POPin Blog

Employee Satisfaction vs. Employee Engagement

Most leaders recognize that employee satisfaction must be the foundation for any healthy company. For workers to be productive, they first must feel comfortable about their bosses, colleagues, workloads, compensation packages and company resources. Yet employee satisfaction is just the starting point to achieve real organizational health. In certain cases, those same satisfied employees could be the very ones who are poisoning the workplace culture, or the ones who aren’t carrying their own weight. Even though they feel satisfied with their jobs, they are having a negative effect on the company, which might be better off without them. Employee engagement goes beyond just covering the basic needs and concerns of workers. Employee engagement reflects the passion that dedicated workers feel for their jobs. Satisfied employees are content with their positions, but engaged employees take it one step further because they truly care. Engaged employees demonstrate a real commitment to their organizations by putting additional, unprompted effort into their work. They are motivated to give more than is asked of them, and that extra level of effort can become contagious. Engaged employees inspire those around them by setting a positive example. They bring a consistently upbeat attitude into the workplace that rubs off on others. Therefore, taking pulse surveys to gauge employee satisfaction is not the best way to give leaders a complete picture of workforce alignment. After all, contented workers might express real satisfaction for their jobs which require little effort or focus, but how can that situation help drive progress or create value for the company? All companies need to deal with staff turnover, and some level of turnover can be beneficial – especially the departure of disengaged workers who are not adding value. At the same time, leaders should strive to identify and keep their most engaged employees. Anonymous crowd-solving tools can help uncover the festering problems that lead to disengagement. Motivated, high-performing employees expect more from their employers than job satisfaction alone. They are seeking options for career development and other non-financial incentives. Unlike their laggard colleagues, engaged employees want to embrace new responsibilities and overcome difficult challenges. They need to feel they are part of something important and bigger than themselves. Companies that only measure for employee satisfaction may be reinforcing wrong behaviors and effectively retaining their least effective workers. The goal for long-term retention should be to identify and galvanize the most engaged people on the team, and then do everything possible to help them achieve their goals for personal and professional development.