Employers aim to build talented and dedicated workforces. You might ask the employees on your payroll how they like working at your company. Though you want satisfied workers, happy employees aren’t necessarily productive. You need to understand employee satisfaction vs. employee engagement.
Employee satisfaction vs. employee engagement
As an employer, you hope employees are productive, dedicated, and enjoy what they do. But, having satisfied workers isn’t the same thing as having engaged workers.
Engaged employees are passionate, driven, and have a strong impact on the company’s success. Engaged employees improve current business processes. They add value to their position and to the business itself. Typically, engaged employees are happy with their jobs.
Satisfied employees are content with their jobs (e.g., compensation, work-life balance, benefits, etc.) but are not necessarily engaged. Satisfied employees are happy with current business processes.
You need engaged employees in your small business. You need a workforce that goes above and beyond to deliver quality service and innovative ideas.
Think of employee satisfaction as a stepping stone to get to engagement. To get the best of both worlds, you want engaged employees who are also happy with the work they do.
Impact of job satisfaction on employee performance
Satisfied employees won’t necessarily perform better than unsatisfied employees. But, engaged employees might have a significant spike in their job performance.
Satisfied employees might be stagnant in their growth because they are happy with the way things are going. Their performance might be good, but it won’t change unless the employee is engaged.
Dissatisfied and unengaged employees can slow down business operations.
How to improve job satisfaction and employee engagement
Sometimes, employees become dissatisfied and unengaged with their jobs. If this happens at your business, follow these tips.
1. Distribute job satisfaction surveys
Many employers distribute job satisfaction surveys. These surveys could help you develop ways to improve satisfaction.
At first glance, a job satisfaction survey might not be related to engagement at all. But, an employee might have a problem that is preventing them from engaging with the company.
Maybe the work an employee does is beneath their level. Whatever the case may be, a job satisfaction survey can help you get to the root of an employee’s dissatisfaction.
With a typical job satisfaction survey, employees can rate how happy they are. A job satisfaction survey might ask questions like:
- How satisfied are you working for this company?
- What do you like most/least about working here?
- On a scale from 1 being least and 5 being most, how happy are you with your compensation/position/responsibilities?
- Do you feel challenged in your job?
One job satisfaction survey found that 88% of employees were satisfied with their jobs. But, employees answered that they were only moderately engaged. You must bridge the gap between satisfaction and engagement.
2. Allow flexible schedules
Employee engagement and job satisfaction could be due to the lack of a work-life balance.
Employees might be stressed and sidetracked at work. Consider offering flexible work schedules if they work with your business.
Flexible work schedules include remote working and flexible scheduling.
Maybe you have an employee who is upset about a schedule change. They can’t engage in their work because they are worried about picking their kids up from school. The employee’s job permits flexible schedules. Now, the employee can balance work and life responsibilities.
Flexible schedules can improve satisfaction and engagement. Employees are more engaged with their work because they have a better work-life balance.
3. Give credit where it’s due
Employees want praise for a job well done. When employees think their hard work goes unnoticed, you could wind up with an unsatisfied and unengaged workforce.
Make sure you show your appreciation for your employees’ work. Consider rewarding employees with things like bonus pay, raises, company parties, and recognition.
Not only will recognizing employees boost satisfaction, it will also improve engagement. Recognized employees might work harder.
4. Conduct performance reviews
Performance reviews give you the chance to find out if anything is hindering your employees’ job performances. If an employee is lacking in an area of their job, you can let them know during this meeting.
You and the employee can come up with solutions to further their engagement with the position. A performance review can help you learn about problems and think about where engagement is lacking.
5. Host team-building activities
Work environments should encourage team building and collaboration.
If your employees do a lot of collaborating, it’s easy to see who isn’t pulling their weight. For collaboration to work, all employees must be engaged.
To build a strong team, you need employees who are comfortable with one another. Team-building activities can foster communication, get employees engaged in the company, and break up the monotony of the day-to-day.
Some activities include team meetings, fun activities like bowling or trivia, or company events that help employees get to know one another.
6. Take your time hiring employees
Improving employee engagement is doable, but some level of engagement must exist from the start.
By hiring the right employees who fit in well with your company culture, you improve the chance of engagement and satisfaction.
Employees who get along with co-workers, believe in the company’s mission, and have similar values may be engaged and happy with their work.
Before hiring new employees, take your time interviewing and getting to know them. This way, you can find out their personal and professional goals to see how engaged and happy they will be at your business.