The Communication Branch supported the department and its ministers in the delivery of employment, workplace relations and small business policies and programs through a range of specialist communication services. This includes developing and implementing communication strategies and campaigns; media advice, materials and speechwriting; graphic design; social media; and website development and management.
The branch also delivers internal communication and staff engagement strategies and activities to ensure an effective flow of corporate information and support a positive and productive culture.
The department uses paid advertising to inform the community about programs and initiatives it administers, consistent with the Australian Government guidelines on information and advertising campaigns. Appendix 3 provides more information on our advertising initiatives.
During 2018–19, the department conducted two advertising campaigns: the jobs campaign and the small business campaign. Further information on those advertising campaigns is available at www.employment.gov.au and in the reports on Australian Government advertising prepared by the Department of Finance. Those reports are available on the Department of Finance’s website.
Social media channels
The department’s social media channels continued to expand during the year, promoting programs and policies directly to the community with engaging and innovative content.
The department’s newsroom provides journalists and media outlets with insights into the Australian employment and workplace landscape. Since its launch in April 2018, it has proved to be a valuable communication channel for the department, receiving a steady increase in readership and media take-up.
Explainers describing the key elements of complex programs in media-friendly language are the most popular type of content, with the ParentsNext and Targeted Compliance Framework explainers being two of the most visited pages on the site.
Stories providing data, insights and analysis relating to key labour force trends have also proved popular, which has led to the development of a ‘Data Dashboard’ for release in 2019. The dashboard will provide interactive statistics and data charts covering employment, unemployment, long-term unemployment, participation, women, youth, underemployment and industry data.
Planned strategic engagement activities throughout 2019–20 will help to further increase readership and media take-up. Broadening the newsroom’s target audience to include influential stakeholders such as academics, providers, think tanks and industry organisations — who are influential subject matter experts often called upon by the media to comment on department policy — will also help to improve the accuracy of public commentary on the department’s policies and programs.
Communicating with staff
The Communication Branch works closely with the Secretary, executive and internal clients to communicate with and engage staff on the department’s work and priorities. The branch uses various strategies and platforms, including the Secretary’s weekly snapshot email, a weekly newsletter, all-staff events and the intranet. The intranet continues to be a primary communication channel and is constantly reviewed and improved.
The Communication Branch runs an annual survey to seek feedback from staff on the department’s internal communication. In 2018, 41 per cent of staff completed the survey, an increase of 11.5 percentage points from the 2017 survey. The survey results were overwhelmingly positive: 76 per cent of staff said they were happy with the level of information they receive on priorities, changes and opportunities that are relevant to them. The majority of respondents (67 per cent) also said they read the department’s weekly Wrap-up newsletter, which replaced a monthly PDF newsletter based on feedback from the 2017 survey indicating low readership of that product (47 per cent).
Celebrating International Women’s Day 2019
The department marked International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March, with an event on 7 March hosted by its Gender Equality Network (GENIE). Secretary Kerri Hartland joined gender champions Kerryn Kovacevic and Grant Lovelock for a panel discussion about the importance of gender balance in the workplace. The discussion included reflections on the shifting perspectives of gender roles, take-up of flexible work by male staff, female representation on boards, societal changes, unconscious bias, and encouraging a more varied range of perspectives in teams and voices at the table.
On work–life balance, all the panellists discussed how being a role model to their staff is important, particularly when at a senior level, and demonstrating by example. ‘It’s important that I demonstrate a healthy work–life balance as the leader of the organisation. When Parliament is sitting, it’s a more challenging time; however, generally I try and maintain a balance in my schedule,’ said the Secretary.
GENIE promotes and supports gender equality in the department and its portfolio agencies to ensure all staff receive equal recognition, support and opportunity, regardless of their gender.