Tip #758: Employee Engagement AND Satisfaction

“It all came down to employee engagement. It all came down to recognition. It all came down to leadership, which led to every sailor feeling ownership and accountability for the results. You can ask a team to accomplish a mission, but you can’t order excellence.”–Mike Abrashoff, Commander USS Benfold (retired)

Did you know that employee engagement and employee satisfaction are two different things? An employee can be satisfied but not engaged, as well as engaged but not satisfied.

Engagement versus Satisfaction

This is a new concept for me, but it rings true. As a workaholic, I have aways been engaged with my work, often dedicated and passionate about it. But only rarely have I been satisfied because I lacked management recognition, coworker support and a positive relationship with my immediate supervisor.

When an employee is dedicated to the job, focused on outcomes, but frustrated by forces that he perceives to work against him as he works for his desired outcome, that employee is engaged but not satisfied.

When an employee shows up for work, has good relationships with coworkers, but rarely goes above and beyond because she believes she has the potential to work on things she finds more important than her assigned duties, that employee may be satisfied but not engaged.

The authors of Biz Library’s “Real Strategies to Improve Employee Engagement” point out that corporations invest thousands of dollars into creating satisfied employees by providing various perks and benefits. It is good to have satisfied employees. This investment does not, however, translate necessarily into engaged employees.

Custom Insight defines employee engagement as “the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work.”

Conditions of Engaged Employees

A 2015 SHRM study identified the following top conditions of engaged employees:

  • Good relationships with coworkers
  • The contribution of work to the organization’s business goals
  • The meaningfulness of the job
  • Opportunities to use skills and abilities
  • A good relationship with immediate supervisor
  • The work itself
  • The organization’s financial stability

As you can see from these conditions, engagement is, to a great extent, a result and symptom of leadership. Good leadership creates a company culture that supports employee engagement. Poor leadership invariably leads to low engagement.

Are your employees satisfied? Engaged? Both? If you answered in the negative, is there anything you can do within your scope of control to remedy the situation?

Wouldn’t it be nice if employees cared about their jobs, worked hard and enjoyed themselves?

May your learning be sweet.


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