Back to Insight Hub
Find out more about

Are Your Managers Reinforcing Clarity?

Organisational clarity is key to driving success. Employees who fully understand the purpose, plans, and progress of their organisation can have a significant impact on how effective the organisation is in achieving its goals. Read more about how you create clarity at every level, here.

It’s one thing to create a framework that nurtures the perfect conditions for clarity, but how is this communicated throughout the organisation? The simple answer is: managers.

“The Miracle in the Middle”

It’s all about the miracle in the middle... if you’re a middle manager in an organisation, you get all of that expectation of all of the messages that are going to come down... and you’re getting all of the grief from people underneath you… when we rolled out our new values and behaviours… that came from a population of people in that miracle in the middle community. It’s much, much easier to communicate a set of values and behaviours that you believe in rather that some ones that people have just mandated.” – Sam White, Managing Director – Natural Resources, Costain

Now, let's get one thing straight; when we say that the simple answer is managers, the truth is that absolute organisational clarity can only be achieved through effective communication and complete belief in the organisation’s purpose from every level of the business, and this starts at the top. Leaders must create a clear and coherent vision that aligns with the ambitions of all employees.

However, when it comes to ensuring that this purpose and vision is communicated clearly to every employee, this is the role of the manager. Not only must they communicate with clarity, they must also reinforce this messaging to keep their teams motivated and focused on the organisation’s goals.  

According to our data, there are four key elements that make up an effective manager:

1. Motivating

2. Considering

3. Conversing

4. Caring


Giving our managers and their teams the permission to really look at problems within their own areas... we passed on that responsibility to them, they felt empowered when reporting back on the results, some of them were outstanding, some of them failed, but we gave them permission to fail, and I think that was a key thing as well.” – Carole Urey, CEO, High Speed Training

Motivating is all about how managers sell the direction and vision of the organisation and ensure that others can see how their role impacts on the bigger picture thereby energising and inspiring their teams.


Traditionally, if you look after your people, the people will look after the customers, and the customers will look after your shareholders... but the way we do that is we focus on unlocking potential of our people, we focus on delivering predictable best in class work for our customers, and then we think about winning the work that will keep us secure for the next five years. So, when we go and talk to people, we talk about those things... and where do you fit into that?” – Sam White, Managing Director – Natural Resources, Costain

Considering is where a manager understands what is being asked of their teams and ensures that this is realistic and achievable. They should also support their people in achieving their tasks and recognise and reward a job well done, creating a sense of pride within their teams.


If you have a culture where people feel they can approach their manager, that’s the best way I think, that if you just have that opportunity to talk openly and honestly with your manager, and then the feedback is passed on, that’s obviously ideal.” – Alex Sturge, Head of Communications, Media and Engagement, UK Power Networks

Conversing is where managers create channels for effective two-way communication. This includes creating an atmosphere where individuals feel confident to share information in an open and honest way as well as managers being open to receiving information from others. In other words, managers should both inform and listen to their people. This helps to build trust and respect between all team members.


We were thinking about how can we really take people out the office environment and get them to talk about what’s frustrating them... and it’s about taking people for a walk and spending an hour with them... and really get to find out what frustrations they’ve got, but sometimes it might just be to talk about their dog or their family... but you can guarantee that when you come back from your hours walk, you really feel connected.” – Rachael Wallwork, Chief People Officer, Evolito

Caring is what it says on the tin; it’s where managers show an interest in their people as individuals and demonstrate care for their needs. This includes both their in work needs such as training and support, and recognising that people have a life outside of work, understanding that they need time to spend with family, friends, and on their other interests and hobbies. This helps to increase productivity and loyalty towards the organisation.  

What the Data Shows

Our data, gathered from 349,593 engagement surveys, shows that while relationships between managers and their teams are relatively strong, the effectiveness of managers providing organisational clarity is lacking.  

The Best Companies Methodology breaks down organisational health and employee engagement into eight sections, known as the 8 Factors. When we look at the factor that pertains to employees’ relationships with their managers (My Manager) we can see that over the last 12 months there has been very little shift in this area, with just a 0.08% overall score increase. This minimal change is reflected in the fact that 51% of organisations increased their score in the factor and 49% decreased.  

Furthermore, the two core My Manager statements that are a part of the Best Companies survey, “I feel that I lack support from my manager” and “My manager cares about how satisfied I am in my job” received the third and fourth highest overall average scores of 76.18% and 78.31% respectively.

