11.55.2  Wage and Investment Communications and Liaison

11.55.2.1  (09-12-2008)
W&I C&L Mission

  1. The W&I C&L mission is to help the Wage & Investment division achieve its long-term goals and day to day business objectives through results-driven, organizationally integrated internal and external communications.

  2. W&I C&L focuses on empowering its employees to deliver timely, strategically planned communications, and effectively manage its corporately-owned communications vehicles.

11.55.2.2  (09-12-2008)
Acronyms

  1. An Acronym is a word formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term such as VMS for Voice Mail System.

  2. Acronyms used in this IRM will be identified and explained in each subsection. After the acronym is identified and explained then only the acronym will be used throughout the rest of the subsection. Some acronyms are used universally throughout the IRS and identifying and explaining these in multiple subsections would be unnecessarily redundant. Some examples of these universal acronyms are IRM, VMS and SME.

  3. The following list of acronyms is used throughout this IRM:

    • AP – Associate Press

    • ASSA– Automated Self-Service Applications

    • BMO – Business Modernization Office

    • BSR – Business Resumption Plan

    • BUN – Business Unit News

    • CARE – Customer Assistance, Relationships and Education

    • CAS – Customer Account Service

    • CD – Compact Disc

    • C&L – Communications & Liaison

    • CLCARE – Communications & Liaison Customer Assistance, Relationships and Education

    • CLHQ – Communications & Liaison Headquarters

    • CLMKTG – Communications & Liaison Marketing

    • CMA – Content Management Application

    • DL – Distribution List

    • DPI – Dots per Inch

    • DRP – Disaster Recovery Plan

    • EEO – Equal Employment Opportunity

    • EITC – Earned Income Tax Credit

    • ERO – Electronic Return Originator

    • ETA – Electronic Tax Administration

    • ETARC – Electronic Tax Administration and Refundable Credits

    • FAOPS – Field Assistant Concept of Operations

    • FSAP – Filing Season Action Plan

    • FSR ESC – Filing Season Readiness Executive Steering Committee

    • GAL – Global Address List

    • GB – Gigabyte

    • HCO – Human Capital Office

    • HQ – Headquarters

    • HR – Human Resource

    • ICPP – Internet Content Publishing Process

    • IMP – Incident Management Plan

    • IRC – Information Resources Coordinator

    • IRFF – Internet Refund Fact of Filing

    • IRM – Internal Revenue Manuel

    • ITIN – Individual Tax Identification Number

    • IUG – Insider User Group

    • JOC – Joint Operations Center

    • JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group

    • LMSB – Large and Mid-size Business

    • MB – Megabyte

    • MITS – Modernization and Information Technology Services

    • MP – Megapixel

    • M&P – Media and Publications

    • NERD – National Enterprise Resource Domain

    • NPL – National Public Liaison

    • NTEU – National Treasury Employees Union

    • OD – Operating Division

    • OEP – Occupant Emergency Plan

    • OS – Operating System

    • PC – Personal Computer

    • POC – Point of Contact

    • PR – Public Relations

    • PSR – Publishing Services Request

    • SBSE – Self Employee Small Business

    • S&F – Strategy & Finance

    • SME – Subject Matter Expert

    • SPEC – Stakeholder partnerships, Education & Communication

    • S&PP – Strategy and Program Plan

    • SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

    • TAC – Taxpayer Assistance Center

    • TAS – Taxpayer Advocate Service

    • TEGE – Tax Exempt Government Entities

    • TIFF – Tag Image File Format

    • UV – Ultraviolet

    • URL – Uniform Resource Locator

    • USB – Universal Serial Bus

    • VMS – Voice Mail System

    • W&I– Wage & Investment

11.55.2.3  (09-12-2008)
Roles & Responsibilities

  1. W&I C&L consults with W&I clients to identify business needs and objectives and provide strategic and tactical communications planning and products that meet the client’s goals.

11.55.2.3.1  (09-12-2008)
Functionaries’ Roles and Responsibilities

  1. The Director, W&I C&L, serves as the primary link between the W&I Commissioner and the W&I C&L organization, translating business goals into effective communication strategies and activities. The Director also:

    1. Provides communications expertise and advice to the W&I Commissioner and direct reports

    2. Builds and maintains strong business relationships with division leaders who support the strategic communications planning process

    3. Creates synergy within the W&I C&L organization, designing and managing internal work processes that ensure quality products and group cohesion

    4. Serves as the primary communications liaison with other business units and Headquarters C&L functions, particularly at the executive level

  2. W&I C&L Branch Managers report directly to the Director, W&I C&L, and are responsible for overseeing the internal and external communications activities of each branch. Additionally, Branch Managers:

