&EPA
             United States
             Environmental Protection
             Agency
                 Administration And
                 Resources Management
                 (PM-212)
EPA510-R-92-001
November 1992
Improving Internal
Communications
             Final Report of the Internal Communications Workgroup
             Communications Strategy Committee
                                          Racvcted/Recvclabla

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             TABLE OF CONTENTS
   ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS	i

   OVERVIEW	1

   INTRODUCTION	.2

   BACKGROUND	3

   KEY ISSUES FROM THE FOCUS GROUPS	5

   COMMENTS ON THE FOCUS GROUP REPORT	7

   CONCLUSIONS	8

   CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS	10

   RECOMMENDATIONS...	13

   APPENDIX A - COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY COMMITTEE TASK
   STATEMENT
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                ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This Internal Communications Audit and Final Report would not have been possible without the
contributions of many people.  We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts
of the following:

Christian Holmes, Assistant Administrator and Chief Financial Officer, Office of Administration
and Resources Management  (OARM);  Ed  Hanley, Deputy  Assistant  Administrator  for
Management and  Administration, OARM; and Kenneth Dawsey,  Director,  Office  of Human
Resources  Management (OHRM), who provided important management support throughout this
project.  Also, thanks to Lew Crampton, former Director, Office of Communications, Education
and Public Affairs for his support of this project.

The Communications Strategy Committee of the Internal Communications Workgroup : Linda
Adams, Region 8; Diane Bazzle, OA; Randy Brady, RTF; Helga Butler,  OA; Bob English,
OARM;  Renee Goins, OARM; Peggy Knight, OCEPA; Bob Knox, OSWER; Margaret McCue,
Region 5;  Charlie Osolin, OCEPA; Michael Pritz, OARM; Mike Scott, OCEPA;  and Linda
Smith, ORD.

Special thanks to other people who assisted us in this study: Mell Kollander, OA; Mike Manor,
Region 10; Tom Murphy, Corvallis Lab; Laurel Seneca, Region 1; Rob Senty, OHRM, Mary
Ann Smith, RTP;  all the EPA employees who participated in the focus groups; and all the EPA
Offices, Regions and Labs that gave us comments on the focus group report.

Several members of OARM coordinated the overall audit, managed the Internal Communications
Workgroup and produced  this report.   They are:   Thome Chambers,  Co-chair, Internal
Communications  Workgroup  and  Chair, Communications Strategy  Committee;  Grace
Sutherland, Project Manager and Focus Group Moderator in Corvallis, OR and Region 1; Edna
Rodriguez  and Dona  Canales, Assistant Project Managers; and other staff from the Employee
Participation and Communication Division of OHRM.

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                              OVERVIEW
Last summer, the  Communications  Strategy Committee of the Internal  Communications
Workgroup decided to learn about EPA employees' perceptions of internal communications by
conducting an internal communications audit.  The Committee agreed that a focus group study
would be the best way to gather feedback from employees on their communication needs  and
wants.   The information gathered from  the focus groups would help the Committee  develop
recommendations for the Administrator  and Deputy Administrator on how to improve EPA's
overall internal communications system.

On behalf of the  Committee, OHRM coordinated a focus group study  which included a total of
14 focus groups at Headquarters, Research Triangle Park ORD Laboratories, Region 1 - Boston,
Region 8 - Denver, Region 10 - Seattle,  and the Corvallis Environmental Research Laboratory.
OHRM also gathered information from different employee constituency groups, and from others
with knowledge  of internal communications,  i.e., DRA's, DAA's, the Quality  Improvement
Board, and Human Resources Officers. The conclusions and recommendations contained in this
report are based  on the overall internal communications audit, including both  the focus group
data and comments from throughout the Agency.

The  audit  confirmed  the Committee's hypothesis  that  employees do  not receive much
information internally, on the Agency's direction, goals or current initiatives.  In fact, many focus
group participants expressed a sincere interest in receiving more information on Agency business
so they can do their jobs better and represent EPA effectively to the public.

