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Jan 21, 2020

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14 Manager Communication Best Practices You Shouldn’t Ignore

Manager communication is a topic that needs much more attention than it currently gets. The way managers communicate with employees has a significant...

Manager communication is a topic that needs much more attention than it currently gets. The way managers communicate with employees has a significant impact on how employees feel about their job, teammates, leaders and the company they work for. 

This is why we are sharing with you 14 best practices about how managers can improve communication with their employees. 

📚If you are looking for more advice on how to improve workplace communication, get our eBook "Building a Better Company with Internal Communications"

Manager Communication Defined

Manager communication is the communication between managers and their employees. In today’s world where employees expect open, transparent, timely and relevant information flow in the workplace, managers need to be ready to take their employee communication strategies to a whole new level. 

Effective communication skills are the most in-demand skills a manager can have. Inefficient manager communication leads to employee disengagement and low productivity

Yet, 34% of employees are currently dissatisfied or extremely dissatisfied with communications they’re experiencing in their workplace.

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Let's take a look into how to this can be fixed. 

14 Ways to Improve Manager Communication

If you are a manager, you probably already know that the biggest portion of today’s workforce is made by millennials and gen Z employees

However, have you adopted your internal communication strategy to these younger generations?

Consider this stat...

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So, let’s take a look into how managers can eliminate this challenge.

1. Communicate frequently and be specific

Frequent, clear and specific manager communication is what sets up employees for success. Therefore, managers should avoid irregular and vague communication with their employees. Managers who are able to communicate with clarity and conciseness are much better in avoiding confusion or misinformation in the workplace creating a healthier work environment.

Moreover, 71% of employees believe that their leaders do not spend enough time communicating goals and plans.

2. Make communication as transparent as possible

Employees want transparency and they want to be involved. Managers are the ones responsible to drive employee engagement through transparent and honest communication

Trust is the foundation for successful business. To build trust within workplaces, leaders should communicate in a way that is truthful, open, honest and transparent.

However, this is not easy as many employees don’t trust their employers. 

A research with 33,000 individuals in 28 countries showed that almost 1 in 3 employees don’t trust their employers, and efficient manager communication is crucial for fixing this challenge. 

3. Be approachable, personal and authentic

A good manager is easy to engage, approach and communicate with. The most effective manager communications are those that connect with and build strong relationships with the audience.

The more personal, authentic and engaging conversation with your employees is, the more your employees will trust you and they will be more likely to join the conversation.  

As Priya Bates, the President of Inner Strengths Communications say: “Internal Comms is like a marriage”!

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4. Communicate in real-time

Younger generations are used to communicating in real-time. Strong manager communication strategy is the one in which managers are aware of this new trend and understand employees’ need to communicate with ease and in a timely manner. 

Luckily, with modern employee communication solutions like Smarp, managers can reach their employees across mobile, desktop, email, intranet and other communication channels with the click of a button. Instant, targeted notifications enable managers to always make sure that all employees are up to date with important company happenings. 

5. Make sure you reach everyone

Making sure that important information reaches the right employees at the right time is the crucial part of every manager communication strategy. 

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As 74% of employees have a feeling that they’re missing out on important information, this is not easy to achieve especially when managers are not aware of low usage rates of communication channels such as emails and outdated intranets. 

Content distribution through Smarp is as easy as it gets, and it makes sure that employees don’t feel uninformed or left out. 

6. Build relationships with your teams

Building strong manager-employee relationships through effective workplace communication drives more employee motivation, engagement and retention. 

Remember, employees mostly leave their companies because of poor relationships with their managers. 

Moreover, only 12% of employees who have quit their jobs did so to negotiate higher salaries somewhere else while 75% quit their job because of the bad relationship with their direct supervisor. 

7. Forget about one-way and top-down communication

Managers need to do a better job in supporting two-way conversations and making employees feel like they can speak up and engage in daily conversations. 

Roughly half of employees aren’t regularly speaking their minds at work. The importance of bottom-up feedback is significant here. 

Even though HR and IC professionals have a job to build the internal communications strategy to strengthen employee experience at the company level, managers also play an important role in internal communications.

At the end of the day, managers are the ones with whom employees have conversations on a daily basis, and they should continuously encourage employees to engage in two-way conversations

Similarly, even though top-down communication is necessary, it is not the type of communication that encourages employee engagement. Sending out internal newsletter without enabling employees to join the conversation, brings little value to the company.  

Did you know that the average employee receives 121 emails and 62% of these emails are not important. Therefore, it is not surprising that many of your internal newsletters may also get buried in your employees’ inboxes. 

8. Make communication more relevant and engaging

One of the biggest reasons for low employee productivity is the fact that employees have to deal with information overload. A lot of information they receive is not relevant to them or don’t require their immediate attention. 

