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Employee Satisfaction vs. Engagement

By February 18, 2014No Comments

This year got off to a great start for me. Our family welcomed our second child, Luca, on January 18th.  We are very excited to have him join our family, and big sister Olivia is enjoying him! Here is a picture of baby Luca.

I was also honored to be interviewed for the article, “Coaching Outside the C-Suite” in the January edition of Credit Union Management magazine.

Since I am taking a few weeks off, I asked my colleague, Kerry Liberman, to share some information this month on engaging employees. Kerry is president of People Perspectives, a company that conducts employee opinion surveys, and she has a lot of insight on how to keep your employees engaged. Read below for Kerry’s advice on why you want to measure engagement in addition to satisfaction.

Employee engagement has become a hot topic in companies over the past few years. More and more often, organizations are looking at measuring engagement as a means to improving their company’s bottom line. Prior to engagement, at People Perspectives, we measured employee satisfaction exclusively. However, with the compelling research on employee engagement, we found that the best strategy was to “make room” for both satisfaction and engagement in our surveys.

Here’s why:

Employee Engagement. An engaged employee is someone who is loyal, puts forth extra effort for the company, and remains with the organization for a long period of time. What can engaged employees do for a company? For starters, compared to disengaged workers, one research firm found that engaged employees had 27% less absenteeism, 62% fewer accidents, and 31% less turnover. Moreover, employee engagement led to higher customer satisfaction and higher future spending intentions.

Employee Satisfaction. Literally thousands of studies have been conducted, looking at the impact that employee satisfaction has on the workplace. Over time, researchers have found that employee satisfaction is significantly correlated with higher innovation and production levels of staff, lower absenteeism, and higher levels of employee loyalty and retention.

Using Both. Although employee engagement findings have understandably met with great fanfare within the HR community, it (like employee satisfaction) has its limitations. Engagement doesn’t address issues such as pay, benefits, advancement opportunities, senior management, or organizational structure. On the other hand, employees may be perfectly satisfied with their jobs, but it’s not the same thing as being engaged. Even though the employee’s needs are being met and they’re happy to come to work, they may not promote the organization’s goals and ethics as engaged employees would.

Surveying employees on both their satisfaction and engagement is instrumental to getting a comprehensive view of not only how satisfied they are with different programs in place and the workplace overall, but also how committed they are to the organization. This type of assessment really provides the best of both worlds.

Kerry Liberman is the president of People Perspectives LLC, a company that specializes in conducting employee opinion surveys (including engagement and satisfaction) and internal service surveys. She can be reached at 206-451-4218 or

Thank you, Kerry for sharing your expertise!

Laurie Maddalena