The audit also produced three  other major conclusions.  First, the Agency does not have an
organized internal  communications system.    Most focus group  participants perceived  the
"system" as  a collection of communication channels used in  an ad-hoc manner.   Also, many
employees said they feel "overloaded" with internally generated information, and the lack of an
organized system seems to make  the situation worse.  The second conclusion deals with  the
underutilization of electronic channels to communicate with all employees, which results in paper
waste.  Thirdly, employees rely on managers as sources of Agency business and administrative
information and want two-way communication to be improved; however, the Agency has  not
developed any specific expectations of managers and supervisors in this regard.

Approximately two dozen recommendations for  improving internal communications  are
listed in this report They fall into the  areas of:  establishing an Internal Communications
Staff and Committee; creating an organized system for internal communications; making
better use of electronic systems; establishing management training and accountability  for
internal communications; and providing employees with needed information.

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                        INTRODUCTION
For our  purpose here,  Internal Communications refers  to  how  EPA communicates
information to employees Agency-wide, particularly information on Agency business and
personnel matters, and encompasses the kinds of information employees receive and how
they receive it  During the past few years, there has been a growing interest in improving the
effectiveness of internal communications within EPA.  The analysis of internal communications
presented in this report is part of a longer term effort by EPA to study, analyze, and improve the
Agency's internal communications.

The EPA Human Resources Council has been concerned with the effectiveness and efficiency of
internal communications for some time.  In early 1990, the Council  established a Subcommittee
on  Internal Communications  to  suggest ways  that EPA's top management could  improve
communication with employees on the Agency's strategic direction and  progress.  As part of
their research, the Council looked at outside organizations for "best practices" which could be
used at EPA. The Council used this information to prepare a report for the Deputy Administrator.
In February  1991, based on the continuing interest of the Deputy Administrator to examine
communications,  an  Internal Communications  Workgroup was established by the  Office of
Administration and Resources Management, and the Office of Communications, Education and
Public Affairs. The Workgroup's members came from across the Agency. The Workgroup was
charged with building on the  work of the  Human  Resources Council, identifying existing
problems with the  internal  communications system, and making recommendations to the
Administrator and the Deputy Administrator on how to improve the system.

The Workgroup  members were divided into two committees:  the Communications Strategy
Committee to conduct an internal communications audit; and the Newsletter Committee to create
an Agency-wide  newsletter.  This report represents the efforts of the Communications Strategy
Committee.

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                           BACKGROUND
 When the Communications Strategy  Committee  began their work,  they  developed a task
 statement which described current perceptions of EPA internal  communications,  the goal of
 improving internal communications, and the purposes of conducting an internal communications
 audit (included as an appendix).  The committee members agreed that the goal of improving
 internal communications should be that "all employees will have a base level of information that
 allows them to understand EPA's mission and organization, current Agency initiatives, including
 human resources and administrative issues, and how their jobs fit into the bigger picture."

 The committee developed three operating perceptions or  hypotheses to test in the audit:

       Agency  Senior Management perceives that employees do  not  have a uniform,
      consistent understanding of EPA's  mission,  new initiatives, how these  initiatives
      relate to the mission, and how they as employees fit into the "big picture."

     Employees both need and want mission-related and human resources/administrative
      information that they are not consistently receiving.

     Employees perceive that the internal communications system is not effective.

 The committee  decided  the  best  way  to test these  perceptions  and conduct an internal
 communications  audit was through a focus group study.  They felt strongly  that only in-depth
 discussions with employees could reveal the real problems with  internal communications and
 suggest desired improvements.  In preparation for the study, the committee developed an outline
 which listed six "key topics" for discussion in the groups: Agency communication climate, types
 and sources of information, communication channels, information needs and satisfaction with the
 current  system,  assessment  of specific initiatives,  and suggestions  for improving internal
 communications.

