26 Communicating With Management

Arley’s comments: You’ve done some good research here and used headings and bullet points to organize your message. You’ve given some useful ways to communicate in general. My biggest pieces of feedback are:

  • When paraphrasing, restate the main idea, rather than changing a few words around. By restating the main idea, you not only avoid plagiarism but also can use our brand voice.
  • The goal of this section is to talk about how to communicate with management specifically. This section therefore needs to narrow in focus a little bit. In this section, the audience should learn how to communicate HR decisions/issues etc to management in a way that works for both sides. 

Judy’s comments:

Overall there is some good information here based on HR best practice research however the information strays off topic as it focuses more on top-down communication vs. communicating with management – then at times waivers back to the main topic. This confuses the reader and therefore makes it difficult to develop a strong understanding of the topic. The information should focus on: what is being communicated, how it is or should be communicated, by whom, and HR’s role in this.


Learning Objectives

The key learning objectives of communicating with management are as follows

  • what is upward communication?
  • Advantages and disadvantages of upward communication
  • Tips for smart communication with senior management
  • How HR communicates with senior management
  • HR as conflict resolution



 Employee Engagement can be done by establishing high-quality communication with the upper management. Different activities in an organization help employees engage in developing superior communication skills. Furthermore, linking communication with the firm’s vision, mission, goals, and strategies establish better relations. Linking corporate strategies to business strategies will help in effective and efficient communication. (SHRM, n.d.)

Effective communication is necessary for an organization to excel in a competitive environment. Four communication types: upward, downward, horizontal, and diagonal, are used in different scenarios for different purposes in an organization. This section communicating with management focuses on upward communication, which is defined as below. (Naresh, 2017)


Source: (9.1 Communication Strategies – Human Resource Management, 2016)

Upward Communication

Upward communication is the type of communication where employees communicate directly with management to provide suggestions, complaints, feedback like surveys regarding their daily operations. (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021).  One example is using online survey tools like SurveyMonkey to know the employee satisfaction in an organization. Usually, the Human resources department designs such surveys to get feedback on employee satisfaction and improve based on the survey results. (Naresh, 2017) This type of communication helps encourage participative work culture, and management can make decisions that positively impact employees. (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021).

Advantages of Upward communication

Increases Mutual Trust

This type of communication fosters mutual trust as employees feel their voices and opinions are considered and taken positively. At the same time, managers believe that their employees positively take this approach and provide honest and valuable suggestions. (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021)

Improves workplace procedures

This type of communication helps improve the way things are done in an organization by working on the inputs provided by employees to the management and thus improving working conditions. (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021)

Helps managers identify areas for self-improvement

This type of communication allows managers to enhance their performance by having feedback from employees, like having a feedback survey and knowing their strengths and weaknesses. (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021)

Makes employees feel valued

This type of communication makes employees feel that their suggestions are being taken into consideration and are valued, primarily when the suggested ideas reflect in the changes made by the management. (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021)

Creates an inclusive environment within an organization

This type of communication fosters an inclusive environment in an organization as every employee involved with the organization regardless of designation gets equal importance in the decision-making process by considering their values to achieve success for the organization. (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021)

Barriers of Upward Communication

Filtering Valuable Information

One of the significant barriers in upward communication is filtering information like as to impress the management, employees missing out on negative aspects of the issue rather than focusing on positive aspects when communicating with management which leaves them with an inaccurate picture of the problem and also, with the way the information flows from low-level employee to top management with multiple managers like line managers, the senior manager gets involved the original information may be received differently than the intended one. Hence, it is crucial to have an open-door policy where employees can share their insights honestly and without fear. (Ahmed, 2019)

Not Actively Listening

Another barrier in upward communication is both the managers and employees not listening carefully; for instance, managers may consider the insights from the lower-level employees are not valuable and ignore them. Hence, organizations must foster a culture where managers respect the employees and value their opinions. (Ahmed, 2019)

Failure To Take Action

Here it involves in lack of efforts from both the managers and employees involved, such as managers not responding to the insights put forward by employees and employees failing to provide precise details to their managers. When upward communication turns into information that can be acted upon, both employees and managers need to work and move forward to further steps. (Ahmed, 2019)

