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May 30, 2013

Is Employee Satisfaction Enough? Time to Rethink Employee Engagement Strategies

For years HR professionals have been measuring employee satisfaction as a tool for gaining insight into the workforce and determining what actions need to be taken in order to maintain a positive and productive environment. Job satisfaction has remained a constant concern in employee surveys, a subject all too familiar to those in the human relations industry.

However, focus has shifted from the metric of employee satisfaction to the level of employee engagement within organizations and knowing why could be the difference in retaining your employees and losing them to your competition. According to ADP Research Institute's White Paper Report the two terms are defined as the following:

  • Employee Satisfaction: A measurement of an employee's "happiness" with current job and conditions; it does not measure how much effort the employee is willing to expend
  • Employee Engagement: A measurement of an employee's emotional commitment to an organization; it takes into account the amount of discretionary effort an employee expends on behalf of the organization

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2012 Employee Satisfaction and Engagement Report shows a unique difference in the contributing factors to both measurements. Similar to the definitions above, what employees need to feel engaged is on a deeper level an "emotional commitment" rather than a feeling of "happiness," and includes personal contribution to a company, aside from just being content. The SHRM report has only been measuring employee engagement for two years, but 4 of the 5 top contributing aspects to this metric have remained the same and all have been rated highly by 70% or above of the employees surveyed:

- I am determined to accomplish my work goals and confident I can meet them - Relationship with co-workers - Opportunities to use skills/abilities - Contribution of work to organization's business goals - Relationship with immediate supervisor

What employees need to feel engaged comes in the form of personal relationships and playing a role in larger business decisions.  In short, the vision of your leadership team and an opportunity to contribute to that vision is important to your employees. Workers have the opportunity for advancement through becoming more engaged in their work, and in return will help the overall success of your company. The benefits of engagement show an increase in workforce productivity and retention, results invaluable to your business. Living in a fluctuating economy that sometimes does not allow for advancement of employees, community involvement and corporate philanthropy remain a positive and effective way for employees to feel engaged and contribute to a larger cause.

This blog post was written by Moira House, Director of HR for our Memphis office. Contact her by phone: (901) 685.5575 or email, mhouse@cbiz.com. Moira manages all aspects of HR including strategic planning, compliance, employee relations, performance management, recruiting and day-to-day administration.

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