    1. Connect W&I functional client programs and strategies to W&I’s strategic plan, goals and vision with consistent messaging and communication strategies

    2. Oversee internal and external product development, ensuring products conform to publication standards in IRM 11.55.2.7, W&I Publication Standards

    3. Guide and monitor employee performance, assigning work to employees based on existing and future business priorities and requirements

  3. W&I C&L Communications Analysts report directly to a Branch Manager and are responsible for developing, distributing and measuring communications. W&I C&L analysts:

    1. Consult with their assigned business clients, working in partnership to develop and deliver communication strategies, plans, actions and products to help meet their business goals

    2. Monitor the effectiveness of their actions, adjusting plans and products, as needed, to meet client needs

    3. Provide timely feedback to clients and management staff on the progress and effectiveness of their products and services

  4. W&I C&L Writer/Editors report to the Branch Managers. Generally, Writer/Editors:

    1. Research, interview, write and edit communication products primarily targeting campus employees

    2. Provide graphic and photographic support for their news products and to fulfill other campus-related business needs

    3. Build and maintain relationships with campus executives, managers and employees to support campus-based communications, when needed

11.55.2.3.2  (09-12-2008)
W&I C&L Planning Groups

  1. The W&I Offline Editorial Board is comprised of W&I Communications Analysts and Writer/Editors who manage and control the content of the W&I Offline newsletter. See IRM 11.55.2.7.1., W&I Offline, for additional information on Editorial Board duties and responsibilities.

  2. The Insider User Group is comprised of W&I Communications Analysts and Writer/Editors who meet weekly to review, manage and control the content of the W&I Insider web site. See IRM 11.55.2.14.1., Insider User Group (IUG), for additional information.

  3. The IRS.gov Content Management Application Group. Select W&I Communications Analysts participate with others in W&I to create, review, manage, control and verify W&I C&L-related content on IRS.gov. The Office of Performance Improvement, Strategy & Finance directs this entire process. See IRM 11.55.1 for additional information on the IRS.gov Internet Content Publishing Process.

11.55.2.3.3  (09-12-2008)
Supplemental Planning Groups

  1. The W&I Filing Season Readiness Planning group is comprised of members from each of the Division’s major business functions, including:

    • Business Modernization Office (BMO)

    • Customer Assistance, Relationships and Education (CARE)

    • Customer Account Services (CAS)

    • Compliance

    • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Diversity

    • Electronic Tax Administration ) and Refundable Credits(ETARC)

    • Human Capital Office (HCO)

    • Innocent Spouse

    • Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) Office

    • Strategy and Finance (S&F)

  2. The planning process for the group begins in May and ends in January of each year. This process helps ensure Division-wide filing season goals are aligned and integrated with the overall Service-wide strategy. W&I C&L representatives work closely with national C&L and other business units to plan and execute the national outreach strategy. Additionally, they translate Division filing season goals into effective communications strategies and messages and distribute them through the appropriate internal and external communication channels. See IRM 11.55.2.11., Filing Season Planning, for additional information on this function.

  3. The W&I Nationwide Tax Forum Working Group plans and coordinates W&I-related activities for each forum event. The group ensures all support material, such as seminar presentations and marketing materials, contains the appropriate messaging and is delivered on time. W&I C&L Communications Analysts are ad hoc members supporting their appropriate W&I clients, providing communications-related support and advice as needed. The Tax Forum Working Group tracks their individual funding requirements and ensures the appropriate subject matter expert (SME) is selected to attend each event. Leadership for this Working Group generally rotates among the various members.

  4. The IRS Today Editorial Board manages the direction and plans the content of this Service-wide newsletter managed by national C&L. All major IRS business units have representatives assigned to the editorial staff. W&I C&L representatives provide W&I-related feature stories for each edition, coordinating with W&I C&L management and staff to accomplish this task.

  5. The Service-wide Communication and Liaison Planning Group is comprised of Communication Directors or their delegated representatives from each IRS business division. This group meets quarterly to coordinate their individual communications strategies and initiatives. The W&I C&L Director is a permanent member of the group.

11.55.2.4  (09-12-2008)
W&I C&L Administrative Processes

  1. This subsection provides guidance on administrative processes and specialized tools used by W&I Communications and Liaison personnel.

11.55.2.4.1  (09-12-2008)
W&I C&L Shared Drive

  1. The W&I shared drive gives W&I C&L communicators the ability to share business-related files, documents, photos, etc. The W&I C&L shared drive is housed on the Atlanta National Enterprise Resource Domain (NERD) server and contains four folders:

    • CLCAS (C&L CAS)

    • CLCARE (C&L CARE)

    • CLMKTG (C&L Marketing)

    • CLHQ (C&L Headquarters)

  2. Typically W&I C&L communicators are assigned to a folder based on their client assignments.

    Example:

    W&I C&L communicators whose clients are in CARE generally would be assigned to the CLCARE folder.

