The past nine weeks of lockdown have seen huge demands placed on line managers by their leaders and teams. Line managers must now lead their teams through a smooth transition back to the office as lockdown is eased, while maintaining employee engagement and their own wellbeing.
So line managers are hugely influential when it comes to employee engagement. The Institute of Internal Communications (IOIC) says they are responsible for up to 80% of the variance in employee engagement and are the most effective way for companies to listen to employees’ views and concerns.
Line managers are on the front line of communicating with employees and are now accountable for dealing with many issues which were once the preserve of the HR department.
But they may have limited capability or interest in employee engagement.
This puts internal communication managers in a strong position to coach, counsel and collaborate with managers on their communications with employees.
Here are four ways that internal communications managers can help line managers reengage with employees, post lockdown.
Regroup with the team
Take a chance to get back together either virtually or socially distanced to reflect on what people have been through. Ask how everyone is doing. Share a personal experience and encourage others to do the same. Managers should thank their team publicly and recognise what has been done well under challenging conditions.
Refocus on priorities
Think about the current state of your organisation and how you can refocus on priorities. Restate your company purpose, mission and values. Reflect on whether the past eight weeks has changed them and if so, how. A separate session on values or a values moment in meetings works well.
Reinforce your messages
Employees need simple, concise, timely, clear and transparent communications from leaders. Managers must explain what is happening right now, why it’s happening and how it impacts them. This is a change to remind yourselves of the top three business priorities for 2020 and team priorities for the next week, month or quarter.
Respond to your people
Think about next steps and in the weeks to come. What opportunities are there to provide employees with a safe space to provide feedback? Plan how managers keep tabs on employee mood and concerns via surveys, focus groups or listening sessions. Managers should also signpost the support and guidance such as HR, Learning and Development, Health and Wellbeing advice via email or regular updates on the company
Zoom quizzes and cupcakes are a great way to lift employees’ spirits as a one-off. But a clear internal communications plan for managers will ensure your employee engagement will last through this crisis and over the long term.
106 Communications is an award-winning communications consultancy on a mission to making work better. We create communications to engage and inspire through our three expert-led practises in Internal Communications, Change Communications and Branding & Marketing. Get in touch with Henry today Henry@106comms.com