 Also, the committee selected the EPA locations to include in the focus group study. They agreed
 that the majority  of locations should be in the Regions and Labs, and spread out across different
 geographic areas.  The sites selected were:  Region 1, Region 8, Region 10,  Corvallis Lab,
 Research Triangle Park Labs, and Headquarters.

 After designating  the focus group sites,  the Committee decided that only non-supervisory
 employees should be included  in the study since the main objective was to  find out what the
 general EPA population thinks about internal communications. Then the Committee proposed
that  half  of  the   focus   groups  involve   Professional/Technical   staff,   and   half
Administrative/Support staff, since these two groups might have different information needs.

Once the Committee defined the focus group topics, locations and targeted  employee groups,
OHRM secured a Contractor (Westat, Inc.)  to conduct the focus group  study. Prior to the start of

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 data collection, OHRM and Westat staff worked together to develop a study plan, recruitment
 strategy, and a focus group discussion guide.  Next, Westat purposefully recruited participants
 that represented  the  tenure and  demographic characteristics  of  all employees  in  the  two
 categories, as well as the different EPA organizations and geographic locations.

 The focus groups were conducted between December, 1991 and February, 1992. After analyzing
 the group feedback,  Westat  produced a focus group study report entitled  "A Qualitative
 Evaluation of the EPA Internal Communication System" (available upon request).   To gather
 additional comments, OHRM sent the report to a large internal audience including AA's, RA's,
 DAA's, Lab Directors, the Quality  Improvement Board, the Human Resources Council, and
 others.  After collecting comments, doing additional research, and incorporating ideas from the
 Human Resources Council's earlier  study, OHRM worked  with the Communications  Strategy
 Committee to develop the final recommendations presented in this report.

 The next sections summarize the key issues from the focus group study, comments collected
 on  the focus group report, conclusions  from the internal communications audit, current
 developments, and recommendations for improving internal communications.

 It  is  important to  note  that  the  key  issues,  along with many  of the  conclusions  and
 recommendations mentioned in this report, are based on fourteen focus groups, involving a total
 of one hundred and twenty employees from various EPA locations across the country.  There
were many recurring perceptions and comments from the focus groups. These recurring themes
form the basis for the committee's conclusions and recommendations presented in this report.

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        KEY ISSUES FROM THE FOCUS
                              GROUPS
Several themes came up repetitively in the focus groups:
     Internal communications needs improvement   Many employees feel uninformed
     about EPA's direction and current initiatives,  and think the Agency should do a
     better job providing them with candid, relevant and timely information.  They are
     frustrated when the Agency informs outside organizations before it communicates
     with its own "family."  Most  of what they hear about EPA comes from outside
     sources (e.g., newspapers, other organizations).

     Employees do not  think the Agency has an organized  internal communications
     system.  They perceive the "system" as a collection of communication channels used
     in an ad-hoc manner.  Also, many employees feel "overloaded" with  internally
     generated information, and the lack of an organized system seems to make this worse.
     As one focus group participant summed  it up,  "EPA is  a blue jeans and T-shirt
     Agency, but we need to formalize our communications system so it's not ad-hoc."

     Employees at all levels feel that the Agency is least effective communicating EPA's
     mission, goals, direction, and current initiatives.   Most  employees want  current
     information  on Agency  business so  they can do their jobs more effectively and
     accurately represent EPA to the public.  Many  employees perceive themselves, and
     are perceived by others in the community, as representatives of the Agency, and say
     they  can be more effective hi this role if the Agency keeps them better informed on
     EPA business.

     Employees rely on their managers as sources of Agency business and administrative
     information.  Many feel that managers  should be held  accountable for internal
     communications.   Also,  employees  said  two-way communication  needs to be
     improved; managers should not only pass on information  but also seek input from
     employees.

     Most employees tend to use the variety of communication channels available to them;
     however, many employees  expressed a preference for staff meetings and  electronic
     communications (e.g., electronic mail, Local Area Networks).

