Communication
May 7, 2012

Linked in

“Leaders need to look at the ‘public sector service value chain’ [Heintzman & Marson 2005] and understand the connection of employee satisfaction and commitment to public service performance, client satisfaction, and citizen trust and confidence in government.”
— Ransford Smith, Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General, 2008

Four years ago, we suggested people, service and trust – three key priorities of public sector leaders – might be linked in what we called the Public Sector Service Value Chain (PS SVC) (CGE June/July 2006). Since then several Canadian jurisdictions have collaborated to confirm the two links in the chain, and to identify the factors that “drive” improved performance for its three elements.

Moreover, a number of public sector organizations including the Ontario and British Columbia public services, the Regional Municipalities of Peel, Hamilton and Waterloo, and the New Zealand Police have begun to use the PS SVC actively as a management tool for improving organizational performance.

Lessons of the links

One of the key concepts of the Public Sector Service Value Chain is that there are links between the three elements of the chain, links from the point of view of values but also from the point of view of results. Performance on one element influences performance on others.

The Employee Engagement-Client Satisfaction Link

The first link is between results for people management and leadership and results for citizen satisfaction with service delivery. British Columbia, Peel Region and the Ontario Public Service have now confirmed this two-way relationship by analyzing service satisfaction data with employee engagement data for work units within their public services. BC Stats undertook the analysis of the B.C. and Peel Region data, and Ipsos Loyalty analyzed Ontario data on internal IT services.

The most interesting findings by BC Stats were that (a) a two-way relationship does indeed exist between employee engagement and client satisfaction; and that (b) a two point change in employee engagement scores is associated with a one point change in service satisfaction scores. The results also show that by improving citizen satisfaction scores, we can generate greater employee pride and commitment.

These are very important research findings for public managers, because they document the existence of the link between people and service results in the Canadian public sector, its two-way nature, and the strength of the relationship. They also represent a call to action for public sector managers.

The Service to Public Trust Link
The PS Service Value Chain also posited a one-way link between organizational service outcomes and public trust and confidence. This second link has now also been confirmed by Canadian research. The biennial Citizens First surveys of Canadians and the Taking Care of Business surveys of Canadian businesses – both conducted by the Institute for Citizen-Centred Service on behalf of sponsoring governments – were designed to determine (a) whether service was an important factor in creating trust and confidence in public organizations and (b) what other factors influenced public trust and confidence.

The analysis of the data by Erin Research and Phase5 came to the same conclusion as U.K. government research – that service is indeed a factor influencing public trust. There are three dimensions to the way service impacts trust:

·    How satisfied citizens are with the quality of the service;
·    Whether the service benefits citizens and meet their needs; and
·    Whether the services are seen to be delivered fairly.

The inter-governmental research has demonstrated that the Service to Trust link in the PS SVC is real, though complex and sometimes indirect, as we will see. Public sector service delivery is clearly not the only influence on something as complex as public trust. But it is one factor public sector managers can do something about. We will look at another in the next section.

Lessons of the drivers

Another lesson of the PS SVC is the importance of what we call the “drivers” of performance. The drivers are the key factors that influence an outcome. If you want to achieve a result, you need to know the drivers of the result to know where to focus your improvement efforts. To improve performance, public sector managers should focus on the drivers, not on the performance objective.

1. Service Satisfaction
The “drivers” of service satisfaction have been well documented for ten years through analysis of biennial Citizens First survey data. We know that the major generic drivers of service satisfaction are: Timeliness; Outcome; Courtesy/Extra Mile; Knowledge and Competence; and Fairness. When these factors are all performed well, scores of 90 percent can be obtained; when all are performed poorly, satisfaction scores drop to around 20 percent. Timeliness and Extra Mile are the priorities for improvement across the Canadian public sector. Beyond these five generic drivers, we now also know the specific drivers of client satisfaction by service channel and by business line (Citizens First 4).

2. Employee Engagement
Over the past three years, research by Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, Peel Region and the Government of Canada has documented the most important factors that determine employee engagement scores in public organizations. The most recent federal employee survey was designed to identify the performance drivers for federal organizations. As in Ontario and British Columbia, the most important drivers are Executive and Supervisory Leadership (including clear goals), staffing practices and career development opportunities. By focussing on factors like these, B.C. and Ontario have been able to improve their employee engagement scores by ten percent over the past two to three years.

