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Elevating Enterprise Communications via People Managers


Illustration of people working

Amidst the profound shifts in ways of working and employee priorities unfolding across the modern enterprise, one constant prevails in ensuring an engaged, productive workforce: the power of the frontline leader. The latest data from Gallagher’s 2023/2024 State of the Sector internal communication survey suggests, however, that while people managers remain critical conduits for organizational messaging, their communication skills have ample room for improvement. The survey analysis uncovered a +18% year-over-year rise in concerns around manager capabilities limiting communicator impact. So how are innovative heads of communication activating managers to maximize reach and resonance? The survey findings revealed three best practices making the difference:

Coach for Connection

While manager messages hold more relevance than higher-level leaders for employees’ day-to-day roles, relatability remains a recurrent pain point. Progressive communicators are providing tools and training to help managers tailor communications across unique team needs, preferences, and pain points. From surveying direct reports to improve self-awareness, to utilizing Message House Templates to craft succinct, consistent talking points on strategy changes, communicators are equipping managers to foster authenticity through customization. This approach delivered a +33% boost in message comprehension per the survey analysis.

Spotlight Skills in Reviews

Lack of time persistently tops the list of barriers for managers dedicating focus to communication obligations. To counter bandwidth constraints and reinforce priorities, leading organizations in the study are directly incorporating messaging quality and consistency into manager performance scoring criteria and conversations.

Blueprinting communication plans using tools like CommsPlan's Message House Templates signals strategic importance while identifying developmental areas through concrete evaluation mechanisms. Survey participants reported this drove enhanced effort, quality, and leadership visibility – creating a cascade effect on engagement.

Cast Managers as Culture Champions

While messages and modalities matter, at the core, what employees value most is feeling genuinely seen, heard, and cared for. Progressive communicators per the State of the Sector insights are expanding the manager remit beyond information conduit to that of culture champion, central for upholding organizational values and bridging divides that detach corporate priorities from individual’s realities. This empowers managers to safeguard the employee experience with grassroots support resources and feedback loops to executive teams. Solutions such Internal Communications Plan Templates further equip managers to consistently contextualize enterprise-wide messaging within their team’s day-to-day needs.

The verdict is clear – people managers remain essential links driving comprehension, conviction, and culture. By taking proactive steps to amplify their aptitude and authority with targeted communication tools and training, communicators can unlock manager potential to deliver ROI across the entire strategic chain. The data signals it’s time for an upgrade when it comes to this hidden driver, especially considering manager team meetings ranked as the highest usage collaboration channel at 81%.

Are you leveraging your frontline leaders to maximum effect?

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