You likely don’t need many employee focus groups or surveys to know this: your organization’s managers are your most important and influential communications channel.
Who has the most impact on your career? Whose email do you open first at work? Who in your daily work life invites you to the most meetings? In most of these cases, it’s likely your manager.
Yet, organizations often overlook the manager as a vital and effective communication channel.
It’s no wonder: much has been written about managers being the “frozen middle,” part of a layer that resists change and avoids telling upper management what’s happening at the front line. Moreover, as budgets and teams shrink, communicators rely more on tools, from their intranet to targeted content via CommTech tools, that go around the manager and share messages directly with employees.
Consider a dedicated manager activation program
Managers want to be treated as part of the management team to which they belong. No manager wants to receive big announcements at the same time that their employees do. This leaves them unprepared to champion the message—or even to answer questions.
Change the dynamic.
Integral has worked with clients to elevate the effectiveness of their employee communications strategy and plans by supplementing their work with a strong manager communications program. Integral’s programs are tailored to supplement employee communications work you may already be doing. Our approach adds specific tactics that unlock managers to become champions of change and focused on the overall employee experience.
Transforming leader communications from transactions to engagements
Forcepoint’s CCO and CMO recognized that Forcepoint executives did not have deep employee communications expertise and there remained a lack of clarity about how to execute in partnership. Forcepoint’s Marketing, Communications, and HR teams jointly called upon Integral to pull together an interim employee communications plan to provide bespoke communications enablement for Forcepoint’s executives that injected employee engagement at every opportunity.
Integral developed an actionable employee communications plan that a to-be-hired internal communications team could execute. We created a training program and led 30+ Executive Leadership Team members through programs on injecting employee engagement practices into their communications moments, leading to improved employee activation.
Integral created an extensive toolkit to give prescriptive steps any people manager can take to be more mindful of creating dialog and engagement following the formula of Know, Believe, and Do. This led to a significant increase in leaders’ creating impactful communications moments.
An active and empathic listening approach driving true change
After a massive restructuring of the IBM Marketing Experience Engine, leadership pushed for optimism and innovation, but the team felt exhausted with significant loose ends untied, questions unanswered, and unease about team culture and their future.
The IBM-Integral Team invited every manager to a psychologically-safe peer focus group where Integral listened for overt and implied pain points and probed for truths. Acting as an executive coach and ally to managers, Integral was able to bridge the communication gap to compromise on needs within organizational realities. We intended to drive a culture of transformation led by empowered entrepreneurs with a more globally focused strategy to inspire more strategic leadership communication.
The team’s leadership shifted its approach to be more empathetic and provide transparent communication, illuminating an inspiring path forward for the team. Clarity of purpose and priorities enabled efficiency and effectiveness to prevail over frustration, excuses and confusion paralysis. The effort led to managers recommitting to the Experience Engine mission and reaffirming the shared vision with standardized and enforced ‘best practices’ and ‘better ways of working’ framework.
We’re here to help you consider a dedicated manager activation audit or program.