Six steps to help get line manager communication right

Six steps to help get line manager communication right

November 18, 2013

Getting line management communication right is one of the most common challenges that IC professionals face. It’s not easy to ensure the right messages are cascaded across teams in a consistent, timely and interactive way.

Headlines’ experts have suggested six steps to implementing an effective cascade system:

1. Get buy-in from the top and ensure the business is supportive and enthusiastic about line managers
Understanding leader expectations and the types of messages that need communicating are essential before implementing anything. Investing a small amount of time with leaders at the very beginning will set strong foundations and a clear focus of the cascade purpose.

2. Know your market
A quick pulse survey will help to determine the number and type of line managers, what team meetings currently take place and how effective they are.

3. Provide the right training and tools for managers

This can be approached in a number of ways:

* Communication training – this could be a structured training course or a mentoring programme and will help managers to create motivating, fun and energetic sessions and meetings and give them confidence to cascade messages to their teams.
* Management communication portal – often linked to an intranet site, the portal provides managers with all the necessary information and tools to communicate to their teams. It could include a corporate team brief and a local team brief template, allowing managers to customise the information for their teams.
The portal can also include suggestions and top tips on how to communicate with teams, a forum for managers to share best practice and a section to flag up key dates or important information that must be cascaded.
* Management toolkit – this can come in many forms, including an online PDF, presentation or booklet, and is a great way to provide consistent communication across teams and ensure key messages are being cascaded.

4. Decide and communicate the structure of the cascade system
Some organisations work well with a robust, consistent system, while others prefer a less formal approach – just communicating when needed.
Whatever the approach, it is important to outline the specific purpose of the cascade – frequency, audience, process of communication and sign off, types of messages, expectations and measurement. It is also important to ensure the cascade is two-way – allowing team members to share ideas and discuss concerns with the wider team.

5. Run a pilot
Sampling the cascade with a number of teams from across the organisation will allow tweaks to be made before the launch and also understand what the realistic KPIs are for measurement.

6. Measure your results
This is important to understand how effective the cascade is. Feedback should be gathered through surveys and anecdotal feedback – from managers and teams members. Continually improving the cascade system will help with the longevity of the channel and ensure it is valued across the organisation.