Engaging Employees is Less About Communication, More About Culture

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When we ask managers, directors, and executives about what they think the most critical key to management and employee engagement is, “communication” is a standard answer. Usually, we will hear the same response from their employees. What if there was something bigger governing this shared idea about the way we communicate with one another? Even in a company full of experienced communicators, one thing can still be missing.

The missing piece is company culture.

People's attitudes and the environments that they work in have a widespread effect on how impactful things like feedback, direction, and even small conversations have in the workplace. They have an enormous influence on the outcomes of your team's correspondences, such as their receptiveness and emotional impact. Your culture can drive your employees to listen and be more responsive, resulting in more efficient and integrated communication flows.

Hearing and not listening, a symptom of a passive team culture.

Have you ever noticed instances of an employee routinely losing interest in a meeting or work conversation? Maybe you frequently experience situations where your directives or pep talks metaphorically “fall on deaf ears.” These indicators are a sign of a less engaged and more passive work experience. We find that in companies with high engagement and retention, active listening and a more proactive approach to meetings are common practices among employees. When your teams are engaged and motivated by their work, they’re more likely to listen, take notes, follow-up, and follow through with requests. In conjunction with managing a workforce based on the company’s culture and core values, companies motivate employees to keep the corporate culture alive and to demonstrate supporting behaviors alongside their peers.

A sense of community creates meaningful communications.

When employees feel disconnected from one another, especially if they are on a team together, they will also feel disconnected from their work and their company. If managers foster a dynamic that encourages employees to get to know one another on a more authentic level, their shared sense of community grows stronger. Harsh interactions like giving feedback and constructive criticism become more comfortable to deliver when the receiving individual can reason them for the greater good of the community.

In a 2005 study, Professor Andrew Miner (then of the University of Minnesota) and his colleagues discovered that employees reacted to a negative interaction with their boss six times more strongly than they responded to a positive one with their boss. Negative moments between an employee and a manager can have significant adverse effects, like leading the employee to become more resentful of their managers or jobs. In turn, an engaged employee who actively participates in the workplace would be more receptive because they strive to improve their performance on behalf of the culture and community. 

Bridge the gaps through culture. 

Strengthening your way of life at work can empower employees to engage in more productive and meaningful interactions with one another. It often produces a better sense of community, which creates a positive and safe environment for both giving and receiving feedback. Effective communication is an indicator of proper management, but it is also a result of a robust, corporate culture based on core values.


Ready to use communication more effectively in your workplace? 

DH offers a workshop just for that! Transform communication and its effectiveness with our Happy Communication workshop. Explore more options below: 


Learn More About DH Workshops Here 


About the Author

Briana Krueger


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