3. Public Trust and Confidence
Citizens First 4 and Citizens First 5 research confirmed that service outcomes have an impact on trust and confidence in government, in the public service, and in individual PS institutions. From the factors tested in these surveys, two clusters emerge: Service drivers (the services benefit citizens, they are delivered well and clients are treated fairly) and Leadership and Management drivers (leaders and managers are seen as competent, the public service is seen to be ethical, is in touch with the needs of the community, and mistakes are admitted and corrected). Among those tested, service drivers make up 35-55 percent of trust and confidence outcomes, and management drivers 45-65 percent of the outcome. By improving their performance on these service and management drivers, public sector organizations can make an important contribution to improving public trust and confidence in public institutions.

Applying the chain
The Region of Peel has been a leader in applying the PS SVC over the past few years, and other Ontario regional governments, such as the Regions of Waterloo and Hamilton, are also early adopters. At the provincial level both Ontario and British Columbia are applying the PS SVC and, and internationally the New Zealand Police are using the PS SVC and are measuring people, service and trust outcomes.

Peel may be the most advanced Canadian jurisdiction. Under the leadership of the CAO, David Szwarc, Peel has been measuring outcomes in people, service and trust for several years. By focusing on the key drivers, Peel has been able to improve its employee engagement results from 70/100 in 2007 to 72/100 in 2008, its service performance from 75/100 in 2008 to 77/100 in 2009, and the trust and confidence

About this author

0 comments

There are no comments for this post yet.

Be the first to comment. Click here.

Communication
 
The ways governments engage with citizens have gotten a lot more...
 
It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and just moments...
 
In this episode of CGE Radio, J. Richard Jones speaks with...
 
You could hear the oxygen leave the room after I asked...
 
Today on CGE Radio, John Jones interviews Alex Miller the President...
 
There is growing pressure on governments around the world to be...
 
The Trudeau Government’s decision, in August 2017, to split the Indigenous...
 
As social media becomes ever-more prevalent in the lives of today’s...
 
Evaluation is performed for a range of reasons:  to improve programs,...
 
Radical candour sounds rather outré as a prescription for government executives....
 
In 2016, Deloitte undertook a global internal audit research study on...
 
As the face of the Association of Professional Executives of the...
 
One of the writers in this month’s issue started a note...
 
Excellence in leadership is instrumental in serving the public interest. New-age...
 
At this time a year ago, the 88,000 displaced people of...
 
During the general election in 2015, Justin Trudeau, the leader of...
 
“Former Metro banker stole $73,000.”  “Enbridge sues ex-employee.”  “Woman stole $51,000...
 
The recent introduction of the new Government of Canada (GC) IT...
 
The way forward to engaging Millennials in the public sector Passionate,...
 
Innovation is prized and praised these days at work, even in...
 
An Interview with Joe Friday and Craig Dowden The Office of...
 
Leading the Unleadable By Alan Willett Your team probably includes some...
 
In this episode J. Richard Jones examines the rise in international...
 
Currently, there are ten organizations at the federal level that function...
 
Imagine a Canadian government that shares best practices in service delivery....
 
If you want to learn from mistakes in how to handle...
 
In 2015, the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED)...
 
Since 2010, experts and academics eager to connect “systems thinking” and...
 
We curse meetings, but they are essential to today’s collaborative leadership...
 
When Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase “the medium is the message”...
 
Words, words, words. Blah, blah, blah. Our days – our work...
 
Government executives are writers. Maybe not like Margaret Atwood or Joseph...
 
Rehabilitating the West Block in considered the most complex restoration project...
 
David Graham, Member of Parliament for Laurentides–Labelle, is on a mission...
 
Global market trends are accelerating to increase the pressure on commercial...
 
Dispersed organisations can be very powerful structures. There is ample evidence...
 
The fact that Shared Services Canada (SSC) has struggled mightily under...
 
The agency responsible for safeguarding the Pentagon and several other buildings...
 
The annual APEX Symposium, which is the largest gathering of federal...
 
The government is spending $3.5 million to improve an existing immunization...
 
Years and years ago when I was unemployed, being able to...
 
