Organizational Engagement and Communications (OEC) – Why organizations need BOTH.

Written by Caroline Lavigne on December 1, 2020.

Organizational Engagement (OE) can be defined as “the relationship between the employee and the organization”.

Organizational Communications (OC), on the other hand, has been defined as “the channels and forms of communication that occur within organizations”.

The first is about relationship management, while the later is about information management.

Organizations tend to focus on communications first, and engagement second, if at all. In my opinion, this is due to the fact that it is much easier to demonstrate the effects information sharing has on a workforce, in comparison to demonstrating the effects building relationships has on a workforce.

When considering Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, OC ensures employees are informed, allowing them to do their work, which helps them meet their basic needs (i.e. a paycheck). When organizations use OE to build relationships with and amongst employees, the organization contributes to employees meeting their psychological needs. According to Maslow, it is only when a person (i.e. an employee) fulfils their basic and psychological needs can they achieve one’s full potential (i.e. one’s full performance abilities).

It’s known that healthy relationships require good communications. It’s also known that even the greatest communication efforts will be most effective when relationships are good.

This is why organizations need to start thinking about Organizational Engagement and Communications (OEC) (rather than limiting efforts to Organizational Communications (OC)).

There are many ways to engage employees – workshops, meetings, trainings, team building activities, contests, etc. – but not all engagement efforts are right for every situation. In organizational engagement, it is important to first understand where the people are, what are the team dynamics.

Only by meeting the people where they are can organizational engagement effectively build  strong and meaningful relationships that will help the organization, and its people fulfil their potential.

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