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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Employee engagement vs. Employee satisfaction: Which is a better predictor of performance?

Photo Credit -William Taylor
IU News & Talk Guest Post
By: William Taylor

There’s still a lot of uncertainty in the human resources industry as far as employee engagement and satisfaction are concerned. Professionals have struggled to measure the level of satisfaction, but the focus was shifted to employee engagement instead. Is this new engagement just another world to define job fulfillment? 

Definitely not; both engagement and satisfaction are equally important and they should be seen as different measurements that offer actionable and valuable insights into the labor force. Unfortunately, a lot of companies can’t see the difference between employee satisfaction and employee engagement. 

Hence, they could be missing out on critical opportunities that promote that sort of workforce engagement that eventually leads to increased performance, improved innovations, and competitive success. Some companies consider that they’re got nothing to be concerned with as far as engagement in concerned due of a low turnover; above everything else, employees don’t seem to have a problem with working at a reduced pace. 

Photo Credit -William Taylor
Although employee satisfaction matters a lot because it maintains a positive, fruitful work environment, is it sufficient enough to help business owners retain top performers and constrain a bottom-line result? Probably not.

Employee engagement and employee satisfaction - different yet related
Concentrating more on employee engagement, companies have increased changes of maintaining a motivated, strong, and cohesive workforce that is more than willing to go the extra mile and drive business goals. Human resources professionals have had concerns regarding the workforce job satisfaction for decades now. 

These concerns include elements such as: 
Level of contentment of employees with the cultural aspects of their companies
Overall compensation
Work conditions

Employee satisfaction is measured using surveys that are designed to collect honest employee opinions regarding HR issues related to benefits, bonus programs, and work conditions. After an employee satisfaction survey has been completed, HR officials will be able to implement changes and increase morale. On the other hand, employee engagement is a rather new concept adopted by HR departments, and it is meant to keep workers interested and eager to keep working in order to help their companies thrive. 

Although employees engagement and employee satisfaction are two different terms, HR officials are agreeing that satisfaction refers to the way an employee feels about the job conditions he’s being offered. On the other hand, engagement refers to the commitment an employee entails at the workplace. Those who are engaged are willing to do everything for their jobs, even if that means working extra hours and putting a lot of effort into their projects.
Is it possible for a company to have satisfied employees who are NOT engaged?

There’s a high probability for an engaged employee to be a satisfied employee too. Yet, very few people are eager to put passion into their work unless they’re genuinely happy with their position and additional compensations.

Furthermore, there are also great chances for a satisfied employee to have a low engagement at the workplace. Someone who comes to work on time, is committed, and does his job well but lacks drive and initiative is not an engaged employee. For this reason, employee satisfaction without engagement is unlikely to promote exceptional workforce performance that renders high-quality business results.

A better understanding of the Employee Engagement Impact

Why should companies care so much about the engagement level of their workforce? The main goal of a business is to increase revenue; even organizations that are non-profit are still dependant on funds. This actually means that companies of all types must get their employees to be focused on their daily chores and help the company thrive.

A lot of studies have managed to link employee engagement to labor force performance, client productivity, turnover, satisfaction, absenteeism, and support for the company. All these can seriously impact an organization’s reputation.

Enterprises of all types can leverage and create a sustainable strategy meant to boost employee engagement. Boosting performance at the workplace depends a lot on satisfaction surveys, yet if business owners, CEOs, and managers can’t keep their people engaged, they might lose interest and they will eventually leave.

People want to work with pleasure; they don’t want to huge salaries and be forced to deal with in inappropriate conditions. Companies are finally realizing that a comfortable work environment that is also motivating can be a lot more influential than financial incentives.  

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