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How puts managers at the center of internal communications

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This guest post is by Miri Zena McDonald, a strategic communications consultant. Miri tweets at @miri_orgchange. This post is a recap of a session at the Marcus Evans 6th Annual Employee Engagement and Internal Communications Conference last month in Orlando.

Effective communication is a key retention tool, says Jeremy Henderson, director of internal communications at The manager’s role is pivotal, and employers must  provide supervisors with appropriate tools to do the job.

Henderson put that concept into action at at using a program called the Manager Success Communications Program. Its key elements:

  • Manager’s Edge: Provides short bits of information (talking points) so managers can easily communicate the right things, at the right time, to the right employees. This is updated every other week.
  • Manager’s Brief: A brief description of a program at the company, including a short executive summary, any actions that need to be taken, and relevant start and end dates.
  • Quarterly Manager’s Call: A call summarizing key items. This has become the CFO’s communication platform. For those not able to make the call, there is also a manager’s call recap.
  • Private Manager’s “Chatter” group: A private online social media group for managers. Chatter is’s proprietary internal social media tool. also created an Employee Success Communications program to send direct messages to employees. This is primarily an email-driven program complemented by’s social media tools. “Using internal social media breaks down silos, encourages collaboration, and connects people in a meaningful way,” Henderson said.

The company uses a program called Ideas to  solicit suggestions from employees and allow other employees to evaluate them and make comments. For example, Henderson used the tool to engage employees in the company’s 10th anniversary. They decided to give 10 grants of $10,000 to nonprofits around the world. They posted the applications they received and had employees promote the applications they felt would make the most impact on the world. The 10 that made it to the top won the grants. “This type of engagement gives employees a stake in running the business and fuels the culture,” Henderson said.