Natalia Popovych on government communications reform: People change systems. Any system’s efficiency equals to people’s efficiency within the system


Kyiv, February 10, 2016.  Project team of government communications reform implemented with support of the US Embassy presented their competences and values today. These outcomes of the project are recommended for use by all the departments of government communications agencies in Ukraine. The project outcomes are the result of several months’ work of Ukraine Crisis Media Center HR team and experts of Ernst & Young consulting company. Moreover, it has been approved by a consulting team for the administration and press service of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

The question of governmental authorities’ ability to meet the expectations of new Ukrainian society born at the Maidan is the most relevant now. Is their activity fair, transparent, responsibleand distant from oligarchs, do they use innovative approaches in their day-to-day work, explained a co-founder of UCMC at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “We believe that people do change systems and that any system is as efficient as people responsible for its implementation. Due to lack of necessary values, systems may often become instruments for exerting pressure, withholding important information or delaying its publication. In our opinion, any government is untrustworthy if it’s unable to develop a true dialogue with the society. Just informing people on the progress of reforms is not enough. Trust is not built on simple informing. Officials and their communicators should learn how involving the public into decision-making process,” said Popovych.

According to a leading project expert Oksana Semeniuk, HR business leader in Ukraine, Eurasia and Russia, at Mondelēz International, changing government communications system without reforming interaction with human resources of communications teams of the government agencies is impossible. Having studied experience of successful government communication in foreign countries and top high performance organizations (НРО), UCMC experts suggested in-built system of talents management in Ukrainian government communications, when all the HR-processes are interrelated and based on the definite values.  Over 40 press officers from the Presidential Administration, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, regional state administrations etc. took part in developing value system for government strategic communications.

“Values are a certain code of honour. They answer the question “what do I believe in?” explained Semeniuk. According to her, patriotism, honesty, responsibility, competence and innovation are among the main values for a government communicator in Ukraine. The next stage involved developing behavioral indicators for these values – system of competences. Common vision of values and, accordingly, competences in government communications was approved in cooperation with The Communication Reform Group for the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers. Apart from subdivision of competences into basic, administrative and functional responsibilities, experts defined a set of knowledge and skills essential for becoming a member of government communications team. Moreover, the experts proposed organizational structure with job profiles, defined key performance indicators and shaped the system for professional performance review for each job.

Angelica Nazarenko, HR leader of The Communication Reform Group for the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers, emphasized that such work is “only the first step on the road to changes. It is very important to implement and introduce it properly in the government communications system”. Legislative work and cooperation with the National Agency for the State Service is essential. In Semeniuk’s opinion, this practice can be applied to the entire government system. “If we start, our agents of changes will be able to spread it further. There will be many people and structures willing to join the success,” she said.

Follow the link for the project presentation.