Cuts are here or cuts are coming. Across the public sector and the private. But what happens when an axe gets taken to your budget and your headcount is reduced? By lots? Here is some advice from one who has been there and emerged the other side...
By 2015 the Civil Service will be around 23% smaller than it was in March 2010.
Most central government departments and agencies have already been through restructuring programmes and communications teams have typically been hardest hit.
So when the Homes and Communities Agency’s Communications team went from 34 to 16 posts in 2011, we had to radically rethink the way we worked. Based on our experience, here’s a list of 10 things to do if you suddenly find yourself having to do more with less.
1. Panic! No, don’t panic, but take a few deep breaths and develop a plan of action
2. Ditch the silos – combine your marketing, press / PR, internal communications and digital teams into a single integrated team. But retain digital experts because digital is the future
3. Run peer training to avoid the ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ scenario
4. Encourage team members to mentor and support each other
5. Introduce an account management approach, where specific team members offer a whole communications service to internal ‘clients’. This helps build relationships and understanding of how Comms adds value
6. Write a communications strategy that sets out what you will – and won’t – do to promote your brand, protect your reputation and influence your stakeholders. This will help you to manage expectations and say no more
7. Secure leadership buy in for your new approach
8. Ask team members to complete time audits to help you ruthlessly prioritise and establish if they’re spending time on the channels / activities that have the biggest impact
9. Don’t wear your comms strategy like a strait jacket – establish a set of flexible key messages and recycle content across a range of channels (draft once, publish lots)
10. Be open to new, creative ideas that help you ‘work smarter’.
Rebecca Crosby is Senior Manager Change Communications at the Homes and Communities Agency in UK Government.