The role of senior managers at the North-West University in internal communication and employee engagement
Mmope, Phumzile Pheladi
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The rationale that effective internal communication plays a crucial role in aligning employees to organisational goals, and in so doing, inculcate employee engagement and help an organisation to succeed, is remodelling internal communication management within organisations. At the core of the preceding rationale lies the fundamental realisation and acknowledgement that effective internal communication is not the function of the communication department, but in effect a basic prerequisite that must be understood, embraced and practiced by all levels of management. Managers without effective internal communication and employee engagement cannot execute the responsibility of strategic alignment. The challenge is now to ensure that the internal communication process is approached as a properly structured and efficiently managed system, rather than a collection of fragmented messages that often cause confusion among employees and compel disengagement. This study explores to what extent the senior managers at the North-West University understand their fundamental role in facilitating effective internal communication and employee engagement. An extensive literature study revealed that there is a correlation between effective internal communication and understanding of organisational strategy and objectives among employees. In addition, a strong correlation between effective internal communication, employee engagement, employee performance and organisational profitability has been identified in literature. The empirical findings were obtained by means of a qualitative research method in the form of semi-structured interviews with senior and middle managers. The semi-structured interviews explored and described how the managers perceive the nature of their role in facilitating and sustaining effective internal communication and employee engagement. In comparing the actual role of senior managers at the University in internal communication and employee engagement with the ideal state related to D'Aprix's (1996) manager's communication model, as well as the principles of a convergence model of communication, information richness of communication channels, a leadership communication framework and the impact of highest scoring manager activities and attributes, it was concluded that this communication role is still misunderstood by senior managers and not properly structured and executed. Consequently, internal communication is not adequately fulfilling its strategic potential as a means to establish positive relationships, diffuse information, motivate, and align employees' actions and behaviour to the set goals of the University. It is suggested that future studies measure and determine whether the engagement levels of employees at the North-West University have increased as a result of managers fulfilling their internal communication role effectively. Another study could also assess and measure the effectiveness of internal communication channels, with the view to develop an internal communication channel guide or toolkit for managers at the North-West University. The key drivers of employee engagement and related effect on the North-West University's performance could also be explored and measured in future research studies.
- Humanities 
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