What is the difference between Employee satisfaction VS engagement

Is employee satisfaction something that businesses should strive for if their employees already seem engaged? The short answer is yes. The long answer on differences between employee satisfaction and engagement can be found in the article below.

Many businesses make the mistake of assuming that employee satisfaction and engagement are interchangeable. Therefore that leads to simply wasting time and resources on projects that don’t produce the desired outcomes.

If you’re unfamiliar with the topic of employee engagement, you can check out our articles on engagement introduction. Those are the following – What Is Employee Engagement and Why Employee Engagement Is Important.

Let’s get started!

What is the difference between employee satisfaction and engagement

Even if they are not interested in their work, employees might nevertheless be satisfied with their jobs. Engagement among employees entails much more than only being satisfied with compensation and the option to depart at 5 pm. That contentment is merely a result of job satisfaction, which, while typically sufficient to keep staff on board, is insufficient to guarantee productivity. Employee engagement, on the other hand, does support rising productivity.

An employee who is highly invested and involved in their work is said to be engaged. Yet, the variables that affect employee engagement are different from those that affect satisfaction. 

Employee engagement

Meaning, Autonomy, Growth, Impact, and Connection are all engagement-boosting aspects (MAGIC theory). Employee engagement can develop and flourish when employees are satisfied with their jobs, therefore satisfaction is definitely a part of engagement. However, engagement is not necessarily a part of satisfaction.

True employee engagement increases retention, productivity, customer happiness, innovation, and quality in an organization. Also, they have less illnesses, accidents, and training requirements.

For an employee to be fully engaged, employee satisfaction must be fulfilled at a minimal threshold.

Employee satisfaction

The difference between what is expected and what really happens is what determines how satisfied a person is. When needs and wants are compared to assessments of what is realistically possible, expectations are formed. 

For instance, if you need food and want steak but are served a pizza, your need for food has been met. But your satisfaction depends on your capacity to reconcile your desire for steak with the reality of the pizza. The same thing goes for employee satisfaction in the corporate world. Only instead of steak employees expect good benefits, higher salaries, paid leaves etc. That is the obvious part.

But, there are numerous other elements outside the factors mentioned above that affect satisfaction. For example, when employee evaluations are used to establish employee satisfaction, the degree to which an employee feels happy depends on how well their expectations match what they actually encounter. 

In addition to actual salary, this experience also encompasses aspects like communication, recognition, career advancement, workplace culture, and much more.

Employee satisfaction VS engagement

Employee engagement and satisfaction goes hand in hand

Employee engagement is different from employee satisfaction, and you need both to generate the highest output possible from your employees. Because obtaining one of these without the other does not yield the desired benefits. 

Assuming otherwise has sent many businesses down an expensive path to an unclear destination.

Here are some examples of why:

  • Overvaluing benefits – when employers prioritize benefits like free food and game rooms rather than addressing the root causes of low engagement, such as career growth or alignment;
  • Undercompensation – when work is rewarding, feedback is constructive, and there is a nice work environment yet compensation is below market level or puts employees’ finances in jeopardy;
  • Overcompensation – when a company hires people who are solely motivated to work as little as possible to get a salary due to high remuneration;
  • Uncertain expectations – when highly motivated, fairly rewarded workers have frustration and doubt about their value.

Any of the scenarios mentioned above could lead to the kinds of consequences that can be avoided by increasing job satisfaction: unfavorable turnover, subpar output, low morale, and  issues with hiring and retention.

In conclusion

The concept of measuring employee engagement is one that has drawn a lot of attention during the past few years. It is one of the best ways to figure out where your employees are at – engaged, satisfied, both or none. 

Nevertheless, the differences between employee satisfaction and engagement aren’t often apparent or particularly simple to understand (as this article clearly shows). 

But if you take the time, you’ll quickly see how being able to pinpoint the causes of employee satisfaction and engagement opens the door to insightful information about your business, its members, and its performance.

About the author

I am a Girl, that wants to live a Simple Life, and I am in a search of the recipe for happiness.  I invite you to join me on this journey! It will be an exciting adventure in which we will look for the simplicity of life, joy in everyday things, and free time outside the usual hustle and bustle.