    Note:

    For best folder assignment, check with the W&I C&L communicators with whom you will be sharing work.

11.55.2.4.1.1  (09-12-2008)
Shared Drive Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Data coordinators are all W&I C&L communicators who are selected and assigned to each folder by their manager. They work with Modernization and Information Technology Services (MITS) to provide permissions or modify access to the shared drive for W&I C&L communicators.

  2. All W&I C&L communicators with access to shared drive folders are responsible for file maintenance and housekeeping. Typically the subject folders should not contain more than 500 MB of information each.

11.55.2.4.1.2  (09-12-2008)
Gaining Access to the Shared Drive Server

  1. W&I C&L communicators requesting access or modification of their permissions must contact a data coordinator. Data coordinators will open a "Get IT" Ticket and will fill out and fax the Requesting Enterprise Shared Data Access form to MITS.

  2. For more information on permissions see IRM 2.14.2.20, GetITServices. The Requesting ENTERPRISE Shared Data Access form can be obtained at: http://esm1.enterprise.irs.gov/orgs/isa/.

11.55.2.4.1.3  (09-12-2008)
Connecting to the Shared Drive

  1. W&I C&L communicators can set up a connection and create a desktop icon shortcut to the shared drive by following these steps:

    1. Select the "My Network Places" icon on the desktop screen

    2. Select "Add Network Place" in the Network Task window

    3. Select "Next" when the wizard box pops up

    4. Highlight "Choose Another Network Location" . Specify the address of a Web site, network location or FTP site

    5. Select "Next"

    6. Type in this string: \/\/CHM0010CPSHR1

    7. Select "Next"

    8. Create a name for this shortcut

      Example:

      W&I C&L shared drive.

    9. Select "Next"

    10. Check the box "Open this network place when I click finish"

    11. Select "Finish"

    12. Scroll down the Explorer window and find the folder titled "W&I" ; right click on this folder

    13. Select "Send to"

    14. Select "Desktop" (create shortcut)

11.55.2.4.1.4  (09-12-2008)
General Guidelines for Shared Drive Use

  1. Since the purpose of the shared drive is to share business information, W&I C&L communicators should:

    1. Post copies only, never post original files or documents, on the shared drive

    2. Use the shared drive for current documents, not for long-term storage

    3. Place files on the shared drive at anytime

    4. Post any business-related files such as videos, documents, photos, newsletters, etc. that colleagues may need

    5. Post to the shared drive by copying and pasting files or clicking on them, then dragging a copy to the appropriate folder

11.55.2.4.2  (09-12-2008)
E-mail Public Distribution List (DL) Systems

  1. A Distribution List (DL) is a group of e-mail addresses established to facilitate frequent communication to an identified group(s). The DL allows an e-mail originator to quickly send a message to a group without individually entering employee e-mail addresses. In some cases the number of people that have permission to use a DL is limited.

  2. E-mail is a frequently used communication vehicle in communication strategies/plans. DL(s) can effortlessly direct messages to the target audience. DLs exist for small groups of employees by function and position description and for larger groups, up to and including all of W&I.

  3. Because e-mail messages rarely apply to all W&I managers or employees, DLs are designed for targeting e-mail messages to the most appropriate audience without burdening those who cannot use or do not need the information.

  4. MITS restricts DLs with populations of more than 100 users. If a W&I C&L communicator needs to send an e-mail to a DL of that size, contact the DL owner.

  5. All DLs are created with MITS support and the W&I DL Point of Contact.

11.55.2.4.2.1  (09-12-2008)
Location of DLs

  1. DLs reside on the Global Address List (GAL) in Outlook. The GAL section is accessible to all IRS e-mail users.

  2. Outlook users can identify the members of a DL by double-clicking the desired list and looking in the "Members" box.

  3. The DL owner is also listed on this window.

  4. The "Notes" section at the bottom of the properties window describes the DL targets.

11.55.2.4.2.2  (09-12-2008)
Distribution List Format

  1. The W&I C&L-owned DLs mirror the W&I organization chart. W&I and its functions have established DLs for all employees, all managers, and all executives in their function.

  2. All new W&I DLs, regardless of the owner, begin with "&W&I" .

  3. W&I C&L-owned DLs should be defined in the "Notes" section of each DL. The "Notes" section should include a cross reference of who has permission to use the DL.

