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Employee Satisfaction v/s Employee Engagement
Employee Centricity

Employee Satisfaction v/s Employee Engagement

Anagha Vallikat
March 29, 2024

To lose a smart, dedicated employee is as toxic for an organization to retain an unfaithful, lethargic employee. A revolutionary idea requires revolutionary talent. People who can challenge set norms and see beyond the realm of possibility are the kind of employees you need. Getting people who buy-in and give it their all requires special care and nurturing. Employee satisfaction and employee engagement are crucial to ensure that you retain the talent. This is where key talent can go above and beyond as a group because the right 20 can make a bigger impact than 200.

But how do you know who’s going to stick and who’s going to flee at the first sign of danger? HR and behavioral analytics has now advanced where objective data can support your gut notions. How do you go about nurturing such employees? How do you evaluate employee experience? How do you draw the distinguishing line between employee satisfaction vs employee engagement and Here are some tips and tricks to do so!

Let’s begin by getting to know the employees

The good ones-

  1. Crave knowledge & learnings
  2. Love to take risks
  3. Want to take charge
  4. Won’t always agree with you
  5. Don’t mind stretching
  6. Embrace challenges
  7. Never make excuses
  8. Have a can-do attitude

How to retain them?

We now have an idea about the ones who are going to stick around.

Let's talk about it further to stress upon the main aspects of employee retention.

1. Nurture them

Let them free and let them experiment. Be open to their ideas and give them space and support to work. The support is essential for them to feel motivated. Don’t try to manage them too much for the result since it’s the passion and the commitment that count when exploring new territory. Let them learn on their own by trusting them with responsibilities. That’s what they crave.

2. Engage them

If you are conducting a leadership meeting, ask them to be a part of it. Encourage them to participate in discussions. Support and engage them for their ideas. Give them a soapbox to drive their passion and beliefs through others. You never know what brilliance you may witness.

3. Ask them what’s new

Converse with them on ideas and change the world notions. If they want to implement a new marketing or design idea, talk to them about it. Encourage them to think, mold them to become active thinkers. In fact, don’t limit this to a professional discussion. Ask them about their family, their friends. Share your experiences from vacations so that they can share theirs as well. Be helpful, supportive and good listeners to what they have to say. Focus more on the substance than style

4. Give them ownership

When they come up with an idea, don’t delegate it to some other senior leader right away. Let them try it out by themselves and always be available so that they can reach out to you at the time of need. Empower them to experience how it feels like to lead. When they think and work on their own, they learn better. The easiest way to enforce accountability and responsibility is to ask them what do they need and how can you help.

5. Trips will ensure that you don’t trip.

This is a totally personal decision that you have to make but great leaders want to spend more time with great employees. Similarly, if you are a great leader, then your team would look up to you and would want to know you more. Get to know them and about their personalities. As a result, they will have a sense of belongingness and they would want to work for you for long. Take them out for a short trip or even a small dinner. 

6. Celebrate Success and Reward Them

When they succeed,  make sure that the world knows about it. Celebrate their success with their teams. Ensure that they feel valued, recognized and rewarded with better work and more compensation. You will see that they take pride in responsibilities than remuneration. Reinforce their behavior so that the message also resonates through the rest of the organization. Hence, it will become easy to retain them.

Now, this would have given an idea on how to retain top performers. This would have also helped you draw the line between an engaged employee and an underperformer.

Employee Engagement v/s Employee Satisfaction

Employee engagement and employee satisfaction are often used synonymously. But it is not and it is essential to understand the difference between the two. An employee might be satisfied with his job and yet, not be engaged. To put it simply, employee satisfaction ensures employee retention and employee engagement ensures productivity.

Let's move on to see how to ace the art of employee satisfaction.

"Employee satisfaction is the minimum entry fee that needs to be met in order for an employee to be fully engaged."

We discussed that employee engagement is what ensures productivity, in order to have productive employees, you should have satisfied employees! So now you know how things are intertwined and interconnected. Let's get to the crux now. How do you cater to this satisfaction factor?

To explain this better, let's take a look at  Frederick Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene Theory.  Herzberg's motivation theory has two main factors; motivation and hygiene.

Employee Satisfaction v/s Employee Engagement | peopleHum

The hygiene factors are the ones which are connected with the satisfaction level of employees. These include:

  • Pay and Benefits: We need not elucidate further on this point. It is self-explanatory. Of course, anybody would be satisfied if they are getting a hefty pay in their pockets with added benefits. But, again, pay cannot always be equated with satisfaction if the employee is not happy with the work that he/she is doing.
  • Company Policies: If the company follows stringent policies and comes out as hostile, the employees are bound to get frustrated and dissatisfied at one point or the other. Company culture pronounces the personality of a company.  
  • Working Conditions: The organization has to provide a healthy working environment. Physically and mentally. Employees should not loathe coming to the workspace, rather should look forward to being there. Make it subtle, poise and happy.
  • Job Security: Constant fear of losing a job would definitely make anyone dissatisfied and cause a serious dip in employee satisfaction. Ensure them that they are in a safe position
  • Interpersonal Relations: The kind of relations that an employee holds in an organization has a huge impact on the level of satisfaction they have at their job. One bad relation either with their manager, colleague or team member can cause bad employee satisfaction.

However, these factors will not ensure employee satisfaction. But, if these are not met, it will definitely lead to dissatisfaction and that's the last thing you need.

The other aspect of  Herzberg's theory is that of motivation factors which are closely related to employee engagement. Motivation factors include:

  • Recognition: We have always spoken about the importance of employee recognition and appreciation. You can read more about it here. Employee Appreciation.
  • Sense of Achievement: The employees must feel that their efforts are not in vain and that it is taking them forward in their journey. Read about Employee Lifecycle to know more about an employee's journey in an organization.
  • Responsibility: If an employee is able to take ownership and accountability, this will boost their motivation and productivity.
  • Meaning: The work that they do, must feel meaningful to them. That is to say, it must challenge the employees to bring out the best in them.

Herzberg's theory describes the difference between employee satisfaction. Now it is up to you take the crayon and draw the line between Employee Satisfaction v/s Employee Engagement and ace the employee experience at your organization.

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