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While  most  employees  see  staff  meetings as  a  good  forum  for  two-way
communication, frequency of such meetings varies greatly from one office to another.
In fact, several employees said they have not had a staff meeting in years.

Different  employee  populations expressed  preferences  for  different types  of
information,   in   addition   to   general   information    on  EPA  business:
Professional/Technical staff said they want more high quality technical information,
while the Administrative/Support staff want current information on administrative
policies and procedures.

Communication  on human resources matters  seems to  be more effective  than
communication on Agency business.  However, many employees said information on
training opportunities and vacancies needs to be more timely and readily accessible.

Many employees in the Regions and Labs seemed to feel isolated from Headquarters
and other EPA locations.  Several complained that they frequently  submit work to
Headquarters, but do not receive follow up or feedback.

Employees throughout the Agency agree that informal channels are the best source of
unbiased and reliable information. Personal networks are valued as key sources of
internal information.

Many employees, especially those in western  locations, feel the Agency should reduce
its  use   of  paper  for  internal communications.    Employees   want  to  see
"environmentally sound" communications practices.  Many commented that greater
use of electronic communication channels would not only reduce paper use, it would
also allow them to browse through information and choose what to read and save.

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    COMMENTS  ON  THE FOCUS GROUP
                               REPORT
The focus group report was sent to a large internal audience (i.e., Assistant Administrators,
Regional Administrators, Lab Directors, the Quality Improvement Board, the Human Resources
Council, the Secretarial Advisory  Council, Women in Science  and  Engineering, etc.) for
comments  and  recommendations.   In general, those who commented on the report said it
contained  valuable  information and  captured  the  major concerns  associated with internal
communications. Most of the comments centered around two key themes: cut down on the
use of paper by  making better use of electronic communications; and encourage more
face-to-face, two-way communication.

As for electronic communications, many people agreed  that the Agency should use electronic
mail and LANs to get information out to employees in an organized fashion. Several endorsed
greater use of electronic bulletin boards to enable staff to exchange information and ideas easily
(e.g.,  automate  communication links between  the Procurement and  Contracts Management
Office, Project  Officers, and Delivery Order Project Officers/Work Assignment Managers.)
Some  also suggested that the Agency develop multiple,  easy-to-use data bases on  a variety of
subjects, from policy to science.

However, most respondents emphasized that training is the key to ensuring that employees use
various electronic communication tools.  Several people  also cited the need for intuitive, "user
friendly" tools that are integrated into a comprehensived communications system.

Comments also acknowledged  the need for more face-to-face communications, such as staff
meetings, senior management visits to Regions and Labs, and video conferences.  Most agreed
that these forums  are important because they foster two-way communication.  Many people
supported the idea that managers and supervisors have a key role in internal communications.
They said  that managers should be held accountable for keeping their  staffs informed and
gathering feedback from employees.

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                         CONCLUSIONS
Based on the feedback from the focus groups and comments from throughout the Agency on the
focus  group  report, the Communication  Strategy  Committee has reached  the  following
conclusions:
     While internal communications will always need improvement, the Agency can make
     noticeable  improvements now  by focusing attention on this issue  and making a
     concerted effort to address current internal communications deficiencies.

     Efforts to improve communication with employees, especially keeping them informed
     on Agency direction and initiatives,  should help employees feel part of the  "F.PA
     family" and do  their jobs more  effectively.   The lack of such efforts  is having a
     negative impact on morale.

     The Agency does not have an organized internal communications system. A variety of
     communication channels are used on an ad-hoc basis to communicate Agency-wide.
     This  "ad-hoc system" results in an over-reliance on paper and only contributes to
     employee frustration with information overload.

     The Agency has not recognized and responded to the specific information needs and
     preferences of various employee segments, namely the Professional/Technical staff
     and the Administrative/Support staff.