However, when we look at the organisations that decreased their overall Best Companies Index (BCI) scores, these statements saw decreases of 2.52% and 2.42% in our year-on-year data.  

While this shows that relationships and managers remain generally strong, it is through the My Company factor that we can see the disconnect between employees and their organisation, reinforcing the fact that managers are being ineffective at providing organisational clarity. 46% of surveying organisations saw an average 3% decrease in scores to the My Company factor – though it is important to recognise that the My Company factor is also affected by other factors and so we can’t claim that all of this decrease has been caused by a lack of clarity.

Where we can see more directly how employees feel about organisational clarity is through the statements “The leader of this organisation runs this organisation based on sound moral principles” and “I am inspired by the person leading this organisation”. These statements achieved overall scores of 74.39% and 67.71% respectively. 

However, both statements also saw their scores decline in our year-on-year data by so much that they were both in the bottom four statements when it comes to those with the greatest score decreases. In fact, “The leader of this organisation runs this organisation based on sound moral principles” was the statement that’s score decreased the most over the year when looking at its average score across all organisations, with a drop of 1.22%. When we look at just the companies that saw this score decline, this statement saw an average score decline of 3.36%. 

As such, leaders need to focus on how their managers are communicating the organisation’s purpose, strategies, and goals to their teams. This may mean relooking at the four key elements that make up organisational clarity and ensuring that the message is easy to understand and is align with employees' beliefs and ambitions.  

What the Experts Say

During our most recent Best Companies Live event, in March 2024, our red chair guests discussed the importance of managers reinforcing clarity to ensure a successful organisation. One of the key themes that came up was how vital it was that leadership teams supported their managers in doing this by keeping the messaging simple.  

Alex Sturge, Head of Communications, Media and Engagement at UK Power Networks, stated: “Think about how hard it is for managers to communicate constantly, think about how much you push down to managers on a daily basis, and just keep it to the core facts”.

This sentiment was expanded upon by Sam White, the Managing Director and Natural Resources at Costain, who explained that for managers to be able to reinforce organisational clarity, not only should the message be easy to understand and digest, but managers should also be empowered to communicate in a way that best suits them and their teams. “We’ve got very talented people in our business, so trying to pack them into a box where they communicate a certain corporate way is really unhelpful. Harnessing their unique talents is what it’s about.”  

Carole Urey, CEO of High Speed Training, also agreed with this, and made a point of highlighting the importance of how to communicate effectively and with clarity, managers need to regularly meet with both their teams and the leadership team, and truly understand the context of the message that they are being asked to convey.  

Carole stated: “We’ve brought around 20 of our senior managers and ‘heads of’ together to really find out what’s on their mind, what they need to hear more of, and bring them much closer to the senior leadership team. There’s been some really interesting feedback from them around communication, how often we communicate, how we communicate, and also giving us feedback around context, and saying ‘it’s really great that you communicate with us, but we need the storytelling and the context behind some of those results as well’.”

Another key topic that was raised was how managers and leaders can reinforce clarity through recognising and rewarding employees when they demonstrate commitment to the organisation’s purpose and goals.  

Chief People Officer at Evolito, Rachael Wallwork, stated: “If we spot someone living our values and demonstrating that through doing an exceptional piece of work or doing something exceptional, he [the CEO] quite literally takes them to the wall where we have our values and behaviours displayed. And he talks to them about what they’ve done and how they have connected with those values. And he said you’re here because you live our passion.”

What’s Next?

Organisations that not only focus on providing clarity, but also on how their managers reinforce this, will reap the rewards of having engaged, committed, and productive teams.  

This starts at the top, and it is the leader's responsibility to make sure that this is happening by both communicating clearly themselves, and by ensuring that managers are reinforcing clarity.

You can use the Organisational Clarity Assessment to see how effectively your managers are reinforcing clarity - Download your free resource.

Complete your details below to get the report

To understand how we process your data please read our Privacy Notice click here
Thank you! The report should now open in a new window.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Employee engagement solutions

Recent Articles

May 2, 2024
Mum Knows Best: Why Motherhood Shouldn’t Penalise Your Career
Read article
May 2, 2024
What are the key drivers of engagement in 2024?
Read article
April 8, 2024
Is Your Culture Delivering Results?
Read article
March 20, 2024
How Do You Create Clarity at Every Level?
Read article