Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

How to help Line Managers be Better Communicators

Download our free How to Guide on the same topic here:

Line managers play a crucial role in articulating company communications and providing feedback to senior management. As the workplace changes radically – driven by a range of inter-linking factors such as technological advancements, talent shortages, remote working, and sky-high urban property prices – the role of the line manager in this context is going to become even more critical.

Yet, rightly or wrongly, they are consistently seen as being poor communicators.

This presentation includes some wonderful insight from several IC professionals and covers:

- Capability building
- Capacity building
- Cascade management
- Leadership support
- Process support
- Data to the rescue


We know that every organization faces different communication challenges. Call us now if you’d like to discuss yours with one of our IC experts.
Intl. +353 21 242 7277
UK 0800 904 7955
US 781 443 7600
or visit

  • Login to see the comments

  • Be the first to like this

How to help Line Managers be Better Communicators

  1. 1. How to Help Line Managers be Better Communicators A Poppulo Knowledge How-to Guide By Olga Klimanovich
  2. 2. So. Many. Challenges. These days, it’s increasingly hard for internal communicators to get their message across. A workforce shaped by remote workers, part-time staff, and freelancers Global teams with varied schedules A growing number of communication channels They face
  3. 3. Managers using freelance and contract workers And the shift to a remote, diversified workforce is increasing. That means it’s harder and harder for internal communicators to succeed. Full-time staff working remotely Workers seeking self-employment or freelance opportunities In the next decade, we’ll see:
  4. 4. But we have an important ally… LINE MANAGERS.
  5. 5. Line managers have an unmatched ability to communicate a compelling corporate story Their face-to-face meetings can be one of our most powerful channels
  6. 6. But do line managers have the support they need to succeed in this role? Share content that’s relevant to them and their team? Understand the messages they’re supposed to convey? Develop their communication skills? Do we help them:
  7. 7. … all too often, the answer is “no” Companies spend enormous budgets on strategic planning – but overlook the strategic importance of supporting line managers’ communication. Communication is often not considered part of a line manager’s core capability – so they don’t receive training in it.
  8. 8. In fact, “Poor line manager communication skills (56%) feature at the top of the barriers to internal communication success … in spite of this, equipping them with communication skills was a priority for only a third of respondents.” ꟷ State of the Sector survey, Volume 10, 2018
  9. 9. But we can help! Internal communicators can help supercharge line managers’ communications efforts
  10. 10. you can help line managers become better communicators. Here are eight ways 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
  11. 11. Don’t just throw content at line managers. Help explain why your message is important and why it’s relevant to their team. 1 Put your content in context
  12. 12. Most employees would rather communicate with their immediate manager than any other level of management. An information cascade caters to this preference by pushing key internal comms messages to line managers, who are asked to share it with their employees. Information cascade is an important communication tool. 1
  13. 13. We sometimes push out cascades Except… with little context with little thought to relevancy without addressing employees’ “WIIFM (what’s in it for me)” questions 1
  14. 14. Instead… Prioritize Relevance • Consider each group of employees you need to reach – and provide line managers with content relevant to them • Remember that local is always more interesting. If you work at the global level, start with local successes (or hitches) and show how they influence the wider picture 1
  15. 15. And never neglect local language needs • Sometimes content prepared in English ends up not being used • Spending extra on translation might appear costly but will help you connect with line managers and their teams 1
  16. 16. Provide clear guidelines on how and when to distribute content Along with any information cascade, share: • What the communication is trying to achieve • What points are important • How the information is relevant to their team • When it should be shared 1
  17. 17. Include FAQs Help line managers feel prepared by sharing questions they might expect to receive – and appropriate answers. 1
  18. 18. Quizzes and Rewards • One communicator gave quizzes to line managers to hand out to direct reports after a cascade meeting. • Each person could submit the quiz back to internal comms, for a chance to win an iPad. People loved it! • For many of the line managers, it was the first time they had held team meetings. After the promotion ended, many of them carried on with the meetings, having seen their effect on team morale. 1
  19. 19. Don’t assume that line managers are strong communicators. Work with training & development to build the communications skills you need. 2 Build capacity
  20. 20. 2 Explore different training options for line managers Identify basic courses in writing, giving feedback, or other communications skills Set up a job shadowing or mentoring program that pairs great communicators in your firm with line managers Encourage a senior executive who’s passionate about good communication to lead or sponsor a training program
  21. 21. Consider personal coaching for line managers, if budget allows 2
  22. 22. Set up coaching circles 2 • In each session of a coaching circle, a line manager brings up a communication issue they’re struggling with. • Participants ask questions to help them see the issue from different angles. • Most of the time, the manager finds a solution just by looking at their issue from different perspectives. • All participants get exposure to a tough communications issue and learn from it. • Everyone benefits from practicing the skills of active listening and asking good questions, which become invaluable in day-to-day communications.
