The Difference Between Employee Satisfaction and Employee Engagement

Employee Satisfaction - the difference between engaged and disengaged staff

People often use the terms “employee engagement” and “employee satisfaction” interchangeably, as synonyms. Although these terms have much in common, there are significant and important differences between employee engagement and employee satisfaction that need to be understood as these affect the future success of your organization. So, what are these differences?

What Is Employee Satisfaction?

Employee satisfaction is used to describe employees who are happy and content in their jobs and can fulfill their desires and needs at work. It is generally believed that employee satisfaction is a contributing factor to employee motivation, goal achievement and, in general, good morale in the workplace.

While an employee who finds satisfaction in work is good, it can also be a reason behind a mediocre performance. Surprising? Think about it this way, an employee who is fulfilled and generally has no need or interest to work harder for achievement or to overcome difficult obstacles would be an employee who is happy to keep performance as it is and only interested in maintaining the status quo. In fact, a satisfied employee may be perfectly comfortable with collecting a paycheck without worrying about having a better performance or improving to help the organization.

What Is Employee Engagement?

An engaged employee is described as a committed and devoted employee with a strong emotional connection to the organization. One who is focused on and vested in achieving company goals. An employee who is loyal to and advocates for the company, continually offering his discretionary effort and hard work to sustain high productivity and improve as an individual. These employees provide energy, pride, and enthusiasm in their work, are a team player and accountable for their responsibilities and also actively participate in company projects, assignments and they support of their colleagues.

Defining the Difference!

How do you define a highly engaged employee and how is this different from a moderately engaged employee or a satisfied employee? Is the difference the results you achieve? Possibly! Hard work is one contributing factor to high engagement but not the only factor. Let’s take a closer look at the difference.

Moderately Engaged Employees

Highly Engaged Employees

accomplish their tasks and responsibilities accomplish their tasks and responsibilities with increased efficiencies and continual efforts to improve
interact daily with colleagues strive to support, help and improve their colleague’s performance and results
sometimes get frustrated and upset when things don’t go as planned manage to avoid blaming others and maintain a positive attitude and enthusiasm towards their job and colleagues
get the products produced on time take the additional steps necessary to ensure products are top quality and without defects
often provide extra effort exhibit high energy and initiative to carry out their responsibilities and all extra tasks required
focus on completing their jobs or tasks also offer suggestions on improvements, cost cutting ideas to bring new efficiencies to the workplace
can sometimes get caught up in their own responsibilities also contribute to the bigger picture seeking win/win solutions for everyone involved
face challenges and setbacks in efforts to achieve company goals achieve and surpass company goals despite obstacles
look after customer needs understand the critical importance of pleasing customers and it is this willingness and “effort to please” that builds strong and profitable customer relationships
put in there required workday happily constantly act as company advocates; in social situations, in the community, clubs and associations etc. This advocacy helps attract new talent and introduce new clients to the company
can get down and stressed when faced with change and company challenges understand the need for change to compete effectively in the marketplace and more easily adapt to and support change

Benefits of Employee Engagement

Highly engaged employees bring their companies added value, in many cases with the same training or comparable wages as a moderately engaged employees. This can be through higher skills, better alignment, increased focus and effort, etc. With increasing competition, all customers seek added value in the products and services they need!

Highly engaged employees typically account for only 20% of the workforce. If you can improve engagement levels by even a few percentage points (such as 10-15-20%) it can have a positive and significant impact on business success. For example, provide training for employees to develop more skills or help them find meaning in their work to increase focus on company goals, it can pay huge dividends to the overall organization. It is incumbent on employers to create the right environment for employees that will allow them to raise their performance levels and be the best that they can be.

Successful leaders and companies find ways to encourage, nurture, develop and cultivate the attitudes and behaviours they require that will lead to high employee engagement.