Australian Tax Office offers integrity communication top tips
By Justin Bucci, Australian Taxation Office
The APS Academy asked the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) what their philosophy or ‘top tips’ were on how to share integrity related information through internal communication channels. Their response provides an innovative example for other Australian Government agencies to consider in developing their own approaches.
- Culture eats strategy for breakfast – aim for your communications to embed a strong integrity mindset. Staff understand and value the importance of integrity, are educated on how to recognise and avoid falling victim to integrity issues, so that they are confident to respond appropriately when they witness the behaviour in others
- People over policy – culture is about people, so where possible take a people focused approach when communicating about integrity topics (that is underpinned by corporate policies). The comic strip is a good example of applying this approach.
- Connect compliance with creativity – simply linking staff to a corporate policy and telling them what they need to do to comply doesn’t work on its own, especially when the messages are largely reminders or reinforcements. Use creative approaches such as humour, gamification, and engaging graphics as a ‘trojan horse’ to engage staff in the communication activities to get the important underlying messages across.
- Make it real – use any appropriate real-life examples available of integrity in action to create layers of interest, relevance and context for staff.
- Tell a story – utilise a story-telling approach as much as possible to create interest and engagement across as wide a staff base as possible.
- Involve the audience – integrity is very broad and nuanced depending on a staff member’s individual circumstances, so sometimes a news article just isn’t going to cut it. Utilise two-way channels such as webinars that enable a deep dive into a particular topic while giving the audience the opportunity to interact through comments and questions. This not only gives them a voice, but provides valuable intelligence for business areas that can inform future communication activities.
- Get the whole house in order – you can get staff interested and engaged through the communications, but you will ultimately fail if the backend business support tools and resources aren’t in order (eg, an issue reporting mechanism that isn’t streamlined and user friendly).
- Deliver what you can manage, don’t try and manage what you deliver – focus on the highest impact topics and activities you can with the resources you have. Trying to do everything often leads to achieving nothing.
As an example, some of the strategic thinking that drove the ATO’s Security, Integrity and Fraud Awareness (SIFA Week) campaign included:
- Quality over quantity with eight flagship live webinar sessions and a livestream utilising a range of external guest speakers covering practical topics relevant to staff in and outside of work such as:
- a powerful firsthand account from a former APS employee who was groomed and the heavy price they had to pay
- Wilson Security bodyguards talking to celebrities about personal safety
- Greg Gebhart, one of Australia’s leading online safety presenters sharing tips on keeping safe online @home and @work
- Australian Federal Police and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation cyber security experts talking about current, emerging, and potential future threats to our online safety at work and in our personal lives.
- Using senior leaders as the face of the campaign adding levels of interest and engagement.
- Looking for creative ways to promote the campaign such as a special edition ‘SIFA’ themed corporate news quiz.
- Using engaging custom creative imagery to connect the campaign together visually
Some of these creative visuals are shown here.
A video accompanied the risk campaign. Watch Be risk ready* (viostream.com)