11.55.2.4.2.3  (09-12-2008)
Distribution List Ownership

  1. The DL owner is responsible for list maintenance as follows:

    1. Turbo/Automatic DLs are based on organization codes and populate automatically through personnel actions generated through HR Connect and require virtually no maintenance

    2. Manual DLs are manually populated by the DL owner

    3. New DLs that replace old DLs require deletion of the old DL

11.55.2.4.2.4  (09-12-2008)
Requesting Support for a new Distribution List

  1. Contact the Point of Contact (POC) via e-mail at *W&I e-Mail Distribution List POC.

  2. The POC coordinates DL development with MITS.

11.55.2.4.3  (09-12-2008)
Voice Mail System (VMS)

  1. VMS is a network of 71 voice-messaging systems located throughout the country. These systems are networked together and provide users with 24-hour, 7-day a week access. More than 85,000 IRS employees use the VMS system as a means of communicating various types of information.

  2. VMS allows users to disseminate information from the convenience of a telephone or a computer.

  3. For most employees, their phone and VMS numbers are the same.

    Note:

    In some cases, employees will have a separate VMS number from their phone number

    .

  4. Before creating a VMS group code list, ensure employees have a valid VMS number. The VMS Operations Center allows you to search for a VMS subscriber’s mailbox http://bbs.is.irs.gov/actibase/vmsqry.

  5. For more information about VMS and Message Manager refer to the VMS National Website http://bbs.is.irs.gov/actibase/vmsqry (THOUGH NOT REQUIRED It is helpful for those who request a paper copy of the IRM to have the full URL).

11.55.2.4.3.1  (09-12-2008)
VMS Message Manager

  1. The Voice Mail System software, Message Manager, helps an executive create and maintain VMS distribution lists. These lists give an executive the ability to send messages to an entire business unit, or to specific groups within that unit, from the convenience of his/her telephone or computer.

  2. To ensure maximum benefit from VMS distribution lists, all employees in that business unit should have an assigned VMS number. If an employee in a business unit does not have an assigned VMS number, they should prepare an online OS Get Services ticket.

  3. In most cases, only Operating Division, Business Unit Directors, or a designee, has access to the Message Manager software.

11.55.2.4.4  (09-12-2008)
Record Retention

  1. W&I C&L creates paper and electronic products and other materials for external and internal audiences. Several federal laws, executive orders, and agency procedures require W&I C&L to maintain and dispose of these records according to established practices. See IRM 1.15.1, Records Management Program, for additional information.

11.55.2.4.4.1  (09-12-2008)
Record Retention Responsibilities of W&I C&L Communicators

  1. W&I C&L communicators are responsible for submitting final products in paper format, unless otherwise agreed to by the communicator’s manager, within five business days of issuance to the W&I C&L Information Resources Coordinator (IRC) for appropriate retention and disposition. When more than one communicator is involved with a product or project, the lead communicator on the task will determine who is responsible for submission.

  2. Each submission will include a copy of:

    • Any required supervisory signature

    • List of all contributors

    • Description of the target audience such as internal, tax professionals, etc.

      Note:

      For recurring products such as newsletters a single or covering description is sufficient.

  3. W&I communication products required for submission to the IRC include but are not limited to:

    • Talk Points and Fact Sheets delivered to National Office Media Relations

    • Newsletters (whether hardcopy or electronic)

    • Published photographic images

    • Speeches prepared by W&I C&L

    • Videotapes prepared by W&I C&L

      Note:

      See IRM Exhibit 1.15.34-1, Records Control Schedule for Communications, for a complete list of products.

  4. W&I C&L communicators are not required to submit communication products that are ultimately disseminated by others outside W&I C&L.

    Example:

    W&I C&L communicator creates a news release that is subsequently issued by Media Relations. Media Relations, not W&I C&L, is responsible for record retention.

11.55.2.4.4.2  (09-12-2008)
Record Retention Responsibilities of the W&I C&L Information Resources Coordinator (IRC)

  1. The W&I C&L IRC coordinates records management for W&I communication products, develops and maintains a file plan, assists communicators with records disposition, inventory questions, and ensures adherence to Records Control Schedule.

    Note:

    See IRM 1.15.1.7.1.1.2

    , Responsibilities of the Information Resources Coordinator, for additional information.

11.55.2.5  (09-12-2008)
Working with Other C&Ls and Relationship Managers

  1. W&I C&L communicators may need to work with communicators in other C&Ls and/or relationship managers when:

    1. An issue needs to be communicated to employees outside W&I

      Example:

      Media and Publications (M&P) is recruiting employees from across the Service to participate in product focus group sessions.

