Picture an employee coming to work, completing all deliverables as per the to-do-list and leaving as per scheduled time. Now visualise another employee displaying an entrepreneurial mindset, looking for ways to contribute beyond the job. Which one do you think is engaged?
Employee Satisfaction vs. Employee Engagement
Let’s break this down – employee satisfaction is essentially job satisfaction. It answers the questions of how content an employee is with the job or employer with regard to the basic needs like salary, infrastructure, work culture etc. A satisfied employee is one that’s happy in the company and the role his/her job fulfils in life.
Employee engagement, on the other hand, is something that goes beyond the job role and happiness. An engaged employee is aligned with the company’s vision and goals and this impacts his/her productivity and performance at work. Ultimately, an engaged employee is likely to stay longer in the organization.
Does your organisation have satisfied or engaged employees?
If you’re wondering what could be the answer to this question at your organization, here are a few cues to gage-
• Do your employees know and live the company’s values and support your vision?
• Are your employees your brand ambassadors - Identify oneself as one with the organization with pride?
• Do they look beyond tasks and collaborate with others towards the larger goal?
• Are they open to communication in taking and sharing feedback?
• Are they constantly looking for ways to learn new things and grow as individuals?
If you see the above indicative factors, reward them! If you don’t, it’s time to encourage them.
How can employee satisfaction lead to employee engagement?
Even though an employee may seem content with the job, and this is more often that not enough to retain employees, it is not enough to ensure productivity. Engagement, however, has proved to result in higher productivity levels in an employee.
In an instance reported by Decision Wise, an individual chooses to be engaged in what they do, overlooking the elements of satisfaction in the given situation. Examining the instance in question, the elements of engagement are clearly defined as MAGIC – meaning, autonomy, growth, impact and connection. An engaged and motivated individual will look for these elements as they play a greater role and hold more value than the basic needs of satisfaction.
But can you be sure?
Yes! Engagement involves the heart, hands and mind of the employee as compared to a transactional relationship witnessed with employee satisfaction. Engaged employees brings a contribution to the organization and unique ideas to the table. Their choice to do a certain task a certain way leaves an impression in the work accomplished by them. That’s when you know – your satisfied employee is highly engaged at the workplace.
Improving Employee Engagement
For a highly productive workforce and a better bottom line, it is essential to focus on employee engagement and not satisfaction. As the experts say –
While an engaged employee is satisfied with his/her job, a satisfied employee isn’t necessary engaged with the job.
Here’s how we can make a workspace more engaged-
- Build a foundation: Engage your employees in Pre-onboarding/Onboarding activities through creative and digital mediums to get to know them better and also help them understand the organization better
- Listen to your employees: All your employees want is to be heard! Leading a team gets easier when you pay attention to your members, address issues, act on feedback and make them feel valued
- Peer to peer recognition: Recognition in any form is an important psychological need, when this comes from your fellow employees that usually spend the most time with you and know the amount of effort and time you put into your work makes it even more meaningful. It also helps in creating a positive feedback loop for daily tasks and an overall environment of gratitude. This can be as creative or simple as you’d like, for example, a recognition box where employees can deposit appreciation notes for their colleagues.
- Rewards & Incentives: Similarly, it is also important to ensure that the senior management team also appreciates outstanding work by employees, as ultimately they are the decision-makers in the firm. While monetary recognition is one option, other activities such as identifying an employer of the month or offering flexible work hours can foster higher engagement and motivation amongst employees.
- Monthly engagements beyond festivals: Celebrating festivals at the office is a great way to keep employees engaged, however, companies today are going the extra mile to celebrate socially relevant days and participate in the community to keep their employees involved and contributing towards a greater good. For example, recycling drives on World Earth Day or visiting old-age homes to spend the day with senior citizens. This ensures a holistic lifestyle for employees, where they feel the satisfaction of being part of something bigger than simply their day job.
- Building skills of the future: With the ever-evolving role of technology and the environment today, it is more important than ever to make long-term investments in employee skill development. Whether this be through cross-training programs, expert workshops or continuous feedback, it is essential to keep your employees at the forefront of global innovations to maintain their interest levels and ensure competence.