Employee Satisfaction vs. Employee Engagement Surveys

Employee Assessments
April 10, 2017

Are You Creating Employee Engagement or Employee Satisfaction Surveys?

The terms “employee engagement survey” and “employee satisfaction survey” are often used interchangeably, but they shouldn’t be. They are quite different – and savvy organizations that understand the difference will always want to measure levels of employee engagement over satisfaction.

Commitment is a key component of employee engagement that does not exist with employee satisfaction.

Engaged employees love their work and continually look for ways to improve their work experience. When improvement comes from the employees themselves, employees are more likely to proactively help and improve existing systems – which has a positive impact on your customers.

Satisfied employees, meanwhile, are typically happy if things stay the same, expectations are not changed, and there is certain predictability about the work environment. They have a routine and that routine is comfortable.

While you certainly don’t want unsatisfied employees, a satisfied workforce will only get your company so far. Satisfaction simply states that you treat your employees fairly. An engaged employee, however, is one that is more committed to the long-term success of the company.

Would You Prefer Employee Satisfaction or Employee Engagement?

Organizations must “satisfy” employees; it is something employers do for them. Those individuals who say they are “satisfied” may or may not be actively involved in improving outcomes and looking for ways to enhance quality and improve productivity.

Satisfied employees can come to work, collect a check, and go home.

Would you rather have your significant other say he or she is satisfied, or would you rather hear them say they are excited and eager and 100% committed to a successful relationship? That commitment implies a willingness and eagerness to work together toward a strong, mutual goal.

It’s not all about the employee’s commitment, either. Organizations must also be engaged with their workforce.

Organizations interested in engaging their employees are seeking active involvement from their employees and employees are seeking work environments that are most conducive for well-being, development, recognition, and effectiveness from their leaders.

This is the key to creating an organization of engaged employees: the commitment must be shared.

The Shared Responsibility for Employee Engagement

Both parties understand that when all employees are engaged they are actively involved in business and customer outcomes. There is a shared responsibility for success and a sense of energy, focus, and commitment that all people feel for their work and the organization.

Are you satisfied with your job? That question can be answered affirmatively by many people who merely do not hate their jobs.

Does your organization value you?

Is your organization effective?

Does your organization engage you in creatively solving problems and listen to your ideas?

Does your organization spend time and money developing your skills? These questions are tougher because it measures your level of engagement.

Please do not assume satisfaction surveys and engagement surveys measure the same outcomes – they do not.

How to Create Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions That Measure Employee Engagement

These four steps will help you make sure your survey questions are measuring employee engagement, not just employee satisfaction.

  1. When creating an employee engagement survey, it’s a good idea work with experts.
  2. Choose a survey with validated survey questions that are shown to reliably measure engagement. Simply picking questions from a list ignores issues of validation and reliability.
  3. Avoid including random questions on topics that have very little to do with the employees’ level of engagement. For example, asking about the quality of the cafeteria food and employee parking availability is hardly linked to engagement, making these types of questions superfluous.
  4. Be wise. Dig deeper and maximize your survey by asking questions that will get to the heart of the issue.

For companies serious about working with employees to improve engagement, a full featured, human resources feedback management platform is key.

You can also get an entire, pre-packaged and completely customizable Employee Experience Solution from Alchemer. Watch the webinar.

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