Some organizations see employee engagement and employee satisfaction as one and the same. Satisfied employees are more likely to be engaged and productive. Believing that satisfied employees will be automatically productive and engaged, however, is a mistake.
Employee satisfaction is related to the answer to the question?
What can you do for me?
Employee engagement is the answer to this question.
What can we do together?
The American Psychological Association defines job satisfaction as “The attitude of a worker toward his or her job, often expressed as a hedonic response of liking or disliking the work itself, the rewards, or the context”. In other words, job satisfaction describes how content an employee is with their work.
Employee engagement refers to how involved and committed employees feel toward their work.
Employees can feel satisfied at your organization while being disengaged. They may love your compensation package and company culture but feel disconnected from the meaning of their work. While a satisfied employee may not be inclined to quit, they might not be producing valuable work for the organization. Employee satisfaction is the state of enjoying but not necessarily staying engaged in the workplace. While happy employees are engaged and engaged employees are not necessarily satisfied.
Engaged employees are very different from satisfied employees. Indeed, Timothy Clark outlines these differences extensively in his book The Employee Engagement Mindset. In TLNT recently he highlighted in particular 5 Ways Engaged Employees Are Different (quoting):
- Highly engaged employees take primary responsibility for their own engagement.
- Highly engaged employees feel the least entitled.
- Highly engaged employees engage customers.
- Highly engaged employees remain highly engaged almost anywhere.
- Highly engaged employees apply six behavioral drivers. Individuals who take personal and primary responsibility for their own engagement consistently apply six behavioral drivers: connecting, shaping, learning, stretching, achieving, and contributing.