Posted: February 15th, 2022
The link between Employee Engagement and Organizational Effectiveness
The link between Employee Engagement and Organizational Effectiveness
The link between employee engagement and organisational effectiveness is, as MacLeod and Clarke (2009) state, “a blindingly obvious but nevertheless often overlooked truth.” Currently, in the corporate sector, there is a widespread belief that the future of any firm in modern society hugely depends on how they are viewed by vital stakeholders such as consumers and customers, investors and shareholders, employees, and the community within which a firm resides. This belief has been further strengthened by globalisation, activism, and recent accounting issues and has cemented communication as an important element (Cornelissen, 2020, 9). Thus far, corporate communication has emerged as an essential management aspect used by firms in instrumental and strategic approaches. Cornelissen (2020, 10) noted that companies need to be viewed as “legitimate” by the majority, if not all, of their key stakeholders for prosperity and survival. It has been established that corporate communication plays the most significant to attain this. Consequently, corporate communication is currently being given much more attention in academia than many years back. Most professional training programs and university courses have also acknowledged the importance of corporate communication and have included several programs that prepare graduates for business communication. Likewise, even MBA (Master of Business Administration) learners who in the previous years did not give much credit to corporate and business communication courses are currently requesting for taught modules on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and corporate communication in the United States (Cornelissen, 2020, 10). This shows the growing importance of communication in companies.
There are many proofs showing how charismatic executive leadership communication has can improve organisational effectiveness through the positive influence of employees. For example, Men et al. (2020, 1) conducted research through an online survey of 439 workers who had encountered a corporate-wide organisational change in 2018 and 2019 in America. The outcome showed leaders with good communication skills positively impact their employees during change within the organisation. Some of the positively influenced areas include willingness to accept change, behavioural competency, and organisational trust accorded to the newly adapted changes (Men et al., 2020, 1). These findings show the importance of good communication approaches as an engagement technique and positively influencing employees’ performances. In the modern corporate world, employee engagement, done through communication, is viewed as a major concern for managers and leaders in organisations across the world, as they recognise it as an important element in organisational competitiveness, innovation, and effectiveness (Welch, 2011, 328). This fact is supported by a certain Corporate International survey of the United States. In this survey, employees’ engagement was identified as one of the organisations’ top trends. An effective measure of worker engagement has also been relevant for HRD (human resource department) because of its positive effects on employees (Soane et al., 2012, 559). Hence, this research proposes that a suitable communication mechanism as an employee engagement approach influences organisational effectiveness.
Employees as Primary Stakeholders
Employees’ engagement is an essential determinant of organisational effectiveness because they (employees) are key stakeholders. Modern society and the rapidly growing world has made employees one of the most influential players in strategic organisational constituencies. Employees are important because they are the productive force of the company and brand ambassadors to the outside world (Men, 2014, 265). The essence of employees as stakeholders has been subjected to several studies operating from diverse paradigms (Balmer, 2017, 1472-1473). For instance, some studies have particularly majored responsibilities of organisations to stakeholders such as employees, the community, and the environment in moral dimensions, claiming that organisations need to take these responsibilities to give balance to unbalanced power relationship organisations and those influenced by their actions (Young, & Thyil, 4-5). Many corporations operating on industrial relations have agreed that workers entitlements are involuntary lent capital and that workers need to be given industrial democracy or enhanced voice through things such as quality circles, safety and health committees, joint consultative committees, and work councils which may also include extended representation in board membership. Based on Young and Thyil’s (4) findings, corporations that are more attentive to shareholders and give more value to shareholders’ interests as opposed to employees’ interests can encounter a damaged workforce seen through lower expenditure on HR (human resource) training and development, workforce reduction, and lack of long-term career progression and job security. Although many Anglo corporations operate from the perspective of shareholders, giving significant attention to other stakeholders, particularly the employees, consumers, and the community, can ensure that required resources are acquired and optimally used. Such stakeholders also make sure that the public image of the subject firm is maintained, which could mean a long-term profit maximisation. As cited by Young and Thyil (4), a firm’s value cannot be increased essential constituencies are ignored. Such proposals are based on the fact that stakeholder theory and resource dependency suggest that companies will maximise their profits which directly influence shareholders’ returns through the proper engagement of other stakeholders. In this context, Young & Thyil (4-5) contends that senior employees display strategic choice in their operations and are frequently more favourable to workers than is often proposed by Variety of Capitalism Literature. These researchers contend that the interest in employees’ relations is constantly increasing, particularly regarding how governance influences employees’ management. Thus, employees’ engagement can relatively influence organisational performance because they are key stakeholders.
