Line managers "set up to fail" through lack of communications preparedness

  • New study finds 73% of respondents reporting that communication is valued as a leadership skill, but just 15% said training was mandatory for line managers
  • 72% of senior leaders say face-to-face briefings rank as the most effective way of engaging with managers yet they tend only to take place monthly
  • 56% of internal communications (IC) professionals don’t have access to data that could inform their communications approach

A new report from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations' (CIPR) Inside Group finds that while the successful running of any organisation relies on effective line manager communication and are a high HR priority,  designated line managers are ultimately being "set up to fail" through a lack of specific communications training.

The report - 'Effective line manager communications' - surveyed line managers, HR professionals, and internal communicators, showed a clear mismatch between the expectations of line managers and the support provided. Although line managers are expected to deliver important messages, engage with their teams, and unite employees behind organisational change, the support they receive to do this is "often inadequate" with only 15% of respondents saying communication training for managers was mandatory in their organisations and 51% that training was voluntary.

Furthermore, the data showed a tension between HR professionals and internal communications managers when it comes to the perceived importance of line manager communication. Additionally, with 1 in 5 respondents confirming that HR and internal comms teams fail to collaborate the research strongly suggests that improved collaboration between these key business functions would help enhance the communications approach for line managers.

Dan Holden Chart.PR, FCIPR, CIPR Inside Chair

Time and time again, effective line manager communication has proven to be a tough nut to crack. Business leaders know it’s important in internal communication to get this right but frequently it isn’t given the requisite time, priority or budget needed to fully succeed.

This report shows there is still a skills gap when it comes to supporting line managers to deliver effective communication. Too often when having conversations with managers, they’ve never been given the tools or skills needed to support their teams’. Businesses invest in their channels such as intranets and social enterprise platforms but aren’t making the same investment in their line managers.

Dan Holden Chart.PR, FCIPR, CIPR Inside Chair

The CIPR Inside Group are hosting a live online event to discuss the report on Tuesday 18 October, 12.30-1.15.

Find out more about the CIPR Inside Group.

Download the report.


About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). 

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the world's only Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas with nearly 10,000 members.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).