How Government 2.0 Can “Reposition” Your Uniqueness Fast

Are you taking full advantage of the upsurge in government hiring? When the president says he wants to make federal employment “cool again,” do you feel like he’s talking about someone else or about another agency?

You’re not alone. Research has shown that only a few agencies have a head start in the image category. As NASA celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Apollo Landing, it’s easy to see why they’re one of the government’s most highly rated employer brands. After all, as then President Richard M. Nixon said to the returning astronauts, “This is the greatest week in history since creation.”

But even the grandest triumphs hardly do justice to the vast opportunities within the federal government. No other employer comes close to presenting the career choices and options available. Each department and subcomponent has a story to tell. And with the tools of Government 2.0, they can convey this uniqueness accurately and quickly.

Cool medium and message

Government HR has been rapidly picking up on Web 2.0: social networking, blogs, video, etc. The interactive nature of these tools signals a dramatic shift from push (one-way) to pull (two-way-communications).

A recent tweet from the IRS’ jobdog59 Twitter career site, succinctly expresses this difference: [the site owner – jobdog59], “thinks Twitter is like a river I throw bones into. They float along and if anybody wants one they are free to have as many as they want.”

A free-flowing river, offering helpful career hints, doesn’t conjure the old image of the IRS as a faceless fiscal fortress. That’s why the advent of “Government 2.0” means much more than a technical change-over. The very use of these tools carries a powerful message:

Rather than being formidable bureaucracies with labyrinthine hiring processes, federal agencies are emerging as responsive, accessible venues, open to those who wish to serve.

Ennobling the federal employee

Of course, flexibility and transparency alone are not sufficient to overcome inertia. Many young people are wary that working for the fed will land them in dead-end, boring job, a secure job perhaps, but without an upwardly mobile path.

That’s where branding federal employment brings vitality. For instance, when the EPA needed to “fine tune” its workforce and “hire for commitment,” TMP introduced an employer brand emphasizing balance: “Something good for myself. Something good for the world around me.” We then wove an offline and online eco-system around the anchor career site, expressing the connection between balance in work-life and the environment.

Similarly, for the Missile Defense Agency, the branded website parallels the “work” with the greatest technological achievements of our time. Reinforcing the uniqueness of the technical accomplishments, the site uses Government 2.0 tools from an interactive timeline with video to an action game.

Both of these examples help a candidate feel assured that they are doing the right thing for their personal and professional goals.

Recently at a TMP-sponsored gathering, put on by Government Executive magazine, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) commented that when he was growing up in Boston, President John F. Kennedy projected that kind of stature for government employees. At that time, many young people heeded the call to “do what they could do for their country.” JFK expressed the confidence that public servants could dare the impossible, whether landing men on the moon or trekking to serve in far-off villages.

Connolly said that we need to “ennoble” the federal employee again. That approach, abetted by the president’s Call to Serve, may even go beyond parity with the private sector. For the infrastructure of government as well as its regulations make possible an innovative free market. As brand advocates in touch with citizens, public servants also set the tone for civic life. And isn’t that “way cool?”

For more examples of Government 2.0 in action, check out our TMP Government Portfolio.

Thomas Delorme
Written by Thomas Delorme

VP, Digital Products & Strategy

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