Is Employee Satisfaction, On Its Own, Enough?

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There is no doubt that satisfied employees are excellent; they generally never complain. They do what they are supposed to do and when they are supposed to do it. Again, in general, they are pleasant and productive. They feel adequately compensated for the work they provide and are pleased with the work environment they inhabit.

However, I feel that in today’s competitive job market and customer experience landscape, employee satisfaction just isn’t enough.

Employees don’t want to be ‘satisfied’ as much as they want to be ‘engaged’

Firstly, let’s make one thing very clear, satisfied or happy employees are not necessarily engaged. And engaged employees are the ones who work hardest, stay longest, and perform best. Also, if employees are engaged at work and thriving in their overall well-being, they’re more agile and resilient and are less likely to be sick. They’re also more likely to want to be in the office. When employees feel like they are a part of something significant happening in their workplace, they are more likely to want to be part of the solution as well. This makes them want to become part of a bigger tribe and lead the way later on.

By engaging with them, I mean:

  • Giving them the opportunity to have a positive impact on the work they are doing and the company they work for;

  • Recognizing them as a valued partner in the organization, not simply another cog in a very large (or very small) wheel;

  • Giving them a sense of ownership for the work they are doing, even if they are not technically an owner;

  • Listening to them and telling them that their input is wanted, valued and really matters for the company, even if it doesn’t always result in things going the way they would like;

  • Trusting them to do the right thing, and extending grace when they screw up, assuming it’s an infrequent occurrence;

  • Holding them accountable for their behavior, and coaching to help them grow and develop;

  • Appreciating them for their position and their contribution.

In short, what employees truly want is an intrinsic connection with their work and their company. That’s what drives performance, inspires discretionary effort, and improves well being. That’s what keeps people coming to work, makes them excited about what they do, and inspires them to push themselves and their companies forward.

Another important point is; no matter what, never forget to take feedback from your employees at regular intervals. Make it a point, to be ready to act before you conduct those anonymous surveys regarding their Employee Engagement Activities. Ask the right questions from your employees and leave some room for them to express as that will provide fountains of information for a company’s leadership.

So, how about we don’t just pamper our employees to keep them happy and satisfied? How about we create innovative avenues for their engagement instead?

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