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Get help with line manager communication

Are your line managers effective communicators?

What communication support or training do you have in place for your line managers?

The topic of line manager communication comes up frequently, both with our clients and comms friends.

Today All Things IC Comms Consultant Dan Holden is here to share news of a brand new resource from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ Inside group.

CIPR Inside is a team of volunteer internal communication professionals and Dan is the current Chair.

They have just published a study into effective line manager communication. It is hot off the press and I welcome this publication as I know it will be useful for IC professionals.

This extract jumped out at me: Line managers “set up to fail” through lack of communication preparedness.

Ouch. What do you think? Does that ring true for your organisation?

If you are looking for help with your line manager communication and want to know what other people are doing, this study will be useful for you.

Findings include:

  • 73% of respondents report that communication is valued as a leadership skill, but just 15% said training was mandatory for line managers
  • 72% of senior leaders say face-to-face briefings rank as the most effective way of engaging with managers, yet they tend only to take place monthly
  • 56% of internal communications (IC) professionals don’t have access to data that could inform their communications approach.

I invited Dan to share more about the study and how you can get hold of it. Congrats to the Inside team, thank you for investing time in this research to help your fellow Comms pros.

I’ll hand you over…

Rachel. 

Further reading: I published a Candid Comms podcast episode on this topic last year: How to help line managers communicate. Season Four of Candid Comms launched this week and we have an episode on leadership communication coming up in this season.

 

Promotional image to promote the CIPR Inside Effective line manager communication report

It’s not uncommon to see posts on social media from internal communicators asking for help on supporting line managers and overcoming the challenge of ineffective local communications.

I’m pleased to share that this week, the CIPR Inside committee published their latest research on Effective line manager communication.

All the research and insights were collected by the committee members in their spare time, yet it’s an incredible report.

What I love about it is that it’s not only full of insights but has ways you can practically apply it daily.

The report – Effective line manager communications – surveyed line managers, HR professionals, and internal communicators, showed a clear mismatch between the expectations of line managers and the support provided.

Text: It starts at the top The role of senior leadership in internal communication is vital. Management sets the tone, drives priorities and has the strongest influence across all levels of the organisation.

Although line managers are expected to deliver important messages, engage with their teams, and unite employees behind organisational change, the support they receive to do this is “often inadequate” with only 15% of respondents saying communication training for managers was mandatory in their organisations and 51% that training was voluntary.

There are three key themes that the report highlights:

  1. Organisations set the tone from the top. Line manager communications need senior leadership support and commitment to be given the priority it needs. As the strongest influencers in the organisation, what the leadership pays attention to matters to the rest of the organisation.
  2. We expect a lot from line managers and need to start giving the priority and support that matches that expectation. Whether it’s supporting their development and communications skills or providing the best tactical and strategic communications that are ready for them to use or adapt to communicate with their teams, it needs to help them be great communicators and ultimately make the impact the organisation expects of them.
  3. Most organisations are communication heavy. A lot is going on at a strategic level as we grapple with numerous big issues across industries. If internal communication teams want to help line managers to be great communicators and share those top-line messages, we need to cut through the noise and engage with them. That means listening, sharing feedback, and supporting them with the tools and techniques to be their best.

For more information, see the slideshare below, you can make it open larger using the buttons.

The report found while the successful running of any organisation relies on effective line manager communication and are a high HR priority, designated line managers are ultimately being “set up to fail” through a lack of specific communications training.

Furthermore, the data showed a tension between HR professionals and internal communications managers when it comes to the perceived importance of line manager communication.

Additionally, with 1 in 5 respondents confirming that HR and internal comms teams fail to collaborate the research strongly suggests that improved collaboration between these key business functions would help enhance the communications approach for line managers.

Access the report via the CIPR website or download a copy: CIPR Inside Line Manager Comms Report.

Why not let us know in the comments below your thoughts and ways you’re helping line managers in your organisation?

You can also join the CIPR Inside Guild group (including non-CIPR members) where you can share your thoughts and ask questions in an online community full of internal communicators.

Dan

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First published on the All Things IC blog 21 September 2022.

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