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Employee satisfaction is how content people are with their jobs.
It is typically measured using a survey or questionnaire.
Questions cover topics such as compensation, workload, attitudes about management and organization leadership, work-life balance, staff relationships and a sense of connection at work, improving working environment, work climate, and company culture.
See examples of survey questions related to these topics.
What are the elements of job satisfaction?
Staff questionnaires can assess aspects such as:
These defining factors are important to companies who want to keep their workforce happy and reduce turnover, but having content contributors is only a part of the overall solution.
Yes. This is a prerequisite for engagement. Workers whose basic needs are not being met can't be engaged until the fundamentals are addressed.
It is also important to understand that satisfaction doesn't necessarily mean high performance. In fact, if your low performers are also satisfied, then "employee satisfaction" might not be helping your company.
Satisfaction and engagement are similar concepts on the surface, and many people use these terms interchangeably; however, they measure different outcomes. The importance of knowing the difference is critical for an organization to build a better organization through meaningful actions and make strategic decisions to improve people's performance. Satisfaction covers basic concerns and needs in the workplace. It is a good starting point, but it usually stops short of what really matters. Satisfied workers are content. Engaged workers show up every day to give their best to help their companies succeed.
Satisfaction is the extent to which employees are happy or content with their jobs and work environment.
Compare that definition with this.
Engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work.
Engaged employees are the engine of a company,
and their performance is proof of this.
Engaged contributors are motivated to do more than the bare minimum needed to keep their jobs. Examples include showing a strong sense of purpose and leadership, a desire to be challenged, and commitment to improve performance and workplace results.
They are the engine of a company, and their performance is proof of this. Satisfied workers are merely content with their jobs and the status quo. For some, this might involve doing as little work as possible. A employee satisfaction survey will not diagnose key factors that can help an organization improve employee engagement and performance.
Some level of turnover is healthy for all companies. Those who are not adding value or who are not a good fit for the company leave, making way for fresh new perspectives and new energy. We could call this healthy turnover. By contrast, unwanted turnover happens when a company loses talented contributors that they want to keep.
Talented and motivated people expect more from companies. For these contributors, being satisfied with their job includes a different set of criteria.
They want to be engaged and empowered. They want to be challenged and pushed with meaningful develop opportunities. They want their work to have meaning. They want a sense of purpose. A culture of continuous improvement and the importance of professional development opportunities to grow and advance their careers, to better their performance, are key factors that contribute to the motivation, commitment, and success of high performers.
As opposed to satisfied employees, workers who are engaged add value by pushing limits, driving growth and innovation. Organizations must be strategic and provide informal and formal learning experiences to create significant opportunities for contributors. Organizations can improve engagement and build a culture of appreciation and recognition, a workplace where contributors feel valued for their work. This improves performance.
Employee satisfaction surveys are an important component of a broader engagement survey, but they are not a stand-alone solution. As a company, if you focus on increasing the wrong kind of satisfaction, you risk entrenching those workers who are adding the least value while driving your most talented people out. Improve engagement and build a healthy work culture by focusing on the right things.
See also: What is employee engagement?
Employee Engagement Survey, 360 Degree Feedback, DEI Survey, Pulse Survey, Team Assessment, or Custom Survey.
Prepare your organization, communicate the reasons for conducting the survey, and share the results with your teams.
Implement meaningful actions and policies based on survey results.
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