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Employee satisfaction is how content employees are with their jobs.
Satisfaction is typically measured using an employee survey or questionnaire.
Questions cover topics such as compensation, workload, attitudes about management and organization leadership, work-life balance, staff relationships, improving working environment, work climate, and company culture. These metrics influence and help measure employee satisfaction.
See examples of survey questions related to these topics.
What are the elements of employee satisfaction?
Employee surveys can assess aspects of satisfaction such as:
These defining factors are important to companies who want to keep their employees happy and reduce turnover, but employee satisfaction is only a part of the overall solution.
Yes, employee satisfaction is important.
Satisfaction is a prerequisite for engagement. Employees whose basic needs are not being met can't be engaged employees until the fundamentals are addressed.
It is also important to understand that satisfaction doesn't mean high performance or engagement. In fact, if your low-performing employees are also satisfied employees, then "employee satisfaction" might not be helping your company.
Employee satisfaction and employee 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 make strategic decisions to create and improve the culture of engagement. Employee 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 employees are content. Engaged employees show up every day to give their best to help their companies succeed.
What is meant by employee satisfaction?
Consider the following definition of employee satisfaction:
Employee Satisfaction Definition:
Employee satisfaction is the extent to which employees are happy or content with their jobs and work environment.
Compare that with this definition of employee engagement.
Employee Engagement Definition:
Employee 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 employees are motivated to do more than the bare minimum needed to keep their jobs. Examples of an engagement attitude include a strong sense of purpose and leadership, a desire to be challenged, and commitment to improve performance and workplace results.
Engaged employees are the engine of a company, and their performance is proof of this. The importance of engagement cannot be overstated. Satisfied employees are merely content with their jobs and the status quo. For some, this might involve doing as little work as possible. An employee satisfaction survey will not diagnose key factors that can help an organization improve engagement and performance.
Some level of turnover is healthy for all companies. Employees 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 employees that they want to keep.
Talented and motivated employees expect more from companies. For these employees, job satisfaction includes a different set of criteria.
They want to be engaged and empowered. They want to be challenged and pushed. 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 for employees to grow and advance their careers, to better their performance, are key factors that contribute to the engagement of high performers.
As opposed to satisfied employees, engaged employees add value by pushing limits, driving growth and innovation. Companies with an engagement strategy provide informal and formal learning experiences to create significant opportunities for employees. Engaged employees will often snatch up these opportunities, satisfied employees often will not. In a culture of engagement, employees feel valued and recognized for their work.
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 employee satisfaction, you risk entrenching those employees who are adding the least value while driving your most talented employees out.
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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