Continuing in the analysis of Agency language exhibited on the Web, VA has been treated to a QPL Text Analysis. We are analyzing the speeches, strategic plans, and home page text of VA.GOV. As stated previously:
“One of the essentials of successful Federal business is to understand your customer. The objectives, the priorities, and the policies of an agency are key factors in successfully aligning your approach to their requirements. A winning company will read the Agency Strategic Plan, their IT Strategy, and other fundamental statements found on the Agency website. Meeting with key personnel to elicit their views is one way to get a handle on the agency’s foundations.
Another is to analyze those key documents that are found on the agency Homepage.”
Veterans Affairs has content similar to the Department of Homeland Security, but is a more cohesive agency with a cleaner focus. Three main divisions are a much more straightforward organization than DHS’s 24 bureaus and agencies. Examining the VA web should give a more coherent picture of the Agency’s concerns and language – and help you position proposals and white papers more in concert with the language of VA.
Five of the six most frequently used words across all documents show a specific focus of VA. These words relate not to the mission of VA, but to performance and process. Service and services come in at a close number two, and are accompanied in the top twenty by care, claims, health, benefits, medical, and quality. The implication is that VA is focused on their constituents and on performing their mission for those constituents. Performance is key – and performance measurement is a priority (percent, results, report, improve.) The conclusion to draw is the VA cares about how well they meet their mission of serving veterans.
Maintaining consistency with the individual word counts, the top two 2-word phrases are “health care” and “accountability report.” VA is focused on serving their beneficiaries! They are also concerned with fiscal responsibility, and indicator of the financial pressures of their budget and growing constituency.
The analysis shows a tendency towards passive voice – the raw infinitive appears three times in the top fifteen 2-word phrases. This could be an indication of subjugating the Agency to the customer – an idea supported by the three verbs in question: improve, ensure, provide. Three-word phrases are more programmatic, with the emphasis on mission performance. This is continued in the four- and five-word phrases.
One interesting note is the recurrence of “oig” (Office of Inspector General), which confirms the VA’s focus on performance and oversight.
The structural differences between DHS and VA are delineated by their vocabulary and the focus of their respective languages. This demonstrates the value of “know thy client.” When you are communicating with the VA, emphasize the preeminence of the Veteran and family, and use a more passive voice in your structure. It’s not about you, it’s about the VA beneficiaries. Talk about measurable results – data and information that support your claims. Everyone will talk about health, and benefits, and claims. Strengthen your position by describing results – data, performance, percentages, and measurement.
Emphasize your integrated capabilities – perhaps you can span the VBA, VHA, and NCA areas, if you are working at the Departmental level. At the very least, be aware of these three components of the VA organization and how they interact now and in the future.
Maintain focus on financial management and performance. Be sensitive to oversight (OIG) and to the need for measurable results, and your relationship with VA will improve.