    2. An issue needs to be communicated to audiences owned by another function or division

      Example:

      W&I needs to communicate Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) information to the tax professional community, an audience which National Public Liaison (NPL) and Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) management(?).

    3. An issue needs to be communicated through non-W&I corporate owned communication channels

      Example:

      W&I needs to communicate with congressional offices, managed by SB/SE.

    4. Other C&Ls need to reach W&I employees or audiences through W&I-owned communication channels

      Example:

      W&I employees need information about changes in their leave and earnings statements.

11.55.2.5.1  (09-12-2008)
Engaging Other Communicators and Relationship Managers on W&I-owned Issues

  1. W&I C&L communicators should engage other communicators and relationship managers early in the planning process to prevent overlaps or disconnects in communications and to fully leverage knowledge of their audience’s perceptions, behaviors, communication needs, etc. and potential communication vehicles.

  2. W&I C&L communicators identify the appropriate C&Ls and relationship managers and advise their W&I C&L manager that outside participation will benefit communications.

  3. W&I C&L managers contact the appropriate function(s) and request a representative(s) be assigned to the project.

  4. Other C&L and relationship managers to consider include, but are not limited to:

    • W&I Stakeholder Partnerships, Education & Communication (SPEC)

    • SB/SE C&L

    • SB/SE Stakeholder Liaison

    • SB/SE Governmental Liaison

    • Legislative Affairs

    • National Public Liaison

    • Media Relations

    • Hispanic Media Relations

    • Taxpayer Advocate Service

    • Internal Communications

11.55.2.5.2  (09-12-2008)
Assisting Other Communicators with non-W&I-owned Issues

  1. W&I C&L communicators follow the guidelines outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding for Field Offices Regarding Media Activity when initiating news releases or receiving media inquiries. The Chief, Tactical Implementation Branch, W&I C&L will serve as the primary point of contact with Media Relations on all W&I issues, especially those national in scope.

  2. W&I C&L communicators follow the guidelines outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding Between Wage and Investment Division and SB/SE Division regarding governmental liaison support.

  3. W&I C&L communicators fully support other C&L functions to effect coordinated communications that reach targeted groups with audience-appropriate messages.

  4. When contacted by another C&L function for support, W&I C&L managers secure the pertinent information for proper assignment.

  5. When W&I C&L communicators receive requests for support from another C&L function, they secure and elevate the pertinent information to the W&I C&L managers for proper assignment.

  6. Whenever possible, W&I C&L managers seek volunteers for new assignments.

11.55.2.6  (09-12-2008)
Communication Planning

  1. Strategic communication planning helps W&I C&L meet its goal of supporting W&I’s strategic objectives. W&I C&L works with clients to plan, develop and set expectations for communications that best meet the clients’ business objectives. W&I C&L coordinates product development for its clients to ensure planned communications are integrated and delivered through the right channels, at the right time, and outcomes are measured and reported.

  2. Communication planning typically includes four major steps:

    1. Preparing to meet with the client

    2. Meeting with the client

    3. Completing the plan

    4. Monitoring and managing the plan

11.55.2.6.1  (09-12-2008)
Preparing to Meet with the Client

  1. Prior to the initial client meeting, W&I C&L communicators should:

    1. Research available resources to learn about the client, including their strategic objectives and goals

    2. Talk to subject matter experts (SMEs) to determine major issues and previous approaches that were used to resolve issues

    3. Confer with other communicators who have worked with the client

    4. Identify linkages in W&I’s Strategy and Program Plan that specifically apply to the client

  2. W&I C&L communicators should formulate questions to pinpoint the client’s desired results, organize questions to flow in a logical manner, and review questions with other communicators or SMEs to refine the client discussion.

  3. W&I C&L communicators should be prepared to explain W&I C&L services.

    Example:

    Provide communication strategy successes, the benefits of strategic planning, etc.

11.55.2.6.2  (09-12-2008)
Meeting with the Client

  1. W&I C&L communicators set the tone by moving toward results-oriented planning. Establishing and following an agenda for client meetings supports this objective.

  2. During the client meeting, W&I C&L communicators should:

    1. Ascertain the client’s desired outcome as a result of communication – how the end-state will differ from the current-state

    2. Help the client determine the appropriate target audience(s)

    3. Gather information and conduct a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis

    4. Refrain from commenting on policy issues; this is not the communicator’s area of expertise

    5. Ask numerous clarifying questions up-front to prevent miscommunication

    6. Determine if research exists on the client’s issue

    7. Request a subject matter expert be assigned to the project

    8. Discuss product clearance responsibilities and contacts; ensure the SME knows they are responsible for ensuring any needed Counsel review

    9. Listen closely to the client to ensure clarity regarding key components of the plan

11.55.2.6.3  (09-12-2008)
Preparing a Communication Plan

  1. Communication plans can have various degrees of detail, ranging from an in-depth Communication Strategy to a simpler Awareness Plan. W&I C&L communicators determine the type of plan needed for the initiative at hand. Awareness Plans inform the audience without the expectation of an action or change in behavior. Communication Strategies have specific expectations and seek to meet specific objectives. See Exhibit 11.55.2-3., W&I Communication Vehicles.