Luckily, many managers, internal communication and HR professionals are now becoming aware of the information overload in the workplace, and they have started to implement communication apps that allow them to personalize and tailor content based on employees roles, needs, preferences and urgency

Solutions like Smarp help managers to easily filter, organize and distribute content and make manager communication much more effective

9. Always have your non-wired employees in mind

Non-wired workers make up a big portion of the world's workforce. Making non-wired employees feel like they are a part of a team can be a daunting task, but also comes with high rewards. Engaging non-wired employees starts with a proper manager communication strategy.

Innovative employee communication solutions should, therefore, have a functionality to reach workers whether they work at a desk, from their homes or on the shop floor. With Smarp, managers can reach workers on their mobile phones or through channels such as Digital Signage with a click of a button.

10. Measure your communication efforts

Even though it can be tricky for managers to measure their communication efforts, there are still some things you can track and measure to get a better understanding of how efficient their communication strategy is.

For example, tracking engagement around content distributed to the employees is a good way to get started. If the engagement is low, that probably means that the content is not interesting or relevant to your team members. 

Having a good understanding on what drives employee engagement in daily conversations is important to improve workplace conversations

However, 41% of internal communication practitioners have no way of tracking user activity or making sure that content uploaded to their internal communication platforms is read by employees.

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11. Switch to mobile-first communication

When choosing a communication tool and channel to improve manager communication, have your employees’ preferences in mind. Millennials are used to accessing everything on their phones, and they expect the same from communication at work. 

Managers need to be aware of the benefits of implementing mobile-first employee communication solutions and have a better understanding on how these tools are transforming organizational culture and employee behavior. 

12. Appoint a single, most important communication channel

A fragmented communications ecosystem within organizations can cause a higher level of employee disengagement as important information easily gets buried. 

Today’s workforce expects information to be easily accessible and found. They expect important information to find them!

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However, as many organizations today use numerous communication tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Jive, Sharepoint, Workplace by Facebook, Intranets and Social Media platforms, the complexity of internal communication has increased dramatically.  

Smarp helps you consolidate your comms stack by bringing all these sources under one roof and giving employees a single source of information to stay informed.

13. Create and distribute messages with ease

In order for managers to communicate efficiently with employees in the offices, remote or non-wired employees, they need to have the ability to create, segment, target and distribute relevant information seamlessly. 

Unfortunately, many managers, especially in large organizations, don’t have this ability. This results in information overload, low engagement and content consumption rates. 

Imagine the world in which, with just a few clicks, you can make sure that the right message gets delivered to everyone who needs it and that employees actually consume that content. 

With Smarp, this is not a mission impossible anymore! 

14. Encourage employee-generated content

Do your employees have an easy and fun way to create, distribute and share content with their colleagues?

Do they have an easy way to engage with others’ content?

These are the things that build healthy workplace cultures and form strong relationships. Managers should, therefore, enable their teams to better collaborate with each other, share knowledge and build stronger connections by allowing them to generate and share their own content. 

4 Main Reasons to Improve Manager Communication

Manager communication has a very big impact on how employees feel about their jobs and about their company. Consequently, effective manager communication improves:

1. Employee trust

A study found that, compared with employees working at low-trust companies, employees working at companies that cultivate trust:  

  • Feel 74% less stressed
  • Are 106% more energetic at work
  • Are 50% more productive
  • Are 13% less willing to call in sick to work
  • Feel 76% more engaged 
  • Report a 29% higher satisfaction with their lives overall
  • Are 40% less likely to cope with burnout

Lack of trust, therefore, is a big problem that has a negative impact on business success, and improved manager communication is the best way to build trust in the workplace. 

2. Employee motivation

When employees feel like they are the part of daily company conversations and updates, they are more likely to be motivated to perform better at work and achieve their goals. 

The feeling of being left out from important company happenings is one of the main reason for low motivation and engagement levels in the workplace. 

With proper communication, managers can significantly improve their employees’ motivation which results in higher levels of engagement and productivity.

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3. Employee engagement

Good manager communication is a great way to boost your employee engagement.

When employees are informed about important company updates and aligned with the company’s vision and goals, they are more likely to feel engaged and stay longer with the company. Therefore, manager communication has a direct impact on employee engagement.

4. Employee retention

Managers who focus on improving communication with and among their teams are much more likely to have lower employee turnover rates

Informed employees who have good relationships with their managers are more satisfied with their jobs and are much less likely to seek other career opportunities. 

Therefore, it is a manager’s job to keep employees in the loop and make sure that they have instant access to all important company information

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How Managers can Improve Communication with Smarp

Smarp is a mobile-first employee communications platform designed to help managers improve communication and better connect with their employees, no matter where they are located. 

As employees spend too much time searching for relevant information, managers need to make this process more streamlined and effective

With internal communications technology like Smarp, managers and organizations can now deliver personalized content to their employees, communicate in a more authentic way and help employees stay connected at all times. 

With Smarp, managers can connect various internal communication channels into a single platform and therefore prevent extensive information search, frustrations among employees and loss in employee productivity. 

Schedule a Smarp demo to see how our solution is helping organizations across the world to boost their internal communications efficiency. 

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Written by

Kristina Martic

Kristina Martic

Digital Marketing and Employer Branding

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