Driving Employee Engagement: The Expanded Role of Internal Communications

Topic: Employee Engagement

Authors, Title and Publication

Mishra, K., Boynton, L., & Mishra, A. (2014). Driving employee engagement: The expanded role of internal communications. Journal of Business Communication, 51(2), 183-202.

Summary

Increasingly, organizations and their public relations professionals recognize the importance of strengthening internal communication with employees. Internal communication is important for building a culture of transparency between management and employees, and it can engage employees in the organization’s priorities. Employee engagement in the management literature is defined as the degree to which an individual is attentive and absorbed in the performance of their roles. Engaged employees often feel empowered, involved, emotionally attached and dedicated to the organization, and excited and proud about being a part of it. The connection between employee engagement and organizational effectiveness has been well documented in previous research. A growing number of scholars and professionals have suggested multiple drivers of employee engagement such as organizational leadership, communication, work-environment, job characteristics and so forth. This article examines the relationship between internal communication and employee engagement.

The researchers conducted interviews with public relations executives regarding the growing role that internal communication plays in employee engagement. Results revealed that the executives’ primary goals are to promote dialogue to build trust with key audiences, manage the reputation of the company’s brand and image, and promote employee engagement. The executives identified a full-range of communication vehicles they used to implement these goals with employees, yet believed that face-to-face communication between an employee and his or her manager was the preferred and most effective channel. These executives found that face-to-face communication reduced turnover and promoted a sense of community among employees, thus fostering employee engagement.

Implications for Practice

Fostering employee engagement is an increasingly important role for professional communicators. Public relations executives and leaders in the organization should 1) coach their internal clients and managers on relating effectively with employees; 2) engage in face-to-face communication and personal interactions with followers and employees; 3) practice “radical transparency” to foster employee trust and sense of belonging, which eventually leads to employee engagement. University PR programs should include employee engagement curriculum so that graduates are prepared for this expanded role as they enter their internships and professional careers.

Location of Article

The article is available online at: http://job.sagepub.com/content/51/2/183.full.pdf+html

 

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