Public Service Value Chain links happy staff to citizen confidence

Since the beginning, I’ve been trying to focus on making performance management practical.  I wrote some months ago about the what Fortune magazine called “The World’s Most Modern Management Idea” when companies implemented policies that focused on staff satisfaction, after research linked happy employees to investor profits. This is known as the service value chain and it looks like this:

Staff Satisfaction arrow to the  right Client Satisfaction arrow to the  right Bottom Line Profit

Well, it turns out the same is true in the public sector. There is, in fact, a public service value chain,  that links engaged employees to better services to improved confidence in the public service, which basically looks like this:

Staff Satisfaction arrow to the  right Client Satisfaction arrow to the  right Citizen Trust & Confidence in Government

First hypothesized by Ralph Heintzman and Brian Marson, a number of studies have since confirmed and added to their initial research. Confirmation of this link has obvious implications for Public Service Renewal, and just goes to show how everything in the Management Accountability Framework (MAF) are intrinsically linked.

According to research by the Institute for Citizen-Centric Services (ICCS), these five service drivers account for about 75% of service satisfaction among individuals:

  • Timeliness
  • Outcome
  • Knowledge
  • Courtesy and extra mile, and
  • Fairness.

So, when designing services, and the performance measurement framework that goes with them, consider and measure these factors. And if you want to improve your client satisfaction scores, keep in mind that increasing engagement amongst your staff is likely to improve services.

For more research on eGovernment (definition) see ICCS’ research repository or the Australian eGov Resource Centre’s repository, which they claim is the best place to find worldwide examples of eGovernment initiatives and research.

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About Laura

As a Business Analyst working for the Canadian federal government in Web usability, I have the opportunity to be a part of a growing movement of professionals implementing user-centered design principles.
This entry was posted in Improving the Public Service, Measuring success, Service Design and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Public Service Value Chain links happy staff to citizen confidence

  1. Thomk says:

    Hi Laura,
    Thanks for bringing this up. I believe understanding the value chain you describe is fundamental to improving service to Canadians and lies at the heart of justifiying further investments in renewing the workplace.

  2. Laura says:

    Thanks Thom – I totally agree.

  3. Hi Laura, we’ve adopted the public sector value chain within the City of Ottawa as part of our Service Excellence model. Essentially it’s the same as you described, but we’ve added operational efficiencies as a pillar, so it goes like this:
    – two pillars drive Client Satisfaction which in turn drives Public Trust in Gov’t
    – Operational Efficiencies, Employee Engagement (which is also implacted by client sat)

    Right now we’re working on results we’ve gotten on an employee engagement survey, and what to do to improve them. Would be great if we had some comparison numbers to benchmark against. If you know of any, please let me know!

  4. Laura says:

    That is really cool Robert!

    CIPO did something similar a few years ago so you might find something interesting here:

    You could also probably compare against the results of the Federal employee survey if you have asked similar questions: This makes sense from a quality of life/chosing between employers in the same city perspective.

    I feel like this would be an area of interest for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, so you may want to try there. I don’t see it on their list of issues though: But I see Women in Government on there so maybe there’s some background research for at least one segment.

    I also found these:

    When you go on to the next step of finding out what the public wants from your services, check out the Common Measurement Tool from the Institute for Citizen-Centric Service The Common Measurement Tool is a set of questions from which to choose the ones that reflect your needs. It can be used to elicit the elements that contribute most to citizen satisfaction. The most useful part of it is that there is a benchmarking service ( . I haven’t seen anything from them yet about linking it to engagement.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

  5. Laura says:

    @Rob, a colleague has also provided this info for you:

    There are two cities and two provinces that are heavily into the SVC concept – Region of Waterloo, Region of Peel, BC and Ontario.

    Report by BC Stats:
    I like this line: “In the BC Public Service, employee engagement is considered to be a multi-dimensional construct and is measured by three mutually reinforcing characteristics: commitment, job satisfaction and organization satisfaction.”

    Region of Peel: I like that the Peel survey to the public started off with an awareness question – do you know what services are offered?

  6. Matthew Watters says:

    I like this line: “In the BC Public Service, employee engagement is considered to be a multi-dimensional construct and is measured by three mutually reinforcing characteristics: commitment, job satisfaction and organization satisfaction.”

    Thanks, I wrote that line. I am the principal author and researcher of that report. It was a lot of fun working it, and its implications are everywhere. I am no longer at BC stats, but am still very interested in the PSVC. I would love to see where the research has gone, and how you are using these concepts in practice. Regards


  7. Laura says:

    Thanks for writing that great line Matt!

    I cross-posted this entry a while back on GovLoop (a US-based social networking site for public servants) and there’s some interest from a few colleagues there to pursue something collaborative if you have any ideas…

  8. Dr. Eli says:

    I’m arriving late to this party, just having found your great blog. The Public Service Value Chain as described certainly is a robust construct. Over the years I’ve (through empirical research) also come to another conclusion and chain-like model. It is this: Priorities + Purpose pass through a triangle with three interrelated constructs (structure, systems, & workplace climate) that yield performance and service quality. The measures of performance can include several metrics from service satisfaction to trust. But the deciding filter is the triangle.

    Success requires the structure (reporting lines, level of centralization, hierarchy), to be in synch with organizational systems of authority delegation, clarity and quality of responsibility, effective accountability, open communications, plus systems of collaboration and coordination. The structure and supportive systems in turn shape the workplace climate measured through job satisfaction, morale and employee engagement. Structure, systems, and climate all have attendant measures, all focused on the outcome of performance.

    This essential passageway between priorities and performance can be either the Organizational Bermuda Triangle of sunken ambition or a very powerful energy source along the service value chain. I have found strong correlations among common measures of structure, systems and climate and conclude that unless workplaces understand this relationship, the journey may be lost.

  9. Laura Wesley says:

    Sounds complex Dr. Eli. Thanks for commenting. I’ll have to read it over a few times and think about it. Is this what the paper is about that you are publishing?

    I’m checking out your list of favourite books:

  10. Dr. Eli says:

    Hi Laura. Much easier than I have explained :-) I rolled out the model and its application to the Commanding Officer’s Planning Conference last week together with the attendant measures and it was easily absorbed by the audience of about 200 senior police officers. The paper that is being published is on another topic altogether and that is the correlation between trust and workplace leadership and the role of such factors as experience, communication skills, knowledge and other competencies. Thanks for asking and for your informative blog!


  11. Pingback: Linked Data Center – Public Service Value Chain links happy staff to citizen confidence

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