  2. To show how a specific communication plan supports the W&I business objectives, communicators should work with the client to tie their plan to the W&I Strategy and Program Plan.

  3. A communication plan should identify all internal and external audiences for whom messaging is appropriate. W&I communications often contain messages intended for W&I employees and managers. Communication plans also may include other internal audiences and/or an external communication component. Potential external audiences to be considered include:

    • Tax professionals

    • Members of Congress (field offices or committee members)

    • The media and the general public

    • Other stakeholder groups

  4. Once communicators identify all audiences, they must develop the tactical portion of their communication plan to outline the appropriate communication vehicles and products for message delivery. Communicators often develop multiple products. Options range from hard copy distributions to Web postings and e-mail. See Exhibit 11.55.2-2. Measures-Historical Data, W&I Communications and Liaison, for a complete listing of W&I C&L communication vehicles and products. Communicators should also consider and leverage non-W&I channels and vehicles if the audience is broader than W&I.

    Note:

    Most IRS employees have Intranet and e-mail access. However, almost 50% of W&I’s employee base is campus-based and within this audience, access to electronic media is minimal for some departments. Paper product development and distribution may be necessary.

  5. W&I C&L communicators work with the client to identify specific measurable behaviors needed to achieve the desired business objectives that can be driven by communications.

    Example:

    If a plan promotes the electronic signature option you might compare the percentage of taxpayers with electronic signatures for one year versus the next year. Communicators then work with the client to determine the systems, tools and processes that best measure results.

    See IRM 11.55.2.6.5., Business Measures, for detailed information.

  6. Communicators determine if the communication need is one-time or if it will recur and on what basis.

    Example:

    Some needs are updated each filing season. Communicators determine timeliness/deadlines and gain agreement with the client on a time frame for each objective.

  7. The W&I C&L communicators consult with the appropriate SME for technical assistance before finalizing any plan to ensure accuracy and completeness of information.

  8. Communicators obtain appropriate approval from the client and the communications manager before the communication plan can be considered final.

  9. Communicators should post approved communication plans to the W&I C&L http://win.web.irs.gov/csdocs/communications/communication_strategies_plans.htmCommunication Strategies and Plans Web page.

11.55.2.6.3.1  (09-12-2008)
Components of a Communication Plan

  1. This sub-section describes what should be included when completing the communication table. See Exhibit 11.55.2-2. for more information, including examples of each component.

    • Objectives and Measures: Defines how planned communications will help meet the business objectives

    • Strategy: Summarizes the strategic approach (i.e., how the communicator and client will accomplish the goals of the plan)

      Example:

      Create general awareness among all employees. Use stakeholder relationship managers to educate partners and promote participation.

    • Audience: Lists each audience, segmented into the smallest groupings possible (if the audience is not all W&I employees, then list the target W&I organizations – Accounts Management, Field Assistance, etc.)

    • Message(s): Shows the most powerful, persuasive benefit(s) to each audience, and should be phrased in action statements

      Example:

      Check out the redesigned Innocent Spouse form and tell us what you think.

      Example:

      Make quality a group effort, using Contact Recording as a tool.

    • Communication vehicle: Lists the vehicles that will carry the communications (ie. e-mail distribution list, external media outlets, employee newsletters, Intranet sites)

    • Communication Product: Lists the product that will be used (i.e. article, news release, frequently asked questions, flyer)

    • Communication activity: Describes the communication activity (i.e. announce Revenue Procedure changes to various audiences)

    • Communication Strategy Team: Lists individuals contributing to the strategy development, including representatives from the client organization, other C&Ls, and relationship managers

    • Communication Plan Creative Development and Implementation Team: Lists individuals responsible for creative development and implementation (this team may also contain representatives from the client organization)

    • Addendum: Components on the addendum can be used as needed to enable the development and execution of the plan

      Note:

      All components may not be applicable to all communication strategies and awareness plans.