  23. 23. An executive in a large international firm believed strongly in the power of active listening, and wanted to build this skill in his line managers. He held a 3-month series of webinars, with calls every two weeks and “homework” in between. The homework included discussing different active listening skills and reflecting on how managers practiced these skills in real life. Then, the group reconvened via webinar and the senior executive himself asked questions and listened. 2
  24. 24. Remind line managers that communication skill doesn’t just help IC. It will help them succeed in their careers – now and in the future. 3 Reinforce the value of good communication
  25. 25. Encourage line managers to communicate regularly with their teams • Emphasize that building time to communicate into their day-to-day routines will help them grow in the organization • Remind senior managers to recognize and reward consistent, quality communication skills in their line managers 3
  26. 26. Recommended reading This book explains the importance of leaders communicating with their teams. The higher they advance in the “pipeline,” the more critical that communication becomes. 3
  27. 27. Encourage a talent model that recognizes and rewards good communication 4 Build comms into the fabric of your org
  28. 28. Help infuse communication skills into your talent management process Find out whether communication skills are part of line managers’ core capabilities If not, engage with Talent & Development to introduce it Encourage HR to evaluate communications skills as part of the hiring process • Offer to develop an assessment exercise for applicants Encourage HR to add communications skills to 360-degree assessments 4
  29. 29. Recommend hiring and promoting for communications Encourage colleagues to create development plans for line managers that prioritize communications skills • Where appropriate, make communications skills a KPI and a standing agenda item in personal development discussions Encourage colleagues to reward and promote those who excel at communications Revisit promotion announcements to highlight the communication accomplishments that contributed to a manager’s promotion 4
  30. 30. Develop standard processes for information cascades Create standard methods for pushing out information cascades Encourage senior managers to support them Evaluate IC professionals on their ability to develop strong, relevant content – making it easier for line managers to execute the cascade 4
  31. 31. There’s a wealth of research that correlates line managers’ communication skills to employee engagement – and employee engagement levels to an organization’s productivity. Let’s get the word out. 5 Leverage data
  32. 32. Promote data that shows the value of line manager communication skills • Share it with senior stakeholders when you ask for budget, support and sponsorship, and participation in mentoring programs. 5
  33. 33. Develop your own data 5 Examine how their departments compare to the average on engagement, retention, promotion, and regrettable losses Identify line managers who are excellent communicators Use these comparisons in conversations with senior leaders and colleagues from Talent and Development to support your argument for introducing some of the initiatives suggested here
  34. 34. Are line managers complaining about being treated as “animated notice boards”? Take a moment to see things from their view. 6 Step into their shoes
  35. 35. How well are you really supporting your line managers? Have you … Explained what their job is in relation to communications? Chapter 7 of Internal Communications: A Manual for Practitioners elaborates on these questions 6 Helped them translate high-level messages into terms that matter to their teams? Helped them answer their employees’ WIIFM questions? Organized any communication- related training? Show them that you’re listening?
  36. 36. Line managers are a critical link in the communication chain within organizations. Equip them with the tools to effectively and efficiently communicate with your employees. 7 Enable your line managers to communicate effectively with Poppulo
  37. 37. Poppulo Email With best practice email templates designed specifically for your line managers, you can filter information to them in a concise and clear way so they quickly know what they need to understand, action – and especially what information they need to pass on the colleagues they manage. Poppulo Cascade with Enterprise Target your articles and emails to your line managers and the employees who work for them. Targeting allows you to send relevant information only to those who require it. Use Poppulo's Cascade functionality to help line managers communicate relevant information to their team. TO DO TO KNOW TO INFORM
  38. 38. Poppulo Events Poppulo's Event Module can be used to run communication skills training sessions with line managers to help improve their communications with employees. Poppulo Mobile Poppulo Mobile allows you to instantly reach all line managers and provide them with the relevant content and attachments for them to share with colleagues. Additionally, Poppulo Mobile can be used to reach your front line workers directly with the information that is relevant and important to them. Poppulo Insights Measure and track how line managers and/or employees are engaging/not engaging with content in different areas of your business. Then you can further target those employees to improve understanding, drive engagement and increase retention within the organization.
  39. 39. Line managers sometimes get a bad rap for their communications skills. But their voices represent our most powerful channels for reaching employees. 8 In conclusion
  40. 40. If we provide line managers the support and information they need to become great communicators, we’ll all be superheroes.
  41. 41. About the author Olga Klimanovich has 20+ years of corporate experience. She has served as Account Director, Heads of HR and Talent and Leadership Development, Change Manager IC and Engagement leader, Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications at companies such as: Soros Foundation, US Information Agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, XL Catlin, British American Tobacco PLC, Eurasia Natural Resources Corporation PLC and Balkan Energy Company.
  42. 42. Want to learn more? Download the Poppulo Guide How to Help Line Managers be Better Communicators