     Perhaps the weakest area of internal communications concerns Agency business
     information (e.g., information on EPA's mission,  direction and current initiatives,
     policies, etc.).  The  Agency has offices to handle external communications, but  no
     designated  organization  or staff responsible for and equipped to handle employee
     communications. This results in employees looking  to outside sources for information
     on EPA business, and frustration that EPA keeps outside groups informed better than
     its own "family."

     Many employees want and need candid, timely information on Agency business to  do
     their jobs more effectively and represent EPA to the public.

     Many employees want better access to timely training and vacancy information. The
     paper distribution system is not effective for this type of time sensitive information.
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 While employees  rely  on  their managers  and supervisors to foster  two-way
 communication, the Agency has not "asked" managers/supervisors to assume this
 responsibility.   The importance of their  role in internal communications is not
 conveyed through  management training, performance standards or EPA's culture.
 Managers and supervisors are not held accountable for internal communications.

 While many employees seem to prefer staff meetings as an internal communications
 channel, many managers do not utilize this communication tool.  There is a general
 need for regularly  scheduled staff meetings throughout the Agency to foster two-way
 communication between staff and management

 Other than the newly developed "EPA Insight," no mechanisms are in place to help
 foster a sense of organizational unity among all EPA locations.

 There is a need to improve communications between Headquarters and Regions/Labs,
 especially with regard to deadlines and feedback. Headquarters organizations do not
 provide  feedback  regularly  to  the Regions and  Labs on work  submitted to
 Headquarters.  As a consequence, the Regions and Labs seem to be  frustrated not
 knowing how and if their work has been used.

 Without  an effective internal communications system, employees rely heavily  on
 informal channels.  While some reliance on informal channels is natural, a lack of
 effective, formal channels creates an unnatural reliance  on informal channels and
 negative feelings towards the organization.

 While many Regions have developed excellent models of electronic communications,
 as a whole,  the  Agency underutilizes electronic channels to communicate with  all
 employees. Both All-in-One electronic mail and Local Area Networks (LAN) offer
 many features that can reduce paper-based communication.  Most employees seem to
favor more "environmentally sound" internal communication practices, such as using
electronic channels.

There is  a need to improve awareness and utilization of electronic communication
channels, as  well as training on these systems. Many employees in the focus groups
emphasized the importance of getting adequate training on electronic mail and the
LAN.

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             CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS
Before moving on to recommendations, we need to point out some initiatives underway to
enhance internal communications, particularly electronic communications.

The electronic channels for communicating information to all employees or a group of
employees are All-in-One electronic mail and Local Area Networks (LANs).

All-in-One offers three different communication tools: 1) Videotext (communicating text for
reading  only,  e.g.,   "EPA  Insight,"  2) Electronic Messaging  (sending and  receiving
information/files to specified recipients), and 3) Bulletin Boards/Group Conferencing ("posting"
information and allowing users to  "post" comments, e.g., Grants Management Information
Bulletins). Currently, about 7,800 EPA employees have All-in-One mailboxes. However, only
40% of these boxes  are used in a given month, meaning many employees are not using this
system regularly.

All EPA Regional Offices, as well as many Labs and Headquarters  Offices, have established
LANs.  In fact, several Regions have developed LAN applications and have greatly enhanced
communications with employees.  For example,  Region 4 employees  can log onto the network
and find daily news (Regional information, environmental news clips, etc.), a training calendar,
vacancy announcements, personnel notices, travel/per diem information, organizational charts,
and a national and regional locator service. Region 9 has developed a similar system with all
employee news, vacancy  announcements, per diem rates, newsletters, directories, US/Mexico
Border news, and an  employee information guide, featuring information on EPA's mission and
organization, personnel policies benefits and services.

