When employees seek answers about HR topics such as pay and performance management, who do they turn to? Their managers, of course.

But managers often don’t feel knowledgeable enough to provide useful, just-in-time information. That’s why you need to prepare managers so they’re ready to communicate. Here’s how:

Your challenge is to keep managers in the loop, so they're ready to answer questions as they come up. Here are five ways to help managers succeed in this important communication role:

1. Brief managers before the rest of the organization
When you’re rolling out a new program, train managers first. They’ll have the inside scoop and feel knowledgeable enough to answer questions. Try an interactive, web-based meeting.

2. Provide FAQs
As mundane as Frequently Asked Questions are, managers find them very helpful. Don’t forget to include the tough questions and avoid corporate speak.

3. Develop a microsite 
It’s the perfect place to house resources and build skills. Make it social by including discussion threads, so colleagues can share challenges and solutions. Provide access to on-demand learning that can be accessed quickly when faced with a challenge.

4. Don't ask managers to hold a special meeting 
Managers are swamped with getting the job done; they don’t need more to do. Focus on helping them respond to queries as they’re raised and talking about key issues in regularly scheduled team meetings.

5. Create (a few) PowerPoint slides
Managers won’t give a detailed presentation, but they will use a short (5–8 slides) PPT to share highlights at staff meetings and during one-on-one discussions.

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