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Learning to Lead: Communication Tactics to Support the Next Stage of the Employee Journey

Krupa Patel November 16,2020

If you’ve been following our series on the employee journey, you know we recently covered career growth. It’s an early yet important stage, as employees need to feel nurtured not just in their current role, but in their potential for the future as well.

While many employees grow professionally as individual contributors, others grow into people managers. They become leaders and cultivate teams of their own—and managers who lead by example are fantastic resources to guide this group. After all, who better to prep an employee for people management than a people manager themselves?

Data-driven communications can help managers (and HR teams) support employees in this specific kind of career growth. In addition to acquiring and developing skills in their subject-matter expertise, employees deserve the opportunity to learn how to lead. The latter is a completely different skill set that deserves focused attention. For example, the artistic talents and technical skills that make someone a great graphic designer aren’t necessarily the same qualities that make them a great manager/mentor for junior designers.

Is your company sending the right messages to support employees in developing those managerial qualities? If not, here’s where to start:

Highlight opportunities to build this skill set

Similar to the nudges for LMS courses in the career growth stage, relevant messaging around programs for people-management training (if offered at the company) can be targeted at employees who have shown interest in the topic. Perhaps the interest was recorded at a performance review and a timely plan was suggested by the employee’s manager. Ongoing follow-up from performance reviews with specific resources to help the employee achieve those goals are crucial.

Even if the company doesn’t have a formal program dedicated to people management, data-driven messaging could still guide employees to mentorship programs, employee affinity groups (i.e., peers on a similar professional development track), or LMS courses that specifically focus on learning to lead. Across all this messaging, it’s important to differentiate between general career growth and training to manage teams. A platform that ingests the right data can recognize these different points of interest and segment unique messaging accordingly.

Show, don’t tell

In addition to encouraging employees to use relevant resources and programs, data-driven messaging can help managers demonstrate the effectiveness of good people management. Especially when many employees report not feeling fully appreciated by their supervisors, managers should make efforts to demonstrate that they understand their employees as people—not just workers. This highlights the need for more empathetic communication that goes beyond day-to-day tasks and more into personal connection.

For instance, a rapid, relevant communications platform that ingests the aforementioned, robust data can automate notifications to managers on key dates in their employees’ lives, like birthdays, kids’ birthdays, work anniversaries, and so on. This use of data-driven communications empowers managers to display the finer angles of people management, and it contributes to a healthier, overall team dynamic. If timely messaging can make impacts like this, a manager’s ability to lead by example becomes that much more organic—and direct reports get even more guidance on how to lead effectively.

And the journey continues

Whether or not an employee decides they want to learn to lead, their experience with the company will continue to benefit from timely, relevant messaging. People management isn’t for everyone, but as each employee grows in their career, there will be more opportunities to engage them on a personal level. For instance, health and finances are just a couple of priorities employees should feel supported with when it comes to employer communication around benefits—and those are the next stages of the employee journey we’ll cover in following blogs (stay tuned!). The data-driven capabilities of a timely, personalized communications platform reach each member of the workforce with the right information, meeting them where they are.