The role of a positive communication climate to increase employee engagement levels has not been sufficiently researched, with only a limited number of studies showing the direct relationship between communication climate and employee engagement. Despite the fact that communication is widely accepted as a key driver for increased levels of engagement, few studies have been conducted to understand this relationship. For communication to have a central place in the structure, extensiveness and scope of organisations, communication climate must play a much more encompassing role in employee engagement than has previously been suggested. This study thus proposes that communication climate influences the effectiveness of certain job resources (autonomy, performance feedback, and opportunities for learning and development), which, in turn, influences levels of employee engagement. Focus is placed not only on the perspective of management but also on that of non-managers.
Quantitative survey research was conducted to determine the influence of communication climate on the studied job resources leading to increased employee engagement. Stratified random sampling was performed in four short-term insurance organisations in South Africa. Data were gathered from management and non-management using a self-administered, internet-based questionnaire. Data were analysed through factor analysis and structural equation modeling.
The results indicate that communication climate may have an influence on job resources to improve employee engagement. This was the case for both managers and non-managers. Therefore, if communication climate is improved, it may positively impact on employees’ perceptions of certain job resources, which may increase their engagement levels. Furthermore, there was a difference between the perceptions that management and non-management have towards the influence of communication climate on job resources to improve employee engagement. In conclusion, managers should be cognisant of the fact that their perceptions are different from those of their subordinates, and if they wish to improve their subordinates’ engagement levels, they must acknowledge and understand these differences.