Examples of Upward Communication

  1. Performance report: In upward communication, performance reports allow lower-level employees to rate the line managers and other officials in the organization, which is done almost simultaneously as employee performance reviews, which signifies that just like employees, even managers need to focus on striving and getting better performance. (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021)
  2. Focus Groups: Focus groups involve employees and HR specialists or a company official where employees can discuss the issues they face in the department or the company. The company official or HR specialist can brief the employees on the changes in the policy or any vital information of the organization. (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021)
  3. Employee satisfaction surveys: Organizations use this survey to determine how well the employees are doing and are satisfied with the work, company, and workplace culture. (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021)  Based on the survey results, the organizations can act accordingly to enhance employee satisfaction further.
  4. Company Meetings: Company meetings involve management and employees interacting with each other in person, including one-on-one sessions with employees with line managers or company-wide meetings gathered to address the issues or celebrate the milestones. (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021)
  5. Suggestion Boxes: Organizations use the suggestion box or separate suggestion box email address to have the employees post their written feedback, suggestions, and complaints about management to review. (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021)

Tips for smart communication with upper management

Communicating effectively with upper management is crucial in delivering the key issues, and below are few tips for the same as follows

Listen and adapt:

Efficient communicators excel in analyzing the environment precisely and make quick adaptations. They can change the message accordingly in a bit of time. (prnewsonline, 2015)

Communicate with clarity:

Communication must be done with a precisely clear and concise message with clarity. (prnewsonline, 2015)

Understand boss style:

Understanding and asking senior managers what works for them and how they react to stress and adapt your interactions. (prnewsonline, 2015)

It’s not about you:

Not taking personal opinions into account and working on the betterment of the company. (prnewsonline, 2015)

Be calm and keep your emotions in check

The effectiveness of communication can be achieved by having a calm and composed attitude and have rationale approach. (prnewsonline, 2015)

Be the first to deliver bad news

Rather than getting bad news delivered from other sources, make sure to be first in communicating the issue with the senior management. (prnewsonline, 2015)

Set the ground rules for making decision

Identifying what decision one can make and what must be left to senior management must be done to foster the trust between the management and employee as the deliverability grows. (prnewsonline, 2015)

Observe and learn

Observing and learning from other team members on dealing with the management and especially what shouldn’t do while communicating. (prnewsonline, 2015)

How HR communicate with senior management

The HR needs to be engaging and know the senior management when communicating with them, which shall be done as follows.

  • Speak the language of the business

Often the senior management uses the acronyms like EBITDA, ROI and FCF are few common to say which can be used to have more meaningful communication with the management and understand the impact of these metrics on the organization and formulate the strategy that will focus on business KPI’s. (Heaton, 2020)

  •  Tell a story

Storytelling is an effective way of reaching out to the audiences, especially while communicating with managers; it helps visualize the ideas. Do not shy away from using logic and emotion, as decisions are often based on those at later stages. (Heaton, 2020)

  •  High level summary with key data points

While presenting to senior management, one must come with a high-level summary with a couple of data points that give a clear and precise idea about the issue and what they should do. start with the end like a recommendation, outcomes, actions that need to be taken to accomplish outcomes, and value that holds to the business. (Heaton, 2020)

  • Timing

Senior management often has minimal time; hence, the presentation must be designed to cover the intended message delivered precisely in the dedicated time, and asking colleagues about the time frame can be helpful. (Heaton, 2020)

  • Pause

Do not shy away from asking to call off the meeting than proceeding with unprepared, which will help earn more respect and come back with a strong message. (Heaton, 2020)

  • Value

Senior management is knowledgeable and willing to work and listen to other’s opinions that add value to their perspectives. Hence, one must see that conversation adds value to the perspectives and understands vital issues in the organization and what actions be considered from the human resource perspective. (Heaton, 2020)

  • Summarize at the end

At the end of the meeting, one must summarize key points and check that all the questions related to the presentation are addressed. (Heaton, 2020)

   HR Employee’s Internal Communication

HR is a department that works closest to the employees. And is therefore responsible for developing adequate communication skills between the superior and subordinates, horizontal levels. HR serves as a bridge between employees and leadership. As an HR, its not all about hiring and firing but also keeping the employees engaged, happy is critical. Several Ways to communicate effectively with the management are-

  • BUILD A MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING– Having poor communication skills hamper the work culture as misinterpretation of information and unclear ideas are portrayed. For example, for someone who has poor communication skills with different first language as French. Communicating the messages and ideas and understanding the same in English would be tough. Because he would not be able to describe his ideas swiftly. So, to develop a mutual understanding and coping up to a level and having one-to-one conversations where one is familiar with the other ones problem but does not let it come between its work criteria. It can also be done by organising small informal meetings where everyone gets a chance to familiarise with one another.(Lockley, n.d.)

The line between the internal communication and human resources remit is becoming increasingly blurred. Both functions are engaging with the same audience, so it makes sense that the two departments work together. And with both departments constantly seeking a stronger voice in the boardroom, collaboration could be a real game-changer.”

