Employee satisfaction vs Employee engagement

When you ask yourself how happy you are with the job you’re doing at the moment, do you then say: “I’m satisfied”? Or do you say: ”I’m engaged”? I.e. are you the one on the wagon, enjoying the company of others who are also satisfied? Or are you the one in front of the bus, hence the one pulling the wagon? The one who is trying to make a difference within the team and/or organization. Or are you actively disengaged, holding back team and organizational development? And what about your staff? How and to what extent do they contribute to the organization?

Employee engagement importance

As an HR Manager or Director you feel the pressure of the board to measure employee satisfaction every once in a while. But why the board wants you to measure employee satisfaction instead of employee engagement is often the big question. Is it that the board and HR are still unaware of the difference between the two? Or is it because they want to keep their “assets” satisfied, giving themselves the idea that they are listened to, without being concerned if satisfaction or engagement is measured.

When you read Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report (2013)* you’ll find that there are a lot of satisfied employees around the world. However, only a minority of employees is engaged. In addition, a relatively large group is actively disengaged, holding back organizational development.

All in all, we want our employees to be happy in their field of work and their job. Besides, we also want them to be happy with the organization. We want them to be proud and engaged, telling their family and friends stories about what a great place your organization is to work for. About the things you do as an employer in order to motivate them, offer personal development opportunities and so on.

As an organization, you should therefore ask yourself the question: “What should I do to engage my staff?”.

Time consuming exercise

We see organizations measuring once a year or even once every two years. And some don’t measure at all. But why do we measure, and what is the purpose of measuring employee satisfaction or engagement in relation to output? Knowing it is a time consuming exercise not only for the HR department, mostly responsible for these processes, but also for management and teams themselves.

When you measure once a year or once every two years, the only thing you get is old data from the previous period. Nowadays data is old before you even looked at it. Action lists based on data from an employee satisfaction survey that are recorded a while ago are therefore hard to use.  It’s data from the past, old news! Taking action based on this data is like putting the cart before the horse. Your actions are time consuming and will get you no were. It will even consume more time, when finding out that actions taken are actually not relevant anymore. Considering the resources (time and money), I would advise to rethink the exercise before starting another.

Boosting engagement

When you really care about your staff and involve them in the decision making process, or try to get them really engaged, continuously measuring employee engagement through a real time online employee survey, is key. Not just once a year! No, on a daily or weekly basis monitoring the temperature of your staff and organization overall. Giving you the insight you need to get your staff really engaged!

Need help on measuring engagement?

If you could need some help on monitoring employee engagement in your organization, please leave a comment or get in contact with me.


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