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today begins a public...
 
Professors are obliged to set regular weekly office hours, something most...
 
The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that it has managed to...
 
Declining TV revenues caused by a growing shift in viewing habits...
 
Written by Tim Wacker Almost a quarter century ago, when most...
 
Written By Jason McNaught Contrary to what you may have heard,...
 
“Public institutions are the cornerstone of our democratic system” is the...
 
Written by  Brady G. Wilson You may not realize it, but...
 
Written by  Roxanne Descôteaux When I first became a manager over...
 
The good news is that the Government of Canada recognizes the...
 
given the article is mainly about briefing decks. Thus...
 
As politicians prepare for the upcoming elections, leveraging mobile devices and...
 
As the social media field changes and expands, Veterans Affairs Canada...
 
If there is one world that has changed dramatically for public...
 
For the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), bidding for the 2010 Winter...
 
Smartphones and tablets have fundamentally changed how information is created, managed...
 
Canada is seen around the world as a leader in science...
 
They have been hard to miss – TV commercials with colourful...
 
Many emergency responders in Canada, including members of the Canadian Forces,...
 
Presentations can be nerve-wracking at the best of times, even for...
 
It should matter to citizens that governments in office continue to...
 
Chances are good your organization has a crisis communications plan. Sitting...
 
Smart phones now account for 40% of all internet usage, and...
 
Too often emailing is used to dodge conflict; why not use...
 
It’s painfully ironic how difficult it can be for communicators to...
 
Last week, Queen’s University held the Third Annual National Public Administration...
 
commentEmail””:””llevesque@iog.ca””...
 
By using existing technologies such as Facebook and Twitter, Veterans Affairs...
 
The lines between our professional and personal lives are blurring: we...
 
If there is one function of government that has undergone significant...
 
Last week, I announced that I would be retiring from the...
 
On April 21, 1992, a group of 225 people gathered in...
 
We are told that the web is where it’s at when...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.3 March 2007 Much has changed since SARS struck...
 
CGE Vol. 14 No.5 May 2008 Cela fait près de neuf...
 
CGE Vol. 14 No.5 May 2008 In the past decade, Ontarians...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.1 January 2007 "A nation’s ability to solve problems...
 
CGE Vol. 14 No.5 May 2008 Reaching out – it’s been...
 
CGE Vol.14 No.3 March 2008 Kevin Lynch is Clerk of the...
 
CGE Vol. 14 No.5 May 2008 You may be a generalist,...
 
CGE Vol. 14 No.4 April 2008 Fancy yourself a bit of...
 
Nicole Vienneau disappears in Syria three years ago and, according to...
 
For decades, governments around the world have relied on the news...
 
La phase d’expansion initiale qu’a connue l’Internet dans les années 90...
 
Depending on what stage you are in your public service career,...
 
In my long experience watching and working with many ministers of...
 
With the initial Internet boom of the 1990s now firmly behind...
 
Il y a cinq ans à peine, deux administrations municipales néoR09;zélandaises,...
 
Bien que la majorité des Nord-Américains ne se déplacent pas tellement...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.6 June 2007 Is it 1995? Sometimes I think...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.8 October 2007 A landmark conference at Ryerson University...
 
D’ici 2017, les minorités visibles représenteront presque 29 % de la...
 
Au moment où s’amorce la présidence d’Obama, les spéculations vont bon...
 
As the Obama Presidency begins, there is much speculation as to...
 
Our work life is a series of conversations. And those conversations...
 
When Steve Jobs unveiled the new iTab earlier this year, the...
 
This past June, Don Head, commissioner of Correctional Service of Canada...
 
The Government of Saskatchewan dove into a social media experiment with...
 
When you hear the word “collaborate,” do you yawn? Do you...
 
New professionals across Canada are developing novel, more effective approaches to...
 
In a time when communicators are almost universally under pressure to...
 
The communications community of the Government of Canada plays a central...
 
Governments face increasingly complex issues that often involve inter-related environmental, social,...
 
There is an old joke about two passengers on a cruise...
 
Four years ago, we suggested people, service and trust – three...
 
Not to be too dramatic, but information is like a raging...
 
Over the last few years criticism of Canadian human rights commissions...
The ways governments engage with citizens have gotten a lot more...