– Andrew Harvey, Director of Internal Communications,      VMA Group


  • SECONDARY FOCUS ON ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE- The primary focus of the firm should be on developing a proper communication channel than initially, laying more stress on formal organizational structure. HR communication team can aim at specializing in executing all the tasks collectively within individual areas of expertise. As it is not necessary that smaller teams can only work on inferior messaging.(Lockley, n.d.)
  • CRAFT ENGAGING STORIES TOGETHER- All the internal communication employees are well-familiar with how important it is to discuss and frame compelling stories together. From virtual meetings to newsletters, the main purpose of communication is to judge how well one interprets the information. So, working inside to create an interesting topic and engaging discussions help in building trust amongst each other and moreover to get indulged in that particular work culture. (Lockley, n.d.)
  • IDENTIFYING INTERNAL CHAMPIONS- When introducing an unpopular or some sort of change into the firm, every time discuss it with the star employees. Because they can evaluate it in the best possible ways. By doing this, even other employees feel connected and develop an urge to adapt to the changes rapidly. Having public support leaves a greater impact on HRs.(Lockley, n.d.)

The below video describes the employee engagement strategy with bottom-up communication(upward communication)

 Source:(Kevin Kruse, 2015).

Human Resources as conflict resolution

The human resources department acts as a bridge between the employer and employees when a conflict situation arises. It settles the issue by following company policies, employment, and labor laws and following conflict resolution procedures to both parties involved in an agreeable solution. (Scott, 2016)

ImageSource: (Sampras, 2020)

Employee Complaints

Regarding employee complaints, the human resources department works on unfair treatment by peers or managers, unfair working conditions, discusses workplace codes of conduct, comes with solutions, recommends disciplinary actions if required, and records the event’s details. (Scott, 2016)

Labour Relations

Human resources department actively involves in negotiating the issues between the employees and employers when problems arise and work through various labor relations program and settle the dispute which might escalate as strikes on matters such as wages, increments, etc. (Scott, 2016)


When allegations such as someone being discriminated against or harassed have come forward, the human resources department plays an important role in investigating and validating the claim and coming with solutions by following anti-discrimination laws and even assisting the complainant with filing the formal charges. (Scott, 2016)

Workplace Injury

Suppose an employee suffers an injury in the workplace and gets informed by the human resources department. In that case, they play a crucial role in identifying whether it happened with the employer’s negligence and prevents conflict and lawsuits by ensuring the employee receiving medical care and compensation for lost salary. (Scott, 2016)

Key Takeaways

The key takeaways are as follows

  • Communicating with management is considered as upward communication where low-level employees communicate with high-level management.
  • Advantages of using upward communication involve increasing morale of employees and feel valued and helps identify managers to improve in areas they are lagging by having feedback from employees as a way of survey.
  • Few essentials tips in communicating with the senior management and how HR communicates precisely.
  • HR role in conflict resolution as how the human resources department plays vital role in various situations.



9.1 Communication Strategies – Human Resource Management. (2016, March 22). Pressbooks.[Image] Retrieved from


Ahmed, A. (2019, August 8). Effective Written and Oral Communication. Bizfluent. Retrieved from https://bizfluent.com/about-6661122-effective-written-oral-communication.html.

Heaton, C. (2020, May 26). How can HR better communicate with senior management? hrdconnect. https://www.hrdconnect.com/2020/05/26/how-can-hr-better-communicate-with-senior-management/.

Indeed Editorial Team. (2021, June 9). What Is Upward Communication? Definition and Examples. Indeed Career Guide. Retrieved from


Kevin Kruse. (2015, June 16). Employee Engagement Strategy [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNr4tE74xUE&t=141s&ab_channel=KevinKruse.

Naresh, S. (2017). Role of Communication in Human Resource Management-An Explorative Study. Role of Communication in Human Resource Management-An Explorative Study, 3(5). Retrieved from http://www.onlinejournal.in/IJIRV3I5/056.pdf.

prnewsonline. (2015, February 27). 10 Tips for Smart Communications With Upper Management. prnewsonlineRetrieved from


Sampras, A. (2020, March 20). Human Resources as Conflict Resolution. HRM Exam. https://www.hrmexam.com/2020/03/20/human-resources-as-conflict-resolution/.

Scott, S. (2016, October 26). Human Resources as Conflict Resolution. Small Business – Chron.Com. https://smallbusiness.chron.com/human-resources-conflict-resolution-10432.html.

Shrm. (n.d.). Managing Organizational Communication. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and samples/toolkits/pages/managingorganizationalcommunication.aspx.

Lockley, S. (n.d). Internal Communications and HR: 4 Ways to Work Together More Effectively [Blog]. Retrieved from











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