot of times when companies write job descriptions, they include everything that they dream of having,” Scott Purcell, a Silicon Valley-based technology recruiter at Jobspring Partners, tells Quartz. “It’s a list of things that they need, then things that they want to use in the future or are thinking about using. They put in everything that’s in their environment, every sort of technology.”

Hiring managers get overexcited and list too many things, even though only a few parts of the description are truly core. But the term “requirement” gets read very literally, and scares people off from jobs they could well get. Purcell actually doesn’t like to send specific job descriptions to clients for exactly that reason. The hiring process still is a very human one. Things like relationships ...

The Procrastination Doom Loop—and How to Break It

When I woke up this morning, I had one goal: Finish this article by 11 a.m.

So, predictably, by the time it was 10 a.m., I had made and consumed two cups of coffee, taken out the trash, cleaned my room while taking a deliberately slow approach to folding my shirts, gone on a walk outside to clear my head, had a thing of yogurt and fruit to reward the physical exertion, sent an email to my aunt and sister, read about 100 Tweets (favorited three; written and deleted one), despaired at my lack of progress, comforted myself by eating a second breakfast, opened several tabs from ESPN.com on my browser ... and written absolutely nothing.

What's the matter with me?* Nothing, according to research that conveniently justifies this sort of behavior to my editors. Or, at least, nothing out of the ordinary for writers, as Megan McArdle has explained on this site. I'm just a terrible procrastinator.

Productive people sometimes confuse the difference between reasonable delay and true procrastination. The former can be useful ("I’ll respond to this email when I have more time to write it"). The latter is, by definition, self-defeating (“I ...

The Complete Guide to Swearing at Work

For those of us with a fondness for profanity, testing the bounds of cursing in the workplace can feel at once satisfying—and fucking terrifying. But fear not, there’s reason to believe that indulging your impulse to drop an f-bomb in the office is worth it, according to some experts. Here’s why:

Everybody’s doing it

Modern media tell us that workplace swearing is cool. Take Martin Scorsese’s latest movie, The Wolf of Wall Street, whose brash yet professionally successful characters dropped 506 f-bombs, a record for a feature film. In a 2006 survey by Associated Press/Ipsos (pdf), 74% of Americans said they encountered profanity in public frequently or occasionally and 66% said that as a rule, people curse more today than 20 years ago.

There are some prominent examples. After the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, US president Barack Obama famously commented on the Today show that he’d been talking to experts about the spill to figure out “whose ass to kick.” T-Mobile CEO John Legere, a renegade executive known for his potty mouth, badmouthed competitors AT&T and Verizon at a recent press event by saying that “the fuckers hate ...

Strategic Planning: Are Agencies Set Up to Fail?

Most federal leaders understandably focus on the important work of meeting public needs in the here and now. To the extent they consider the future, few look beyond the five-year Government Performance and Results Act time-horizon.

In focusing on today’s needs, it is easy to lose sight of the longer term. As baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra once said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.” Given our nation’s long-term fiscal challenges, agencies in 10 to 15 years will be lucky if their budgets are flat, if not declining. The baby boomers will have retired in mass—decreasing institutional knowledge and increasing human service agencies’ workloads. New technologies will have to be adopted quicker. And the public will expect services to be delivered in new and innovative ways. These trends are having some impact today, but they will be a much bigger force a decade from now.

By focusing so much on immediate demands, the federal government is woefully unprepared for the future. It’s time to strike a more appropriate balance. While current operations must remain a priority, agencies must institutionalize long-term planning to make sure issues critical to future mission performance are addressed ...