Internal communication as part of employee’s engagement has been proven to positively influence organisational effectiveness (Welch & Jackson 2007, 177). Internal communication, often perceived as intra-organizational communication, is constantly associated with employee communication (Vercic et al., 2012, 225). Internal communication is currently viewed as a separate research field. As noted by Vercic et al. (2012, 228), internal communication has now progressed into a special domain in itself. IC is viewed as a separate field primarily because the relationship between staff members is different from that shared with other stakeholders such as customers, shareholders and regulators, among others. Based on the nature of the organisation, IC is either found “Human Resource” or “Communication Department” Vercic et al., 2012, 228). In various ways, communication is the defining factor of whether a collection of people exists in an organisation or merely a random group of people. Majorly, the communication process gives humans a common purpose, works collectively, and agrees on objectives (Yeomans & FitzPatrick, 2017). More importantly, the culture and norms of an organisation can vividly be expressed based on how communication is conducted within it. Although daily interaction among colleagues in an organisation is important in facilitating operations, corporations also need to ensure that their employees understand the general priorities and goals-which can only be achieved through good communication. It is worth noting that as organisation grow big in size, so does the challenges of engaging employees from different departments. Internal communication, sometimes referred to as IC, has emerged as an essential necessity inside broader fields of tactical public relations, corporate communication, and strategic communication (Yeomans & FitzPatrick, 2017). Just like public relations issues have evolved above one-way broadcasts of messaging, IC has also developed an active interest in upholding “internal conversations” to motivate workers to debate or discuss matters with upper management or among themselves. Likewise, in the same way that public relations are not just about media perspective, internal communication has emerged much more than parties or newsletters. Furthermore, internal communication is not just a concern in large or multinational organisations that need to communicate to a significant number of employees. For example, while companies like BT, LG, or Sony need to have a complex communication approach to reach their employees on an international scale efficiently, family-owned and small firms also benefit from proper communication channels that enable sharing of information and getting feedback to help in the businesses to perform better.
Additionally, internal communication is also important in an organisation of any calibre, any particular form of transformation or change. Often, for IC to be impactful, internal publics are required to have a clear and concise understanding of what is needed of them. Majorly, internal communication falls under six employee-related objectives and general headings that are connected to an organisation: supporting major organisational changes, enhancing internal advocacy, that is, getting workers to inform outsiders about the organisation, ensuring that employees know expectations placed on them, enhancing a sense of collaborations with the community, and encouraging employees to stay (Yeomans & FitzPatrick, 2017). In most cases, the communication teams will tend to concentrate on activities that promote organisational objectives through their employees. A health centre, for instance, may like to explain hygiene matters such as hand washing to its staff. In such cases, objective internal communication will allow actual contribution in getting its staff to understand and follow basic rules (Yeomans & FitzPatrick, 2017). Such initiatives benefits explain why internal communication, which is a form of employee engagement, is important in promoting organisational effectiveness.
Internal Communication and Organizational Effectiveness
An effective and successful internal communication approach depends on more than a humorous office environment, fun work memos, and informal slack channels. Regardless of whether internal communication is weak, strong, or hypothetical, its impacts directly influence employee engagement (Bao et al., 2020). When workers are constantly kept in a loop of the internal activities of any organisation, their commitment, satisfaction, and loyalty tend to improve the organisation’s reputation and revenue. Often, questions are asked on what communication channels can be used to increase employee engagement in a company. Well, office jokes and slack channels can act as part of an influential communication approach, particularly when an organisation is undergoing changes. Using effective communication methods as part of the employee engagement technique can increase trust and morale and reduce rumours within the subject company (Kurter, 2020). Moreover, a good communication channel gives employees an avenue to comfortably air their complaints, concerns and seek clarification.
