Revitalizing Manager Communications at Phillips 66

Case Studies

gq-logoPhillips 66 split from ConocoPhillips in 2012. As a new company, it needed to communicate a new company strategy and critical information to employees, and identify the best channels through which to share information about emerging issues. In a 2014 communications effectiveness survey, Phillips 66 employees said they viewed their managers as the “most trusted and preferred sources” of company information. All employee groups ranked immediate supervisor meetings or emails first as sources of information impacting daily work, and gave these channels more than 90% positive ratings for providing relevant information.

Though they were clearly identified as a preferred information source and represented a sizeable percentage of the company, managers were seldom identified as a target audience for key communications. As a result, managers struggled to filter mass amounts of company communications, found it difficult to interpret messages and cascade relevant information to their employees, or they didn’t identify themselves as being responsible for doing so. Potential existed for this untapped and highly regarded group to bridge the gap between the C-suite and front-line employees.

Phillips 66 partnered with Gagen MacDonald in 2014 to lay the groundwork for an effective manager communications program. Together, the team developed a communications plan to inform, engage and activate managers as a key communication source. The strategies proved vital in a tough economic environment for the oil and gas industry. Falling stock prices and merit increase delays alarmed many employees, the majority of whom are also stockholders, presenting an opportunity for managers to step in as credible sources for information.