5 training tactics to help managers with internal comms

All too often, mid-level supervisors become a bottleneck of vital information, rather than a key conduit. These tools will equip them to convey messages and boost employee engagement.

Managers’ messaging is a crucial piece of an effective internal communications plan. In fact, managers should be considered your most valuable communications channel.

Many, though, think of manager communications as a gray area. Who really owns it? Human Resources? Leaders?

Internal communications should want to own it, because it’s such a powerful channel for moving the needle of employee engagement.

Here are five essential manager training tools to consider:

1. Communications training. Begin with a level-setting, communications 101 training. This will ensure that all your managers understand what the organization considers its standard for communication. Build from there with more advanced course offerings.

2. Toolkits and talking points. Create one-pagers for all big initiatives or organizational changes. Include likely questions and answers for managers to reference before employee meetings. Remind managers that it’s OK to say, “I don’t know that answer right now, but I will get back to you.” Convey the importance of following up.

3. One-on-one guides. Outline employee one-on-one meeting expectations such as frequency, topics that should be covered, questions you should be asking employees, how to provide constructive feedback and more. Spell it all out so everyone knows what good people management looks like.

4. Email newsletter. Send out a weekly email to managers to stay top of mind. These emails can include training reminders, new materials or a message from top executives. Include engagement pieces like “manager of the week” or “manager making a difference” spotlights to help connect them and show by example.

5. Manager portal. This doesn’t have to be expensive. It could be a single interactive landing page on your intranet. It should include toolkits, talking points, communication training registration and materials, newsletter PDFs and more. The email newsletter should always link back to this portal.

Rebecca Shaffer is managing partner of Ragan Consulting Group. She specializes in internal communications consulting. 

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