Hence, there are several proposed ways that senior employees can use to make internal communication an important piece in efforts aimed at increasing employee engagement-maximising communication techniques and channels, having an open-door policy rather than the red tape policy, and giving employees a seat at the table (Kurter, 2020). Maximising communication techniques and channels involve adapting highly rated approaches by the subject employees. Although emails and the internet have become a common way of communication in any organisation, it is believed that not every employee are willing to read everything based on available time. Considering that the average attention span of Generation Z is 8 seconds while that of millennials is 12 seconds means that senior employees and executives need to be conscious of long emails and concentrate on how they can pass messages using an informative, concise, and tactful (Kurter, 2020). Based on the “marketing rule of 7”, it is believed that workers need to be informed approximately seven times before an action is taken. Further, employees consume messages; differently some take a few times before processing while others process them immediately. Therefore, employers can use options such as videos, texts, newsletters, face-to-face (live zoom), and emails. Using a channel such as newsletters prevents the spreading of fake news and rumours. Workers need to be subjected to communication channels that promote openness and trust concerning the open door policy. Using face-to-face communication remains to be the most embraced communication technique-employers should always consider using this method because of its effectiveness (Battiston et al., 2020). Employers should therefore opt out of red tape, which promotes bureaucracy. Employees should also be given a space in the higher table where they can get informed of changes and what is going on within the subject company. Following all these communication approaches are influential in increasing employee engagement within the company.
Generally, internal/organisational communication as an engagement approach should be congratulated for many reasons. For instance, this approach promotes transparency to new approaches and perspectives that are equally important in establishing organisational communication in the field of scientific study, and as a result, outlining its strategic contributions is important. Additionally, internal communication should be praised because it connects internal communication and other scientific disciplines such as anthropology, sociology and other recent disciplines such as marketing and organisational psycho-sociology (Padamo 2014, 349). These benefits explain why corporate communication is now increasingly included in many university courses to prepare learners for what awaits them in the job market.
Understanding what it means to engage employees is an important value for any managers and communication teams seeking to know its role in organisational effectiveness. Generally, organisational effectiveness can be defined in various ways, including as an “an attitude, a psychological or motivational state, or a personality trait” (Yeomans & FitzPatrick, 2017). Other scholars describe it as workers giving positive recommendations about their organisations both externally and internally, identifying themselves with teams in their workplace, and putting extra effort to achieve organisational objectives. Hence, many corporations are dedicated to achieving high standards of employees’ engagements because it has a direct connection to the profitability and productivity of an organisation, customer’s satisfaction levels, and innovations (Yeomans & FitzPatrick, 2017). Furthermore, employee engagement is associated with reduced levels of workers voluntarily quitting their jobs-a a phenomenon sometimes referred to as “employees’ turnover,” lower sickness or absenteeism and decreased accident rates within the premises of an organisation. Hence, communication teams are interested in employee engagement because it is a combination of behaviours (recommending an organisation as a workplace or putting more effort), a mix of attitudes (proud and positive feelings), and outcomes (improved organisational performance)-all these factors can directly or indirectly be influenced by good internal communication approaches (Yeomans & FitzPatrick, 2017). Communication is linked to the mentioned factors because it allows workers to make prompt judgments about justice and fairness; communication is one way through which recognition can be made in a workplace. Similarly, individuals may decide if there are chances of personal growth in a corporation depending on stories they get about their colleagues. Often, and it has been proven by literature (Yeomans & FitzPatrick, 2017), social and psychological elements are more powerful motivators as compared to material benefits tied to a job.
Additionally, employees’ engagement through internal communication has the power to inculcate a culture of transparency between employees and the management (Mishra et al., 2014). Often, managers employ different communication approaches such as face-to-face talks to communicate with the staff members—the chosen communication approach focuses on building engagement and trust among employees. In so doing, public relations managers find themselves in a position that allows employees’ engagement.
