Bridging the Gap Between Employee Satisfaction and Employee Engagement

In most companies around the country, there is a time where the organization will take the time to gather employee feedback. While employees are expected to fit within certain roles and responsibilities, often brought up during performance reviews, most companies acknowledge that the organization itself needs a review of their own. Employee feedback is extremely important. Every company wants their employees to have a high feeling of job satisfaction. Increased job satisfaction typically leads to increased job performance.

Most companies are looking to rank a level of employee satisfaction, or how happy that individual is with their job, their supervisors, their coworkers and the organization as a whole. Measuring this type of “happiness” is important, and organizations should know how satisfied, or unsatisfied that their employees are. While this is important, it isn’t the only type of employee feedback that needs to be measured, calculated and valued.

Employee engagement is just as important as employee satisfaction, yet it is something that typically isn’t measured or valued as much as employee satisfaction. Employee engagement is the commitment that the individual has to the organization, their contribution towards the betterment of that organization.

Managers who want to get the most out of their employees need to be able to measure both employee satisfaction and employee engagement and figure out ways to bridge the gap between these two metrics. Typically, the more satisfied an employee is, the more engaged they will be and the more they will ultimately contribute to the organization. However, most companies only look at how happy an employee is with their job.

The good news is there are several ways for managers to get a better feel for employee engagement and to understand the impact that an engaged, active employee can have on the company that they work for.

Understanding the Difference Between Employee Engagement and Employee Satisfaction

One of the biggest misconceptions that many managers have is that employee engagement and satisfaction are actually the same thing. While there is a correlation between these two concepts, a satisfied employee is not the same thing as an engaged one.

An individual could be very happy at work and even feel satisfied with their job, but it doesn’t mean that they are working hard or that they are acting as productive members of that organization. An employee can like their co-workers, have great benefits and have a lot of fun with the social part of their job and therefore say they are very “satisfied” with their job. However, this same person could slack off, use most of their time to do other things, and basically live for the free Friday parties at the office. This is a satisfied employee, yes, but not an engaged one.

This scenario also illuminates an important lesson that many managers ultimately have to learn when it comes to managing their employees and reacting to their feelings on employee satisfaction. Simply doing whatever it takes to make employees happy won’t automatically improve their engagement or make them work harder. Showering an employee with pay raises and in-office perks may only boost their satisfaction not their engagement.

These two things are very different and very unique feelings and reactions, understanding their differences first can help any manager ultimately take the steps needed to find the right connection between how an employee feels in their job and how those feelings translate to their performance.

The Emotional Component of Employee Engagement

One of the primary differences between employee engagement and employee satisfaction that every manager needs to be aware of, is that there is an emotional component to employee engagement that makes it so important and such a driving force in performance. Simply put, engaged employees truly care about their work and their company, they are not simply motivated by a paycheck or by their own needs or wants.

An engaged employee will actually work on behalf of the organization, they will work extra when needed without being asked and perform their best even when a superior isn’t watching. These are the types of employees that will actually act in the best interest of the company and help the organization thrive, even if it requires more work or more effort on their part.

Managers need to understand this correlation and make sure they are focusing on building their company internally before they can expect to see changes externally. Former CEO of Campbell’s Soup, Doug Conant one put this concept into words when he said “To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.” Managers who are able to create a real sense of employee engagement in the workplace will not only see the development of a most positive work environment, but they will start to see the benefits of their efforts in the company’s performance as a whole.

Developing a Sense of Purpose Among Employees

Measuring employee engagement is a vital part of developing a successful organizational culture. However, when employees don’t depict a high level of engagement, it is important that leaders are able to step in and start helping their team members develop a higher sense of purpose with their jobs. Typically, companies with the most employee engagement do a few important things in order to foster this sense of dedication from their team members. This includes:

  • Offering extensive training and development.
  • Providing detailed performance feedback to all levels of employees.
  • Recognizing employees and helping them feel a sense of accomplishment with their work.
  • Developing employee skills and talents beyond their standard responsibilities.
  • Placing emphasis on quality with both products and services.
  • Establishing strong values within the company and encouraging employees to align with those values.
  • Providing employees with stability.
  • Monitoring customer satisfaction and being transparent with employees about that satisfaction.
  • Having all levels of management promote engagement among employees.

These are just a few of the many things that organizations can do to start fostering a higher sense of employee engagement within their organization. Creating this sense of engagement will not happen overnight. It will take time. However, with an ongoing, dedicated effort to help employees feel more emotionally connected to their jobs, most managers will start to see the fruits of their labor and a more engaged and successful team behind their company.

These free eBooks will help you to develop the active listening and appraisal skills needed to bridge the gap between employee satisfaction and employee engagement.

Active Listening eBook
This eBook describes what active listening is and how it can make you a more effective manager.
ISBN 978-1-62620-963-3 (30 Pages) PDF, Kindle & ePub

Appraisal Meeting eBook
This eBook gives you practical advice on how to prepare for and conduct a productive and stress free appraisal meeting.
ISBN 978-1-62620-992-3 (33 Pages) PDF, Kindle & ePub

Key Points

  • Employee engagement is the commitment that the individual has to the organization.
  • It is just as important as employee satisfaction, yet it is something that typically isn’t measured or valued as much.
  • Engaged employees truly care about their work and their company, they are not simply motivated by a paycheck or by their own needs or wants.
  • Measuring employee engagement is a vital part of developing a successful organizational culture.
  • Engagement can be improved by offering extensive training and development beyond the employee’s standard responsibilities.
  • It can also be achieved by establishing strong values within the company and encouraging employees to align with them.

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