Why Employee Engagement and Employee Satisfaction are not the Same Things

So many businesses view employee satisfaction and employee engagement as one and the same.

Given how much the two concepts overlap, it’s no wonder really. It’s also fair to say that happier people create a more positive workplace environment, or that engaged staff are generally more satisfied than disengaged staff. Yet for any business looking to  focus on the right factors of long-term success, recognising the distinctions between satisfaction and engagement is essential.

So, let’s get this straight. A satisfied employee is not necessarily an engaged one.

More than that, the decision to elevate employee satisfaction (rather than engagement) as the main driver of retention, performance and productivity may quickly prove to be a costly one for your business.

What’s the difference between satisfaction and engagement?

Happiness is important, of course, yet it can be influenced by a huge number of things both in and outside of work. Even if a person is happy with their job, this could easily be because they enjoy the social side of work, the free breakfast on Friday mornings or, let’s not beat around the bush, their monthly paycheck.

Happiness in this respect is by no means an indication that an employee is fully engaged with their role, responsibilities and willing to go above and beyond the call of duty when required. To put it another way, some people are immensely satisfied just doing the bare minimum.

Engagement is another kettle of fish altogether.

Engaged staff actually care about their work, their team and their company. They take pride in what they do because they understand exactly how their role contributes to the overall  vision and success of the business.

These are the people who stay late on a Friday evening when a client issue crops up last minute. They go the extra mile to do an excellent job because they know it will reflect well on both themselves and the organisation.

Of course, satisfaction can be a natural byproduct of engagement. It’s worth remembering that engaged employees tend to feel more satisfied in their work than those who lack motivation and a strong sense of purpose.

Measuring employee engagement

The other major distinction from happiness is that employee engagement is measurable and those metrics feed directly into key business outcomes.

The PACC team work closely with managers and business owners to establish metrics and practices that help to quantify the impact of engagement initiatives on performance. Action planning sessions are necessary to build a bespoke step-by-step programme that meets the specific needs of each individual business we support.

Looking to maximise the benefits of engagement for your own business? Give us a quick call on 0161 883 1149 to talk through your needs.