Right now, anyone on a LAN can share  information easily with others on that same network.
With LAN "Backbones," LANs within the same building or even at different locations can be
interconnected. This  "backbone" system has the potential to provide a channel for reaching all
EPA employees on LANs. Information can be captured  in a computer  application, manually
disseminated to the LAN administrator at each  EPA location, and loaded onto each network.
Eventually,  a  central  "super  server"  will  be able to handle nationwide dissemination
electronically, making paperless commuri; cation to all employees a real  possibility.
Possibilities for Electronic Communications

The Office of Administration and Resources Management is working to increase the number of
employees using electronic mail and to continue building an Agency-wide network.  OARM
officials also want to raise employee awareness of these systems and improve training.
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In the meantime, several offices have started using the All-in-One system to provide information
to employees.  For example, the "EPA Insight" is available on All-in-One/Videotext each month.
In May and June, over 1,000 employees used this system to read the newsletter. The Office of
Communications, Education and Public Affairs is taking steps to make the EPA Journal, press
releases, and the weekly "EPA Activities Update" available on All-in-One. Other possibilities for
new electronic mail applications include:  regular updates for Administrative and Support staff
(Videotext), electronic bulletin boards for  research in progress and administrative/support
information (Group Conferencing), and an internal "hotline" service for employee questions on
EPA policy or organizational issues (Electronic Messaging).

The EPA Contracts Management Manual, EPA Locator, vacancy and training information, an
EPA Directives infobase, and a "scanned" image version of the newsletter are just a few items
currently being adapted for the LAN. In addition, Region 9 is sponsoring a pilot to distribute the
"EPA Insight" on the LAN and reduce  hard copy distribution.  So far, Regional employees have
expressed support for this initiative and would like to see other all-employee communications
disseminated on the LAN.  Next, the Region plans to pilot electronic distribution of all-employee
memos.

Once all EPA locations are connected to LANs and the technology is  in place to create a
nationwide network, information intended for all-employees  can be  distributed electronically,
making paper-based communications the exception rather than the norm.
Other Developments

There are some other developments worth noting.

First, the Office of Communications, Education, and Public Affairs (OCEPA) recently developed
an "EPA Insight Policy Paper" to supplement the employee newsletter. This paper highlights
special policy areas or issues, and describes EPA's activities and positions on these  issues.
OCEPA is making this paper available in hard copy as well as on electronic mail.  Also, OCEPA
sent the Agency's annual report to all managers and supervisors this  year, asking them to share it
with their staffs and discuss the report in staff meetings.

Another new development is the creation of  'EPA Science  Notes" by the Office of Research
and Development. This monthly newsletter provides a summary  of research activities in the
various ORD labs, upcoming meetings, and new Agency research  publications.   So far, ORD
sends this newsletter to senior management and all ORD offices,  in addition to members of the
press and the general public.  Plans are underway to make "EPA Science  Notes" available
electronically.

Also, this year the Office of Human Resources Management , in conjunction with the various
training entities throughout EPA, developed a "Curriculum of the  90's," a fairly extensive list
of skill and knowledge areas intended for all employees.  A subset of that list, the "Core
Curriculum," is designed to provide a crosscutting foundation of knowledge  and  skills.   "Core"
courses cover broad Agency themes (e.g., pollution prevention, diversity), current environmental
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issues, important management initiatives (e.g., total quality,  contracts  management), and the
Agency's organization, mission and current priorities. This curriculum is being implemented at
Headquarters and will eventually be implemented Agency-wide.

Finally, two new work groups have been established by OARM and OCEPA. The "Internal
Distribution Quality  Action Team"  is looking at ways to ensure  that the Agency has an
effective and efficient hard copy distribution system in place.   Another work group, the
"Internal Communications and Publishing Interest Group,"  will share information and
encourage better communications and publishing practices in the Agency.
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                  RECOMMENDATIONS
Based on the foregoing conclusions, the Committee recommends initiatives in several key areas:
1) creating an organized system, 2) responding to unmet  needs,  3) strengthening the  role of
managers, 4) enhancing electronic communications,  and  5) expanding existing information
resources. Overall, the Committee sees organization of an internal communications system as the
main priority and  "umbrella" recommendation under which all the other recommendations fall.
While the current developments  mentioned in the  previous  section  can improve internal
communications, these efforts need to be coordinated and integrated into an Agency-wide system
and considered  part  of  an overall strategy for internal communications.   So,  in addition to
supporting current developments , the Committee makes the following recommendations:
Creating an Organized System