Employee engagement is also important because it builds commitment, desire, and energy among employees to work to their level best and collectively maximise organisational and individual performance. Organisations and businesses operate to optimum levels when they make their employees commitment, desire, and energy implemented in doing a good job that characterises many employees’ will to collectively maximise organisational and individual performance. Many organisations have been found to work best when they make their workers’ creativity, potential, commitment, and capabilities the centre of their operation. While having financial muscle and advanced strategies are crucial in organisational success, the behaviour of employees at workplaces can make a vital difference in determining business failure or success (MacLeod & Clarke, 2011, 7-8). Likewise, employees’ engagement approaches allow individuals to present their best versions at work. This can only be the case if the employees feel involved, respected, heard, valued, and seen as key players in the subject organisation. MacLeod and Clarke (2011, 7) noted that employee engagement occurs when both the organisation and the workers value each other. Employee engagement is important because engaged staff feel a sense of individual attachment to their organisation and work: they are more motivated and have the capacity to give their best performances to aid their corporation’s success. This enables the flow of success from both organisations individual employees alike. From how people talk to one another in the workplaces, it is easy to note the engagement, positivity, energy and belief that an organisation stand for. This means that engaged employees can be seen from how they conduct themselves within working premises-which illustrates the contribution of engagement to the effectiveness of any business.
Although improved productivity and performance are central to employees’ engagement, it cannot be efficiently attained using mechanistic techniques to apply discretionary methods that appear to manipulate employees’ emotions and commitment (MacLeod & Clarke, 2011, 9-10). This case is common because employees quickly notice manipulative approaches that lead to disillusionment and cynicism. On the contrary, willingly and freely engaged workers emulate discretionary efforts not just as “an add on,” but as an essential aspect of their day-to-day activities. Often, concerns have been made about how much people understand employee engagement: whether it is a long-standing or fashionable management approach in the corporate world (MacLeod & Clarke, 2011, 9-10). Even though engagement does not have a concise overlap with analytical parameters such as “organisational citizenship behavior,” job satisfaction or involvement, and commitment, it is believed that there are other vital dissimilarities (MacLeod & Clarke, 2011, 9-10). To be more specific, engagement is achieved in two basic ways: firms should use their efforts to engage employees, who would consequently have a choice to make as to what degree of engagement they are willingly and freely able to offer their employers. Every effort reinforces the other aspect. As cited by MacLeod and Clarke (2011, 9-10), “an engaged employee experiences a blend of job satisfaction, organisational commitment, job involvement and feelings of empowerment.” This shows that engagement needs to be done using objective means that is viewed as acceptable within the eye of employees because of the impending benefits organisation may accrue out of engaged staff. However, it should be noted that employees’ engagement and satisfaction are not sharing a common predictive power over outcomes. Measuring employees’ morale or satisfaction in itself does not inform a senior employee how junior workers are behaving-measuring employees’ engagement can progressively do so (MacLeod & Clarke, 2011, 10). Therefore, managers should be willing to ascertain the best approaches to be used in engagement that gives a clear perception.
Employee engagement through internal communication has been established as an essential determinant of organisational effectiveness. Effective and successful internal communication approach depends on more than humorous office environment, fun work memos, and informal slack channels. Irrespective of the nature of internal communication, its impacts directly influences employee engagement and organisational effectiveness. When workers are constantly engaged in internal activities of any organisation, their commitment, satisfaction, and loyalty tend to improve the organisation’s reputation and revenue. Using effective communication approaches can enhance trust, morale, and reducing spreading of misleading information. Employees are viewed as essential stakeholders within organisational ranks because they are central to the activities of the subject corporation. While other stakeholders such as customers, shareholders, and the community form a basic part of an organisation, employees remain the most integral in companies because their hard work or incompetency is felt by the organisation and all the other stakeholders. Therefore, international communication in any organisation has been established as one of the most important elements determining the success or failure of an organisation because it is the channel through which instructions are passed, and employees are motivated. Some of the benefits of employee engagement through communication include increasing organisational competitiveness, improving public relations, and motivating employees to work even better. Due to the importance of communication to organisations, universities are currently including communication modules in their curriculum to prepare them for what awaits them in the corporate world. These efforts show the benefits that employees’ engagement has in the modern corporate world.
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