Effective communications, guided by a flexible communications plan and informed by stakeholder information needs, are essential to successful project planning and execution.
Team Altarum has supported numerous government agencies in the development and implementation of communications strategies. We believe strongly that messages must meet their recipients’ needs through the medium of their choosing, and that audience research is vital to ensuring appropriate channels are being used and messages are resonant.
Effective communications depend on:
- Accuracy: There must be a single source of information to ensure that the correct information is available to everyone.
- Clarity: Content needs to be written in language appropriate for the target audience.
- Frequency: To break through the high volume of internal VA communications, messages need to be delivered in an array of formats that provide multiple impressions to ensure the widest possible reach.
- Call to Action: Building awareness is only part of the equation for effective communications. It is also essential to provide the target audience with a clear call to action.
- Metrics: Communications activities must have specific objectives and tangible metrics to enable the evaluation of tactics so that strategies can be adjusted and results impactful.
Altarum develops communications campaigns from a systematic perspective. Each component relies on the other, creating a fully integrated approach focused on results. Our approach entails the following:
- Define objectives: Campaign objectives must be clearly and objectively defined. They must be connected to larger initiatives to promote buy in and they must be tied to tangible metrics.
- Audience research: Target audience segments and key stakeholders need to be identified and understood. We conduct audience-based formative research to inform strategies, tactics, and communications channels. Our research includes reviews of previous communications efforts, lessons learned and firsthand research, with the goal of understanding the informational needs of each stakeholder and the sources they consistently seek out. We also conduct focus groups and demographic research.
- Select Strategies: The method of communication must consider the importance of the concept and message, the objective, the audience, available resources, and urgency. Our strategies incorporate different levels of engagement. Sometimes, information is pushed out to individuals, and at other times, information is available, but must be sought out. We are well versed in new media, traditional media, email and newsletter distribution, conference calls and other internal communications tactics (memos, Service Level Agreements, etc.). Determine roles resources and schedules: Planning for successful campaign execution is critical to realizing desired results. We create and manage a detailed campaign schedule in Microsoft Project, which is continually updated and shared in regular status reports to the client. We call attention to milestones achieved, highlight potential risks and actions to mitigate them, and track overall progress.
Meetings and Facilitation
Meetings and conference calls are a key component of campaign management. They are also investments of staff time and resources, so they must be managed cost-effectively while progressing toward the program’s goals. Altarum ensures that every meeting is productive, succinct and tightly focused on outcomes. Our meeting support services are tailored to the distinct purposes and conditions for each meeting. Our team of experts have years of experience helping program managers prepare and execute a broad array of program and project meetings, from highly structured business and management reviews to executive-level governance board meetings.
A critical success factor of any project is constant project monitoring driven by frequent project reporting and status updates. We develop metrics as a key component of every campaign. Our goal is to achieve results – not just process outcomes. We then prepare comprehensive monthly progress reports using a format approved by the client to communicate the impact and progress of the campaign.
Our training experts recognize that a good understanding of team culture and managing projects will lead to optimal results in training design and implementation. Specific strengths of the training capabilities we bring include:
- Federal Education Training Needs: Our team comes ready with an in-depth understanding of the workforce characteristics, job requirements, and unique challenges faced by educators and trainers employed in the Federal sector. In addition, we closely align our training and evaluation strategies with the Office of Personnel Management’s Training Evaluation Field Guide.
- Instructional Systems Design (ISD) and Curriculum Alignment Expertise: Our team has extensive experience designing, developing, and delivering training curriculum using the most contemporary ISD and adult learning principles.
- Performance Consulting: We partner with our clients to identify business needs and problems and determine the appropriate solutions—training and non-training—to ensure value-based results for the organization.
We have helped our clients further their missions through designing, developing, and delivering custom training to support new business work streams, implementation of new technology products, and technical skills related to the organization’s mission. Additionally, our staff has extensive experience with Section 508 to ensure training materials are accessible to all staff.