The Water Cooler

A blog of fresh ideas and findings from organizational leaders and researchers on how they’re making work better, shared regularly.

Tool: Learn how the IRS helps managers effectively communicate

Filed under: Managers
Tool: Learn how the IRS helps managers effectively communicate
The IRS employs 84,000 people — from mailroom clerks to tax law experts — and the Service works to make sure that managers and employees are able to communicate effectively using inclusive behaviors.

To help its executives and managers demonstrate the organization’s values, the IRS created a “how to guide” full of actionable information and focused on inclusive behaviors to empower employees. Research shows that, by focusing on and framing management around behaviors as opposed to technical skills, we are more open to change and improvement. After seeing a steady decline in employees’ satisfaction scores on their relationships with direct supervisors and senior leaders, the IRS used the data they had from their annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey to give leaders a more structured way to engage with employees.

Since rolling out the conversation guide for managers, the IRS reversed the downward trend and experienced a two percent increase in employees’ satisfaction with their manager relationships and a similar increase for senior leader relationships. Other agencies also took notice of the guide’s effectiveness — it’s been shared with six other agencies during a cross-agency brainstorming session, who in turn shared it with their managers.

Take a look at the IRS’s tips for Engaging & Effective Communications and see if you could use these in your daily interactions to help you listen to and empower employees.