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Employee Engagement Vs. Employee Satisfaction: Understanding the Difference

Despite Employee Engagement being recognized by more and more companies as a critical business issue, I sometimes get questions from HR / Leaders on whether they should focus on Employee Engagement as a metric or Employee Satisfaction. My immediate response is Satisfaction is a “one-way street” (what can you do for me), whereas Engagement is a “two-way street” (what can you do for me and what I can do in return). Engagement is a two-way contract. Also, there is evidence that Engagement, being a multi-dimensional construct, has greater validity and linkages to business outcomes such as revenues, profitability, growth, attrition etc.

Recently, I set about doing some simple analyses to validate this. In a particular organisation, I found that teams of top quartile managers (based on their Engagement scores) had an attrition level which was almost half of the attrition in the bottom quartile managers’ teams. On the other hand, top quartile managers (based on their Satisfaction scores) had an attrition level only about 10% lower than that compared to the bottom quartile managers. It seemed from the analysis that as teams move higher on Engagement, their attrition levels drop more sharply as compared to when scores are merely moving up on Satisfaction. Employee Engagement does seem to be a better metric and more strongly related to business outcomes.

As an HR practitioner, are you exploring the links between your employee surveys and business metrics?

Filed under: Business, Employee Engagement, Human Resources, Management Tagged: Employee Engagement, HR, Human Resources, Management, Motivation, Workplace



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