Trick question Yes. Since this is a joke question, the answer must also be no. Many organizations mistakenly believe that employee satisfaction and engagement are the same. They waste time and energy on initiatives that don’t produce the desired results.

Does that mean employers shouldn’t be concerned about employee satisfaction? No, not. Satisfied employees will be more engaged and productive. It is not true that active and productive employees are automatically happy. This article will help you understand the differences between engagement and satisfaction to create satisfied employees who are also engaged at work.

What is employee satisfaction?

The difference between what is expected and what happens determines satisfaction. This expectation compares needs and wants with what’s realistically achievable. For example, if a burger meets your need for food, but you wish to lobster, your satisfaction will depend on how well you can balance your desire for lobster and the reality of a burger. Employee satisfaction refers to the satisfaction of employment expectations. If your needs, wants, and assessment of the fair market price lead you to expect $50,000 in salary, then anything less is unsatisfactory.

Compensation is just one factor that affects employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction is determined through an employee’s emotional assessment and analytic evaluation. The degree to which an employee is satisfied will depend on whether their expectations match their experience. This experience can include communication, rewards, career advancement, the workplace environment, perks, and more. It also contains actual compensation.

The smaller the gap between expectations and reality, the more satisfied employees will be with their job. It’s a measure of safety that can give employees a sense of stability, reduce stress, and discourage job-hunting. At best, high satisfaction levels allow them to concentrate on their work without distraction. Dissatisfaction, on the other hand, breeds apathy, resentment, and uncertainty. Unsatisfied workers are less loyal and less likely to recommend employers to friends looking for jobs.

The importance of employee satisfaction in a healthy employer-employee relationship is evident. Employers should invest time and resources into measuring and maintaining this. But employee satisfaction is just one aspect of the equation.

What is Employee Engagement?

Employee Engagement is what motivates employees to work hard at their jobs. Employee engagement is related to employee happiness in the same manner as love and happiness. Both are feelings that are often coexistent and causally related, but whereas joy and satisfaction are internally felt, passion and involvement involve a relationship. You must have someone or something to love to love or be engaged.

Employee engagement includes much more than employee satisfaction. Psychologists looking for a term to describe employer-employee relationships other than “job satisfaction” examined factors such as motivation, interest, and enthusiasm. The word “engagement” was chosen to encompass all these ideas.

Talent management that works

Engagement, like satisfaction, comes from multiple sources. The drivers of employment can be complex and multifaceted, and attention never results from a single thing. Some factors are external, while others, such as the personal needs and wants that determine employee satisfaction, depend on the individual. Experts differ on the degree to which each of these elements affects an employee’s level of engagement.

Resources – if what is provided is enough to do the job.

Employee expectations – How well they understand what is expected of them.

Feedback – How clearly and consistently is work evaluated?

How the organization rewards achievement.

Compensation – How fair the organization pays its employees compared to market rates.

How significant is the employee’s contribution to the organization?

The employee’s sense of purpose is what they feel that they contribute to society.

Camaraderie is the feeling of connection between coworkers.

The Relationship between Satisfaction & Engagement

Still confused? While the two concepts are similar in many ways, they differ significantly. If they’re not engaged, satisfied employees may become complacent or unproductive. Otherwise, employees involved can become disengaged and ineffective if they’re unhappy with their employer.

Employee satisfaction is not the same as employee engagement. You need both to get your best performance from your workforce. Many companies have wasted money and time by assuming otherwise. They are not getting the results they want.

What causes this? Here are some classic cases where organizations fall short.

When companies prioritize perks such as free food, games rooms, and creature conveniences over engagement issues like career advancement or alignment.

Undercompensation is when compensation is below market rates or causes financial concern for employees, even though the work is rewarding and the feedback is constructive.

Overcompensation is when employees are motivated only to work the minimum to earn a paycheck.

Uncertain expectations: When a lack of direction leads highly motivated and fairly compensated employees to feel frustrated and unsure of their value

Career stagnation – when employees are satisfied and engaged in their current roles but have no clear path to advancement or skill development/diversification

All of these could lead to adverse outcomes that can be prevented by focusing our attention on job satisfaction. These include undesirable turnover, low productivity, low morale, and hiring and retention issues, to name a couple.

Creating Satisfaction through Engagement

Employee satisfaction and engagement are steps towards a larger goal: developing a loyal, productive, and happy workforce. Engagement is the first step in developing both. Instead of focusing on one aspect to improve satisfaction, like a higher salary or creating a more friendly workplace, take action back and look at all the factors influencing the relationship between employer and employee. Focus on strengthening this bond holistically. Ask questions, get feedback, and communicate more about any initiatives or changes that result from these discussions. Be sure to address employee needs, share resources, and have a clear company vision. This will make it easier for your employees to align themselves. Managers should be trained to provide clear expectations and consistent, constructive feedback. Promote your company’s values at all levels and ensure they are always exemplified. Focus on culture first and foremost at all times.

How to Gain Insight through Employee Satisfaction

You’ll build employee satisfaction by doing everything listed in the previous section. This kind of employee satisfaction is stable for your workforce and can unlock a valuable asset: data on employee satisfaction, which indicates engagement. By prioritizing employee engagement over happiness, you can create a hidden benefit.

Measuring employee engagement has become a popular business strategy in the past five years. The differences between employee engagement and satisfaction are not immediately apparent or easy to explain. (As this article shows) If you study these concepts carefully, you will soon realize that identifying the sources of employee satisfaction and engagement can provide valuable insights into your organization’s people and performance.

By Vicki

‘HR Shopper’ has a 10 years of experience in management and HR in top 2 global MNC’s. Understanding the employee needs as well as organization productivity she adopts the techniques that create perfect balance satisfying the needs of both.

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