Communication and Employee Engagement

The MacLoed Report, ‘Engaging for Success: enhancing performance through employee engagement’, published in July 2009 was intended to start a nationwide discussion about developing greater employee engagement. The aim was to generate responses during early 2010 but it seems the difficult economic conditions and the election may have slowed down progress.

The inital report was a wide-ranging review of the nature and impact of employee engagement and not an attempt to provide answers. However, it was surprising and a little disappointing that a search of the whole report, one about the future of business, could find not one mention of either ‘social media’ or ‘social networking’. And, indeed, there seems to have been little debate since about how new technologies can contribute

The report identified four ‘broad enablers/drivers’ which were often cited as being critical to employee engagement, all of which could clearly benefit from the improvements in communication, conversation and collaboration that new ‘social’ tools and techniques can offer…

Leadership that “provides a strong strategic narrative which has widespread ownership and commitment from managers and employees at all levels. The narrative is a clearly expressed story about what the purpose of an organisation is, why it has the broad vision it has, and how an individual contributes to that purpose. Employees have a clear line of sight between their job and the narrative, and understand where their work fits in. These aims and values are reflected in a strong, transparent and explicit organisational culture and way of working.”

Engaging Managers, “at the heart of this organisational culture– they facilitate and empower rather than control or restrict their staff; they treat their staff with appreciation and respect and show commitment to developing, increasing and rewarding the capabilities of those they manage.”

Voice, “An effective and empowered employee voice – employees’ views are sought out; they are listened to and see that their opinions count and make a difference. They speak out and challenge when appropriate. A strong sense of listening and of responsiveness permeates the organisation, enabled by effective communication.”

Integrity, “Behaviour throughout the organisation [that] is consistent with stated values, leading to trust and a sense of integrity.”

A focus on these four areas, and some thought as to how improved communication techniques can deliver greater returns, sounds like a great place to start for any communications professional looking to make a difference to their organisation.

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