Monday, December 10, 2012

Communication Research needed for Employee Engagement

PodUniversal Edition 157

I had the opportunity of going through the book 'Employee Engagement and Communication Research' authored by Ms Susan Walker ABC, from London.  This book was  published last month  by Kogan Page Limited at London and US.

Generally all the companies make huge noise about the employee motivation and employee satisfaction.  But in reality, they remain more in paper.  A serious research or study is not made by any company to understand the ground reality of the employee perceptions.  Whatever the surveys done in the name of 'employee satisfaction survey' serve the ISO audit purposes only.

In this book, Susan deals with the various aspects of communication research, development questionnaire,  measurement, interpretation of  data, strategies and action to be adopted.  She also explains as to how such communication research can help the companies in the employee engagement.

The author has divided the 20 chapters into three sections, viz. (a) Measurement, (b) Strategy and (c) implementation.  Even the complicated technical details have been presented in a simple manner.  She has also shared interesting and relevant case studies in these chapters.

This book will serve as a good handbook for the Communication Managers, HR Managers and Research organisations.  This book is available in UK, USA and in India.

The author Susan’s career began in the internal communications field before joining Market and Opinion Research International (MORI), the major UK research agency where she headed the employee research practice. She is now running her own engagement and communication evaluation research business.

Susan is  a Fellow of the Institute of Internal Communication and an  Accredited  Business 
Communicator (IABC). She has held various posts within IABC UK Chapter in the past and presented 
at events worldwide including IABC conferences in New York, Los Angeles and Brussels. 

The author can be contacted through mail at

I interviewed Susan  over mobile.  Please listen to the interesting conversation.  The transcript of this conversation is also given below the YouTube flash player.  This podcast can also be listened from (6 minutes)

Transcript of this conversation:

What prompted you to write this book?

I was inspired to write the book because I had looked at the market and there were books about research, and engagement and communication but there were really no books that tied all three together and looked at employee research from that point of view - that is what stimulated me to write the book.

What is employee engagement?

Well, there are all sorts of definitions of employee engagement and I think a lot if it is down to an employee who is interested in the company, understands its purpose, who feels part of it – and that feeling that they with the organization and want to help it.

Many companies conduct  conduct employee satisfaction surveys for ISO purposes. can it be considered as communication research?

Yes, I  think so, it concerns satisfaction which is really I suppose another work for engagement and especially if there are communications quests as well, I think It would be considered as engagement and communication research.

What are the areas covered by you in the book?

Three main areas: first of all measurement. This covers basis tools such as objective questionnaire design, statistical reliability, sampling. Then the second section about strategy which is engaging senior management, looking at benefits of research and linking with the business. Then the third section about action planning, defining what needs to be done from the survey results. And also a number of case studies and also interviews with leading professionals around the world: an important part of the book to have that global perspective.

What is the trend of communication research globally?

Interesting talking to people from all over the world Brazil, Russia ,China and of course India and although circumstances and cultures vary it seems that many of the challenges we face are the same The prime one being engaging senior management and convincing senior management that it is worthwhile measuring their employee engagement and communications. Also making sure that action happens as a result. So although we may come from different places, we all seem to share the same challenges.

Somewhere in your book, you have mentioned about 'Arthasastra'.  How you got impressed with Arthasastra?

What impressed me, it was written many thousands of years ago and people think things written a long time ago have nothing to teach us. In fact this is said to be the very first management book that was ever written. But what impressed me was that it did not just look at aspects like the military and the economy but it also looked at welfare. And a lot of the advice which was then said to be for the King could be said nowadays to be about the CEO of the organsiation – like the King of the organization. And I felt that a lot of what was written there was just as applicable today as it was then.


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