Thursday February 25, 2016
What has our Kevin Ruck learned from six years of PhD study into internal communication and employee engagement? Many of you will know Kevin as he course leads our Internal Communication Diploma and is the editor of Exploring Internal Communication.
You can read Kevin's reflections in full over on his blog, but below are a few edited highlights.....
Kevin says: "It is difficult to summarise all the findings from my research in this blog. However, I can say that internal communication is associated with organisational engagement (which is different from job engagement). No surprise there of course. You’d expect this. However, my study suggests that the association is more of an emotional than a rational (cognitive) connection. When employees receive the information that they expect in the right way and when they are given a voice that is treated seriously this makes them feel more valued. And this is also associated with what employees do to help the organisation succeed. Importantly, these associations were consistent for all five organisations in the study, although more research is required to establish this as a generalisable finding.
Another key finding is that employees expect senior managers, not line managers, to talk to them about how the wider organisation is doing. This is because they know that line managers do not have nearly as much in-depth knowledge about what is going on as senior managers. Instead, employees expect line managers to talk about local team matters. This has clear implications for cascade style briefing systems.
Employees in my study said that they prefer senior manager communication to be face to face in small gatherings, where the emphasis is on informal communication with plenty of opportunity for discussion. However, in two organisations in my study satisfaction with senior manager communication and employee voice was poor, reflecting some of the results reported in other studies.
Although the research has generated many interesting findings, as mentioned above, I can’t publish them all in detail here. However, the following points summarise the implications of what I found for practice:
• Senior managers should allocate more time for personal communication rather than expect information to be cascaded through levels of management
• Senior manager ‘town hall’ style events could be replaced or complemented with face to face events with a smaller number of employees so that they feel more comfortable in making a contribution
• Employees expect senior managers to update them on where the organisation is going, the strategy, progress and what the future looks like, using the ‘language of the people’, not corporate PowerPoint presentations
• Employees expect managers to listen to what they have to say as they report that this is a sign of a progressive organisation
• The emphasis of line manager communication should be local operational issues."
Congrats Kevin from all of us! You can read his full post over on his blog.