Paradoxes of Engagement: Workers are not Assets
They are investors.
The conventional story about internal communications runs something like this:
The company would like employees to be more engaged because this leads to a series of positive effects, including higher productivity, greater innovation, and the willingness to speak well of the company, which leads to attracting more and better candidates to consider joining the firm.
Effective internal communication has been shown to be one of the most critical factors influencing employee engagement along with belief in leadership, alignment with company vision, and a sense of belonging. Note that these latter factors have to be communicated, so internal communications are the medium through which employees can gain and retain those beliefs, that alignment, and that sense of belonging.
Therefore, the company has a strong motivation to develop and maintain an effective internal communications program.
But, if we take a step back, and think about this more broadly, it could be we are missing the larger picture. Let’s think about the employee, especially in the case where the magic in the story above isn’t working. Perhaps it’s more practical to consider that the disengaged employee would like to see changes in the organization that would increase their engagement, and perhaps that of others.
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