Communicating directly to all employees is great, but we also need to acknowledge that line managers have a big role to play in motivating and engaging employees.
If you have a project or topic you need to communicate, then your internal communications plan should look at the various avenues to spread your message, and managers are key. Read on to find out more.
“Simply put, the more effective a manager is, the more engaged their team is likely to be.” These were the words of Dr. Natalie Baumgartner, Chief Workforce Scientist at Achievers, in a recent Manager Empowerment Report.
It’s an undeniable statement – your line managers are your front line when it comes to employee engagement and performance.
So why is it we hear, too often, about a lack of support and training for this highly influential group, who can essentially make or break the culture of a company? The same report suggested that only one-third of line managers feel they are given the guidance they need to bring out the best in their own teams.
Bad managers? Not if you give them good tools
Most people step into a management role because they’re experienced and good at their job – they’re often keen to bring others along on the journey, but often not given the right tools to be empowered to do so.
Give them the tools and resources they need to manage effectively, and the rest will naturally follow. It’s the trickle-down effect – if your line managers know how to bring their teams on board with your values, vision and goals then not only do they feel empowered in their role, their colleagues in turn feel they have what they need from their manager – leading to an overall happier workforce.
This is where communication is key. Are your managers clear on what you are trying to achieve? Do they know what is expected of them and how to communicate your key messages to their teams? Are they aware of any looming changes that might have an impact on their colleagues, and any action they need to take?
For all the benefits modern technology affords us, communicating effectively and consistently with this group isn’t always easy, especially in a world where many of us continue to work remotely. But with the right approach in place, you can empower your line managers to engage their teams to the best of their ability. And this is where your internal communications plan comes into the spotlight. Your internal comms platform can, for example, become your central hub for:
- Briefing notes setting out the ‘what, why, when’ of your project(s) and advice on how to cascade these to teams
- Documents like PPT slides, animated video, and FAQs to help line managers communicate key messages
- Regular updates on any changes that might affect priorities or processes.
Soft skills have never had more influence
Soft-skills training for line managers has also never been more important. The looming mental-health crisis isn’t going away anytime soon and talk of the “great resignation” is understandably unnerving a lot of business leaders. In many organisations there has been conversation – and action – around helping managers prevent burnout (and therefore potential resignations) by supporting the wellbeing of their teams. Where a lot of companies continue to struggle, as they find their post-pandemic feet, is in facilitating a joined-up approach to wellbeing.
For example, are all your line managers clear on any wellbeing strategy you’ve started to put into place? Are they clear, for example, on how to:
- Spot wellbeing issues?
- Handle difficult conversations around any struggles a colleague is having?
- Encourage healthy work-life balance in their teams?
It’s important that managers are sufficiently trained and have space to ask questions so they can develop the soft skills needed to handle what are often tricky topics for many – talking about mental health or financial wellbeing, for example, can be difficult for many, so we need to empower and support our managers.
Use your central communication assets
Again, your central internal communications platform can be your best asset when it comes to training and supporting managers in these areas. A wellbeing ‘hub’, for example, can become a rich resource of tools and resources that can be added to and adapted over time, to account for the rapidly shifting working landscape we all find ourselves in. For example, your wellbeing hub might include:
- Training guides on how to build employee confidence and resilience
- Advice on how to conduct effective and supportive 1-2-1s
- Community groups, where line managers can connect to share best practice and support one another.
Whatever your project or topic, your line managers are crucial to the overall employee experience – invest wisely in their development and you’ll empower them, their teams and your business overall to move in a positive direction.
Effective dialogue with managers really can make or break the impact of your project
Have an upcoming project and need to empower your managers? Come talk to us to find out what other ideas and tested methods we can suggest to help.