Employees Listen to Managers. Help Them Communicate Your Message.

A study by Redefining Communications found that 30% of employees say they don’t have enough information about their company or department. And only 3% said they had too much.

If employees are hungry for company information, why do HR departments struggle to get their attention? Why do important messages go unnoticed?

It’s an issue with delivery. The same study shows a lot depends on who’s delivering the message and how well they deliver it.

The past several years have shown us this: More than any other source, employees look to managers and colleagues for trusted, accurate information about the company and their jobs. But information does not equal communication, so arming managers with flyers and emails won’t help you.

Information Does Not Equal Communication

Few people would dispute the importance of managers in the communications stream. If you have a large segment of employees on the factory floor, they listen to their line managers and floor supervisors. Or, if your company supports a tele-workforce, those employees look to their department heads.

OK, so good…managers are the best channel. You can easily send them the information you need to communicate. But how well do they communicate?

In their 2024 State of the Sector, Gallagher statistics show that 84% of respondents rely on people managers for communication. Yet three in five respondents say managers are falling below expectations.

That same report revealed that 56% said managers weren’t evaluated on communication skills. So, there’s no expectation to effectively communicate with direct reports. And very little training.

Yet managers are the people that talk most to hard-to-reach employees.

Training Doesn’t Have to Be a Budget Buster

Communications training runs the gamut in complexity and cost. Your managers don’t need a doctoral degree in how to talk with their employees. But most of them have had zero education in effective communication skills. If you send them a packet of employee information or key messages, chances are they’ll merely pass it along and offer to answer questions.

Whether you choose to impart an hour’s worth of knowledge or a day’s worth, it will be time and money well spent.

If you remember one thing, remember this: Put your content in context. Take time with managers to explain why the communication they’ll be conveying is important to their employees. Why should they care?

Here’s why: because an employee with a supportive manager is 300% more likely to stay with the company.