It’s important for employers and brand leaders to understand the difference between Employee Satisfaction and Employee Engagement. These terms are often used synonymously, but their differences are significant when aligned with specific company goals.
Satisfied employees are happy with their job, they carry low turnover risk, and they are consistently strong performers. It is a good thing to have satisfied employees.
Engaged employees are emotionally invested in their job, they are passionate about seeing the company succeed, and they are willing to go above-and-beyond to contribute. It is a great thing to have engaged employees.
While these two employee characteristics commonly go hand-in-hand, it’s possible to have a satisfied employee who is not engaged. When this is the case, brands are at risk of overlooking potential productivity gaps and missed growth opportunities.
Imagine an employee who has a livable salary, competitive benefits, and a comfortable work environment. They show up to work on time, perform their job adequately, and leave at the 8 hour mark. When this person is asked if they are happy with their job, they reply affirmatively and comment they have no intention of seeking other employment opportunities. From an employee satisfaction perspective, scores are high and all is well.
Now, let’s take that same employee scenario but shift to an engagement perspective. Company executives set lofty performance goals for their sales staff and it’s the responsibility of the sales manager to ensure those goals are achieved. The company’s Q1 review shows sales are lagging and more than a few leads have slipped through the cracks. In an effort to inspire the sales staff, the manager encourages everyone to give a little extra effort for the remainder of the year. However, the Q2 review shows no change in sales performance. At this rate, the annual sales goals will not be achieved and the company executives will be looking for answers.
Despite their sputtering performance the employees are still happy and satisfied. The problem is… they aren’t engaged.
It’s easy to make the assumption that a satisfied employee will maximize their potential simply because they are happy where they are. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, it’s possible for an employee to be happy and satisfied with their job BECAUSE they aren’t being held to high performance standards.
This is why it’s important for companies to regularly collect feedback from their employees regarding both satisfaction AND engagement. From new-hires to tenured veterans, there’s a lot to be gained by asking employees a few simple questions about their responsibilities, support from leadership and overall environment. The resulting insights will enable company leadership to develop a culture of productivity, motivation and inspiration.
When is the last time you asked for employee feedback? What you don’t know could be costing you more than the investment to find out.
For over 30 years we have partnered with brands across the country to address employee satisfaction and engagement objectives which have positively impacted performance and bottom-line results.
We live and breathe this stuff, so we’re here to chat if you have any questions. Give us a shout!