Topic: Engagement and Leadership Communication
Author(s), Title and Publication
Welch, M. (2011). The evolution of the employee engagement concept: Communication implications. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 16(4), 328-346.
This essay and research review clarified the concept of employee engagement. The author provided an overview of employee engagement related research and identified stages in the evolution of the concept. The literature review showed that employee engagement has attracted interest from business and consultancies since the 1990s, and began to attract academic attention in the later half of the 2010s. The review distinguished employee engagement from organizational commitment, and suggested that though both concepts note positive relationships between employees and their organizations, employee engagement is usually considered an antecedent or a component of commitment.
The review also explored the role of internal communication in enhancing employee engagement and proposed a conceptual model. The model suggests that employees’ organizational commitment is associated with their engagement levels and is affected by leadership communication. To be specific, supervisory communication that encourages a sense of belonging to the organization may enhance employees’ emotional engagement (dedication). Supervisory communication that informs employees with the changing organizational environment and evolving goals may increase employees’ cognitive engagement level (absorption). As a result, high levels of emotional engagement and cognitive engagement may lead to higher levels of physical engagement (vigor behavior) and strengthen organizational performance.
Implications for Practice
Communicators should consider appropriate communication strategies to engage employees. These may include: 1) taking care of the tone of communication; 2) providing highly emotionally engaged employees with information validating their sense of belonging to the organization; and 3) providing highly cognitively engaged employees with materials that help them better understand organizational goals and how their work supports achieving the goals.
Location of Article
The article is available online at: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=1955994 (abstract free, purchase full article)