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9 reasons communication is essential to employee engagement

13 May, 2021 Employee engagement, experience, satisfaction, Internal communication

Research shows employees are your most important stakeholder group. They have the power to drive your operations forward or to destroy your vision. Engaged employees are essential for organizational success, and effective communication is essential to employee engagement. Find out the 9 reasons communication is essential to employee engagement.

In any business, your employees are your most significant investment. Research shows they are your most important stakeholder group. They have the power to drive your operations forward or to destroy your vision. Effective employee communication is at the core of every organization because it boosts employee engagement, which in turn increases productivity and ultimately leads to better organizational performance. Read here about 9 reasons communication is essential to employee engagement.

What is employee engagement?

Firstly, it is essential to understand what employee engagement is. Employee engagement is an elusive concept – an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of organizational attempts to motivate employees and increase their job satisfaction because this leads to better business outcomes. Key drivers of employee engagement include:

  • employee communication
  • nature of the job and work environment
  • recognition of an employee’s work
  • social climate
  • personality traits of individuals.

Engagement is one of the reasons some employees will put in extra hours, energy, and creativity. Gallup Inc., the world’s largest analytics and advisory firm, defines engaged employees as those who are highly involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace.

Yet only about one third of employees are engaged

As employee engagement is considered so important to organizational results, Gallup regularly conducts a meta-analysis of employee engagement and performance in the world’s largest engagement study. (A meta-analysis is a statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple scientific studies.)

The 2020 Gallup meta-analytics study of 112,000 business/work units with a total of 2.7 million employees in 54 industries in 96 countries, found huge benefits from engaging employees. When comparing top-quartile (top 25%) engagement with bottom quartile (bottom 25%) engagement, Gallup found that top-quartile organizations achieved a median 23% higher profitability, 66% greater wellbeing (net thriving employees) and 13% more employee participation in organizational citizenship. In summary, the 2020 study found, on average, engaged teams produce more positive outcomes, fewer negative outcomes and greater organizational success.

Yet, only a minority of employees say they are engaged. Gallup surveys in 2020 found an average of 36% workers were engaged. These figures have become volatile due to the COVID pandemic, but in the past 20 years of Gallup surveys, generally only about 30-35% of employees in developed economies have said they are engaged.

When leading an organization or a business unit, you can see that these consistent survey results show you need to keep your staff engaged at all times. Start by developing an employee engagement plan, which includes a proven component – effective communication.

9 reasons communication is essential to employee engagement

If you don’t think communication is very important, these reasons could help change your mind:

1. It sheds light on the vision and purpose

Only through effective leadership communication can an organization effectively share its vision and purpose with all employees. Without this understanding, there can be no employee engagement to talk about. Studies have shown that face-to-face communication about vision, purpose strategies and progress has strong employee engagement links.

2. It brings transparency

Effective communication is essential in any organization because it creates openness and transparency between employees, management, and stakeholders. Such transparency is vital for building trust in the organization.

3. It builds trust

When there’s openness and transparency in an organization, then there’s the creation of trust between management and employees. Trust is necessary for the success of any organization. It also gives employees a sense of belonging, ultimately leading to a buy-in of the business vision and more productive output and success. Without effective communication, this would not be easy to achieve.

4. It helps to retains employees

When employees have trust and faith in the organizational structures of a company through open channels of communication, you know the company will have a low staff turnover. When employees are kept in the developmental loop of an organization, they almost always have a sense of ownership of their projects and mandates. This often leads to their loyalty and dedication to the organization.

5. It helps with feedback

When employees are consulted, they freely give valuable feedback that could help improve an organization’s operations. This, no doubt could create a conducive environment for their personal growth and, ultimately, the organization’s growth. Employee feedback will, nonetheless, only come if there’s  effective communication in place. For real engagement with your staff, you have to invest in internal communication with them. After all, they’re the ones in the trenches. And if you don’t communicate effectively with them about the result of their feedback, they will become cynical about the competence of management, and will lose much of their motivation.

6. It creates a culture of teamwork

When all members of staff are aware of what’s happening in their organization, they quickly feel connected because they share the same purpose and goals. Such connections foster a team spirit that’s great for the success of the organization. When employees work as a team, they always produce the best results.

If communication is good, it also creates some great opportunities for some employees to gain valuable experience from being mentored by more experienced staff. It could also reduce loneliness in the workplace, thereby increasing output.

7. It makes remote work a breeze

The COVID-19 global pandemic has shown most organizations the importance of remote working. But without effective communication, it would be difficult to coordinate remote employees. Furthermore, it would be a huge challenge to engage workers remotely without the right communication tools.

With a good communication network, an organization can still be productive even when some or all work from home or in a hybrid mode. With clear deliverables and working tools, employees can still feel connected and loyal to an organization, despite their distance.

8. It empowers employees

If there’s an open two-way channel of communication, employees can feel empowered to have a say in the operations of the organization. Employee empowerment is important because it gives them a sense of ownership and responsibility for the organization’s developments. When employees are empowered that way, they can be attached in beneficial ways to the organization’s progress.

9. It motivates productivity

When there’s effective communication, employees know what they need to do and how they need to do it. If they’re kept in the loop, they’re also less likely to be frustrated by the organization’s culture or system of doing things. When there’s a sound communication system, less time is spent in unnecessarily long meetings, and all employees have the information they need to do their jobs handy. If there’s poor communication, employees can be easily demotivated, leading to less productivity.

Takeaways

Communication is one of the factors that lead to employee engagement. When employees are kept in the loop about organizational affairs, they tend to be connected. This creates a team spirit and loyalty that increases productivity and the success of the organization. In a nutshell, good communication is a powerful tool in the engagement of employees.

About Kim Harrison – author, editor and content curator

Kim Harrison, Founder and Principal of Cutting Edge PR, loves sharing actionable ideas and information about professional communication and business management. He has wide experience as a corporate affairs manager, consultant, author, lecturer, and CEO of a non-profit organization. Kim is a Fellow and former national board member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, and he ran his State’s professional development program for 7 years, helping many practitioners to strengthen their communication skills. People from 115 countries benefit from the practical knowledge shared in his monthly newsletter and in his books available from cuttingedgepr.com.

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