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The role of (internal) communication in improving employee engagement

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The role of internal communication is often underestimated when it comes to increasing employee engagement. Yet communication is a critical success factor. Communication connects all factors that are important in increasing employee engagement.


The importance of employee engagement

Happy and motivated employees are of great value to an organisation. Motivated employees who are involved in the organisation can be used sustainably. They enjoy working and are willing to get the best out of themselves. That in itself creates more success in the long term, for itself, for the customer, and for the organization. Internal communication plays an important role in this.


The role of (internal) communication

Your employees will be involved and inspired when their talents and passions coincide with the ambitions and goals of your company. There is one crucial element – the lubricating oil – that links all factors together: communication! Communication aims to connect people and organisations by removing unfamiliarity, ambiguity, and uncertainty. In addition, it can facilitate dialogue between employer, manager, and employee. That’s the role of internal communication in improving employee engagement. And it’s not an easy role. Communication, just like HR, is a profession in its own right.


Management’s biggest bottleneck

Managers spend as much as one or two thirds of their time on interaction and information exchange. They are therefore enormously important in shaping the cultural communication climate of their organisation. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always go so well. Time and again, research shows that (a lack of) feedback and communication by managers is one of the biggest obstacles to employee engagement.


Research shows that:


We see similar results in a study by Effectory (Europe’s leading provider of employee listening solutions):


Higher employee engagement through communication

Communication plays a role in improving employee engagement in several ways.


At an organisational level

Increasing employee involvement in the organization by:


At management level

A manager depends on the expertise and commitment of their employees. A good relationship is therefore a prerequisite for good management. Managers who are aware of the impact of their communication style are the most successful. Communication plays an important role in this:



At employee level

Improving the involvement of employees and enabling and stimulating the employee to show their involvement.



Causes of miscommunication

Because communication is influenced by various factors, things often go wrong ‘along the way’. Information is selective, or provided with its own interpretation. Or worse: the provision of information is stalled because managers fail to pass it on in work or department meetings. The organisational structure can also be a cause; if it’s not clear or logical, noise may be generated. For example, when an employee is working on a project and is informed by someone, as well as project department manager, an assumption is made that the other has informed the employee.


A lot can go wrong in parallel communication. For example, there are insufficient or incorrectly implemented internal communication tools or messages that don’t arrive for technical reasons, such as when they cannot be found on a crowded intranet. And even if a message does reach the employee, it can go wrong if it isn’t understood. Messages are increasingly not read, either because of information overload, lack of time, or simply disinterest.

Erik Broeder

Managing Partner

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