     The Agency should establish an Internal Communications Staff with responsibility for
     coordinating Agency-wide communications with employees.  This staff should have
     responsibility  for ensuring employees  are kept informed of Agency  business and
     important administrative information.  They also should monitor and evaluate the
     effectiveness of internal communications in general.

     Establish an on-going Committee for Internal Communications to advise  senior
     management.  The committee should h?ve responsibility for  identifying internal
     communications problems, and  making recommendations  on ways  to  solve the
     problems or otherwise improve internal communications. The Committee  should be
     comprised of managers and employees from Headquarters, Regions and  Labs.

     The Staff, in consultation with the on-going Committee, should develop  an  organized
     system for internal communications that improves use of  formal  communication
     channels and reduces  the use of paper. The Staff should look  at existing Regional
     LAN based communications systems (e.g., Regions 4 and 9) as models for developing
     an Agency-wide communications system.

     While some of these already exist,  the Internal Communications Staff should consider
     incorporating the following elements into a comprehensive internal communications
     system:

        Employee Orientation with an overview of EPA, including the Agency's mission,
         direction and organization.

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        Regular short, non-technical news updates for employees, highlighting Agency
          initiatives, actions, policy positions, etc.

        Periodic candid messages from Senior management, updating employees on
          EPA's direction and progress.

        Targeted information for various employee populations, such as policy and
          research updates to appropriate Professional/Technical staff, and administrative
          policy and procedural updates to Administrative/Support staff.

        Regular all-employee newsletter that communicates EPA's mission, direction,
          and current initiatives (i.e., "EPA Insight").

        Management training on fostering two-way communication with employees.

        Special news updates to managers/supervisors to help them keep their staffs
          informed on important Agency business and administrative matters.

        Regular staff meetings throughout the Agency.

        Senior management visits and/or video conferences with Region and Lab
          employees.

        Agency annual report distributed internally to all offices.
      *

        Timely, easily-accessible vacancy and training information.

        Reference systems available to employees on various policy and administrative
          topics, including organizational information on who does what in EPA.

              .    \
        Training on current Agency themes (i.e., the EPA Institute "Curriculum of the
          90's)."
Responding to Unmet Needs

     The Internal Communications Staff, along with the on-going Committee, should look
     at  the   special  information  needs   of   Professional/Technical  staff  and
     Administrative/Support staff, and work to meet those needs.

     The staff should develop a "Guide to EPA Internal Communications"  - a short,
     easy-to-read booklet or computer based reference tool that describes where employees
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     can find various types of information. This guide is needed to help publicize existing
     resources (e.g., what is available on electronic mail)  and describe EPA's evolving
     internal communications system.

     Since the focus groups indicated that the weakest area of internal communications
     concerns Agency  business information, the staff should provide employees with
     regular updates on EPA's direction, goals, and current initiatives through weekly or
     biweekly news updates.  These updates should be written for all employees (e.g.,
     non-technical and easy-to-read), and be available on electronic mail and LANs (where
     available), with limited hard copy distribution to supplement

     The staff should provide managers and supervisors  with a regular news update,
     tailored to their needs and designed to supplement the all-employee update (described
     above) and help them  keep their staffs informed.  This "management news brief"
     should  help  reinforce  the  importance   of  the manager's  role  in  internal
     communications.
Strengthening the Role of Managers

     Organizational  leadership  should  develop,  communicate and  reinforce  clear
     expectations for  managers/supervisors with regard to internal communications.
     These expectations should include fostering two-way communication with employees,
     and, for Headquarters, providing feedback to Regions  and Labs on the work they
     submit

     Senior management should make an even greater effort to visit the Regions and Labs
     and/or use video conferences to provide face-to-face updates on EPA business, allow
     for  two-way communication with staff, and reinforce  the perception of a unified
     Agency team.
Enhancing Electronic Communications

     Senior management should make electronic networking a priority for the Agency with
     the  goal  of building a  more  sophisticated network  to provide employees  with
     enhanced, " user friendly" services.

