Sumit goes to work at 10:00 am, is contended with the salary he gets and is free to leave at 4:00 pm. He claims to be quite happy with the job. But wait! Is this the kind of satisfaction the HR department is yearning for? Aren’t they looking for more? While employee satisfaction is necessary for employees to feel happy or content about the jobs that they do and also about the work environment, employee engagement refers to the initiatives by the organization which enhance productivity as the employees are more passionate, committed and engaged with their work. It’s a disaster if employees enjoy the routine work but are not engaged to take it to the next level.
Though satisfied employees are less likely to leave the jobs, the kind of contribution and commitment shown by those engaged with their work is way beyond the regular tasks they are supposed to carry. An engaged employee usually fulfills the 3 S test. He/She stays with the organization, says good about the organization to all and strives for growth and development. Despite the differences, organizations fail to put investments in distinguishing one from another and focus merely on satisfaction. One major reason is that it is more difficult to measure Engagement as compared to Satisfaction. Also, the latter may be easily achieved through transactional measures while the former takes a more transformational approach.
Companies implementing the Employee Engagement practice right, understand the importance of linking HR practices with the Business Strategy and realize the importance of pan-organization involvement to achieve the business objectives. It is significant to note that investing in engaging employees is a direct investment in customer satisfaction. The way management treats the personnel, is exactly how they will treat the customers.
With Gen X and Gen Y, forming an increasing part of the workforce, the traditional practices to motivate employees are becoming obsolete. Employees are no more looking for the best pay, but a well-balanced job which will ensure their Well-being in all respects and give them ample opportunities for growth and development. Be it Google’s transparency, American Express ‘focus on behaviors, Hyatt’s development initiatives, or, the cultures, which encourage creativity, collaboration, and learning, make employees feel valued by their firms. When the focus is not just on the ‘what’ part but also on the ‘how’ part of achieving the objectives, strong engagement with the employer and colleagues happens. A sense of belongingness is developed which motivates performance beyond the call of duty.
As more and more organizations start to realize the importance of Employee engagement practices and their outcome, they will be able to attract, tap and develop the right talent. Productivity levels will automatically improve and retention will be focused on engaged rather than simply satisfied workers.