Communication is the linchpin of every organization. Poor communication leads to inefficiencies, frustration among staff, and employee disaffection and disengagement. Although some state transportation agencies have adopted comprehensive strategic plans for internal communications, many have taken a more piecemeal approach, with some Offices and units (e.g., incident management) developing their own plans that apply only to their operations. The latter approach is less than ideal because establishing a comprehensive communications plan provides an organizing framework for all communications within an organization and is critical for uniting staff around a shared sense of purpose and equipping them with the tools they need to realize the organization’s mission and vision. Crafting a solid communications plan also helps to clarify responsibilities, map information flows, break down informational and disciplinary silos, and strengthen employee engagement. If the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) were to embark on the development of a strategic plan for internal communications, it would benefit from adopting several best practices: (1) treating communication as a core competency, (2) improving mentorship opportunities, (3) minimizing clutter by eliminating information redundancies and cutting extraneous content from messages, and (4) seizing opportunities to build employee engagement throughout the agency. As a precursor to developing the communications plan, the Cabinet would benefit from conducting a thorough communications audit to identify communication strengths and weaknesses and identify performance metrics to measure the effectiveness of communications. If a plan was formally adopted, KYTC staff would need to devise a communications toolbox that contains strategies and tactics for increasing engagement and streamlining information flows. Regular performance assessments can be used to identify when and how the communications plan and toolkit should be updated.

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