     Senior management should encourage and support efforts to use existing computer
     technology to get information to employees, facilitate information exchange within the
     Agency, and increase opportunities for interactive learning on personal computers.
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     Organizational leadership should ensure that adequate resources are in place for
     training on various electronic communication systems, enhancement of such systems,
     and marketing these systems to employees.

     The Office of Administration and Resources Management should take the lead for
     making the following information available to employees electronically: 1) general
     administrative policy and procedural information (e.g., contracts management, travel
     guidelines, etc.), 2) updates  to Administrative/Support staff (i.e., secretaries, clerks,
     administrative officers, etc.) on changes in administrative policies and procedures,
     and 3) general information  on EPA's organizational structure, functions of various
     offices, and who  does  what within each office (i.e., LAN based version of EPA
     SOURCE).

     The  Office of Human Resources Management and Servicing  Human Resources
     Offices should continue to explore ways to make vacancy and training information
     available on electronic mail and LANs.

     ORD, as well as other offices, should establish electronic bulletin boards to facilitate
     information exchange among staff at various EPA locations.
Expanding Existing Information Resources
             Insight,"   the   all-employee  newsletter  developed  by  the  Internal
     Communications Workgroup and launched in February of this year, should continue
     to publish timely information on EPA's direction and the status of major Agency
     initiatives, along with human resources news, human interest articles, Total Quality
     "success stories," and other news of interest EPA-wide.

     The Office of Research and Development should expand internal dissemination of
     "EPA Science Notes " in order to provide Professional/Technical  staff with needed
     information on  research in  progress.  ORD should also distribute this newsletter
     electronically.

     The Office of Communications, Education and Public Affairs should continue to
     distribute the Agency's Annual Report and similar publications internally to all EPA
     offices.

     OCEPA should also continue efforts to develop new information resources and make
     existing ones available for employees on electronic mail and LANs, to contribute to an
     overall internal communications system.
                                       16

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Based on the suggestion of many focus group participants and comments on the focus
group  report,  Headquarters  and Regions  should  consider  consolidating their
respective weekly/biweekly  updates  to  senior  management,  and  making these
available to employees on electronic mail and LAN.
                                  17

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           COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY SUBCOMMITTEE
               REVISED TASK STATEMENT - May 14,1991
Operating Perceptions

      *     Agency Senior Management perceives that employees do not have a
            uniform, consistent  understanding  of  EPA's mission, new initiatives,
            how these initiatives relate to the mission,  and how they as employees
            fit into that picture.

      *     Employees  both   need   and  want  mission-related   and  human
            resource/administrative  information  that  they  are not  consistently
            receiving.

      *     Employees perceive that  the internal  communication systems are not
            effective.


Goal

      All employees will  have  a base  level of information that allows them  to
      understand  EPA's  mission  and  organization,   current  Agency  initiatives,
      including human resource and administrative issues,  and how  their jobs fit
      into the bigger picture.


Task of Communication Strategy Committee

      To  test   these  perceptions   by  conducting   some  form   of  internal
      communications audit and,  based on the  information gathered,  to  make
      recommendations for improving  how the  Agency communicates with its
      employees.


Purposes of Communications Audit

      - To assess the base  level of information employees currently have/receive on
      EPA's mission  and  direction  and other administrative  issues,  and what
      information they need and want to receive.

      - To find out  how employees receive information, if they find these methods
      effective, and  what other ways they may prefer to receive information.

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