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Tools, glorious tools!

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Tools, glorious tools!

We want our employees to feel that their work contributes to our organisation’s success.

And it’s our line managers who are best placed to bring this context to life. So what can communicators do to help feed and fuel them? Let’s give them great tools, not bland gruel!Victorian style sepia effect illustration of a hand and a fork outstretched with the words 'Employees appreciate interactivity with their line managers and the opportunity to discuss issues.'

One third of line managers don’t feel equipped to lead conversations

This statistic,[i] shared in a recent report from the IoIC, goes on to highlight the need to build explicit calls to action into manager briefings and invest in high-quality resources that managers can use to prepare their communications.


Addressing an appetite for compelling communication 

Dr Kevin Ruck’s AVID framework[ii] and related research complements this. It reveals that employees appreciate interactivity with their line managers and the opportunity to discuss issues that give corporate communication a local context – employees expect to have meaningful conversations with line managers who are honest, respectful, supportive and empathetic. 


Delighting a deprived demographic

This paints a clear picture of some rather impoverished line managers in need of sustenance and employees who are hungry for connection. And it explains why, at Alive, we’re permanently supporting our clients with this very priority! 


Supporting a sensational snack supplierVictorian style sepia effect illustration of a hand and a spoon outstretched with the words 'Employees expect to have meaningful conversations with line managers who are honest, respectful, supportive and empathetic.'

KP Snacks were experiencing significant change, introducing improvements and addressing environmental and societal challenges. They were launching a new wellbeing programme to support colleagues with their physical, mental and financial health. They’d also set an objective that by 2030, the diversity of their colleagues would represent the diversity of their local communities at every level. The KP comms team were as keen as mustard to get their line managers and V&B Champions on board. They needed them to translate these priorities into local agendas and help people understand what it all means to them. But they recognised this could only happen if they could serve them the suitable resources to do so.


Top tools with a tasty twist

They asked team Alive to explore some ideas they’d been cooking up to create resources that would help their managers and champions have conversations with colleagues about important wellbeing and D&I topics related to their organisational goals. They were aware these key audience groups needed support with discussion points, team activities and learning opportunities and they wanted to package all this up in a tempting way. 


Guides, glorious guides!Victorian style sepia effect illustration of a hand and a knife outstretched with the words 'Without giving line managers the confidence, tools and skills required we’re setting them unachievable objectives.'

We held a deep dive session with the comms team to understand exactly what they wanted to achieve from these resources and how we could package and deliver some simple content, for busy people leaders, in the most inspiring way without over-egging the pudding. We settled on the idea of creating two toolkits each month, packed with information and interactive ideas that would get their teams talking. 

Our priorities were to: 

  • Create content that’s simple, digestible and easy to use 
  • Make the toolkits interactive, editable and adaptable 
  • Complement existing tools, resources and strategies 
  • Promote KP’s benefits and values 
  • Connect with the organisation’s EVP, The KP Deal
  • Keep in line with existing corporate messaging and brand guidelines

We created a template for D&I and one for wellbeing. Based on the pre-defined topic of the month, we now source engaging content and activities, suggest key action points and encourage people to create their own calendars of briefings and other team activities.


Pleased as punch

So far, these tasty toolkits have been a success and we’ve heard that the resources, particularly the ideas, are invaluable in helping people bring these topics to life.

We’ve already been suggesting ways we can keep this content fresh and those using the toolkits are frequently asked for their ideas, input and feedback too. 

Without giving line managers the confidence, tools and skills required to have such conversations we’re setting them unachievable objectives. So let’s keep listening, learning and delivering comms with crunch!


By Caroline Roodhouse for Alive 


[i] The IC Index Report 2023 published by the Institute of Internal Communication and Ipsos Karian and Box
[ii] Internal communication tutor, researcher and author, Dr Kevin Ruck: AVID (Alignment, Voice, Identification, Dialogue) framework for good and ethical internal communication practice

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