11.55.2.6.4  (09-12-2008)
Monitoring and Managing the Plan

  1. W&I C&L communicators manage and monitor their assigned awareness plans and communication strategies on behalf of their clients. To do so, communicators should take these and/or any other applicable proactive measures throughout plan delivery. Adjustments may be made as necessary:

    1. Monitor action items to ensure they meet the client's objectives

    2. Determine whether the messages remain on-target

    3. Ensure all audiences are incorporated, and add/remove as necessary

    4. Monitor audience feedback, report to client and adjust as needed

    5. Monitor audience’s reaction(s) to message – including negative reactions and questions about new or revised procedures; address the reaction(s)

    6. Maintain contact with the client to determine whether communication needs are being met

    7. Monitor the measures to determine plan effectiveness

    8. Provide subsequent plan versions to the client, reflecting as actions are completed and other updates are necessary

    9. Post updated awareness plans and communications strategies to the W&I C&L Communication Strategy Web page

  2. Communicators can increase their value by educating themselves about the client's business, anticipating needs and making themselves available for regular consultation.

  3. In preparing to meet and share results with the client, W&I C&L communicators should prepare a close-out agenda, or quick overview of the project to include plan highlights, deliverables and discussion of the measured communication results. Ideally, the client will share the business and behavioral measured results at this time.

    Note:

    If this is an interim (milestone) results meeting, communicators should be prepared to present options to enhance results and discuss the possible implications of each.

11.55.2.6.5  (09-12-2008)
Business Measures

  1. Business (or client-driven) measures are often quantitative because the client has existing baseline data and is able to measure what he wants the target audience to do, such as increase their use of e-file.

    Example:

    Determine amount of money saved from TeleFile sunset.

11.55.2.6.6  (09-12-2008)
Communication Measures

  1. W&I C&L communicators should link communication objectives to W&I and IRS strategic business objectives and business results. In its strategies, W&I C&L may use one or more quantitative and/or qualitative communication measures.

    Example:

    Quantitative measure -- Achieve at least 2.7 million authentications via the "Where’s My Refund?" application.

    Example:

    Qualitative measure -- Anecdotal information gathered through focus group or case study analysis.

  2. See Exhibit 11.55.2-1., Criteria for Determining Need for a Communication Strategy, and See Exhibit 11.55.2-2., Measures-Historical Data, for lists of the types of communication measures and their possible use(s) in W&I C&L strategies on a prospective and historical basis. Please note these lists are not all inclusive.

11.55.2.7  (09-12-2008)
W&I Corporate-Owned Communication Vehicles

  1. W&I C&L manages W&I’s corporate-owned communication channels and is responsible for developing, publishing and distributing:

    • W&I Offline: a monthly all-employee newsletter with corporate and campus-specific information issued in hardcopy to W&I campus employees and electronically to W&I headquarters and field staffs

    • The Insider: the W&I Intranet site with news articles, links to all functions within W&I; friendly reminders of current and upcoming events; Your Neck of the Woods in W&I, featuring employees across the country and activities of local interest across the country; the Insider is available to all IRS employees with Intranet access

    • Inside the Insider: a weekly e-mail to all employees with breaking news about initiatives or events and links to related content on The Insider

    • News from Business Units: a section of IRWeb that promotes non-location specific W&I news of interest to all IRS employees through a linked headline

    • All W&I employee e-mail messages

    • All W&I employee voice mail messages

    • Closed-circuit TV system to promote corporate and local events, available in limited locations

  2. The goal of these communication vehicles is to help meet W&I goals by effectively and efficiently disseminating information and messages to targeted W&I audiences or the entire W&I organization.

  3. Contributors can submit communication items or articles for publication via any W&I C&L staff member. See http://win.web.irs.gov/csdocs/communications/CL_directory.xls for contact information. All articles must have client approval before submission.

    Note:

    All submissions are subject to the editorial guidelines. See IRM 11.55.2.8., Publication Standards, for additional information.

11.55.2.7.1  (09-12-2008)
W & I Offline

  1. W&I Offline is specifically designed to meet communication needs of W&I employees without Intranet access.

  2. The Offline Editorial Board meets monthly to discuss and schedule upcoming events and news articles of interest to W&I employees. Various topics are considered, and communications are planned using one or all of the major communications vehicles, but the primary focus is to outline the content of future Offline issues.

  3. The W&I Offline editor-in-chief collects, edits, proofreads and does the layout for the corporate insert pages and forwards them to each campus.

    1. Campus versions are printed each month with the common corporate insert pages plus local news

    2. An electronic version is posted on the Insider each month for employees in headquarters and field offices

11.55.2.7.2  (09-12-2008)
The Insider

  1. The Insider is W&I’s Intranet site. It features:

    • Links to all W&I functions’ web pages

    • News articles about W&I initiatives and activities

    • Friendly reminders of current and upcoming events

    • Your Neck of the Woods, activities of local interest across the country

11.55.2.7.3  (09-12-2008)
Inside the Insider

  1. Inside the Insider is a weekly e-mail to all W&I employees.

  2. It promotes two or three new articles and several new Your Neck of the Woods features each week.

11.55.2.7.4  (09-12-2008)
News from Business Units

  1. The News from Business Units is a section of IRWeb. National Headquarters Internal Communications allows business unit communicators posting and content control of one Business Unit News (BUN) item in order to promote operating division articles or content of interest to the IRS as a whole. Each business unit may post a story of their choosing and post it for seven days. Stories may be changed at any time at the business unit’s option.

11.55.2.7.5  (09-12-2008)
E-mail Messaging

  1. All W&I employee e-mail messaging promotes awareness of important programs, deadlines, special recognition, etc.

  2. W&I C&L owns distribution lists ( See IRM 11.55.2.4.2., E-mail Distribution Lists) designed to reach all W&I employees. Messages can be sent from pseudonyms including *W&I Communications.

  3. In the interest of minimizing e-mail overload, this vehicle is generally used only at the request of management such as the Director or Branch Chief, W&I C&L or a W&I Executive.

11.55.2.7.6  (09-12-2008)
Voice Mail Messaging

  1. Similar to e-mail messaging, all W&I employee voice mail messaging promotes information that must be relayed quickly with minimal coordination. These are usually cascaded through management channels.

11.55.2.8  (09-12-2008)
W&I Publication Standards

  1. This subsection provides guidelines for producing professional publications that consistently support the W&I mission and strategic plan. Through clear and concise messaging, W&I C&L informs, educates and influences readers and promotes better understanding of W&I goals.

11.55.2.8.1  (09-12-2008)
Writing Format

  1. W&I C&L follows and adheres to the journalistic standards set forth in the AP Stylebook and to additional customized standards set by W&I C&L. See IRM 11.55.2.8.4., Writing References, for additional guidance on format and style.

  2. W&I C&L communicators should write and edit all articles and communication products (brochures, PowerPoint presentations, flyers, talking points, etc.) using:

    • Active voice

    • Plain, concise and clear language

      Example:

      Use instead of utilize.

    • Simple, strong, sincere tone

    • Bullets and lists

    • Short sentences, short paragraphs, short articles

    • Plenty of white space

    • Shortest significant number for statistics (round off $1,711,669,356.02 to $1.7 billion)

    • Inverted pyramid approach for news articles (most important information in first paragraph)

11.55.2.8.2  (09-12-2008)
Editorial Control

  1. All W&I corporate-owned communication vehicles exist as instruments to benefit and educate W&I employees and clients. W&I C&L reserves the right to review and reject any materials that are not consistent with IRS or W&I goals and vision, or that do not meet the standards listed above. See IRM 11.55.2.8.1., Writing Format.

  2. All products submitted to W&I C&L for inclusion in any W&I communication vehicle (Intranet, print, or Internet) are subject to review for grammar, punctuation, clarity, conciseness, active voice, length, timeliness and any other considerations. See IRM 11.55.2.8.4., Writing References.

  3. W&I C&L does not use animated graphics on its Web sites. They add significant memory requirements to a page and many Web browsers do not support them. They also may present problems for people with visual disabilities.

  4. W&I C&L uses photographs that are well composed, in focus and appropriate for the audience. See IRM 11.55.2.10., Photographic Support, for additional information.

  5. Clients are responsible for reviewing and approving all articles for technical accuracy. See IRM 11.55.2.9.2., Communication Product Clearance and Review, for further guidance.

11.55.2.8.3  (09-12-2008)
Articles Submitted to W&I C&L for Publication

  1. The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) may submit articles as agreed upon in the IRS/NTEU contract.

  2. Employee organizations may submit articles for publication. All articles must be appropriate for federal government employees.

  3. W&I may print a disclaimer in publications, such as, "The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the Internal Revenue Service" .

  4. Articles published will inform and promote the views of the IRS. W&I C&L will not publish articles that might violate law, subject the IRS to liability or improperly imply Service endorsement of an organization or its views.

11.55.2.8.4  (09-12-2008)
Writing References

  1. W&I C&L communicators should refer to the following resources for writing guidance:

    • Publication standards: AP Stylebook

    • NTEU/IRS Contract

    • IRS Employee Organization Policy

    • Insider Style Sheet

    • User-friendly communications (Internet access required)

    • Acronym Guidance

    • W&I C&L Toolbox

11.55.2.9  (09-12-2008)
Creating W&I Communication Products

  1. W&I C&L gives the highest priority to creating communication products for communication strategies and plans that directly support the W&I Strategy and Program Plan (SP&P), business objectives, and new legislation.


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