What is the Difference Between a Satisfied Employee and an Engaged Employee?

engaged vs satisfied employees

What Is the Difference Between a Satisfied Employee and an Engaged Employee?

There’s a big difference between satisfied and engaged employees. As noted in the article entitled, Satisfied Employees vs. Engaged Employees: How to Spot the Difference, engaged employees behave and act differently. It’s like the difference between giving a restaurant a rating of five out of ten or ten out of ten for service and quality. Satisfied is a five rating: It’s middle-of-the-road and nothing spectacular. Engaged is a ten rating: It’s going above and beyond. 

Definition of Satisfied Employees

A satisfied employee can feel fine about a job where they just show up and do what’s expected of them — or not. They might not feel any connection to the organization or its goals. They may not give their best work to the organization. But, they can be ok with that. That is, until someone offers them better perks.

Satisfied employees might easily leave their jobs and work somewhere else because they aren’t feeling connected to their work in a big way. Their work can be more about convenience than connection. Here are some examples of what might keep an employee satisfied:

  • good benefits and compensation
  • a manageable workload
  • flexible work hours
  • great location
  • acceptable co-workers and management

Definition of Engaged Employees

On the other hand, engaged employees care about their work and how it adds to the big picture of the organization. Engaged employees feel valued and seen by the organization. That causes them to give a lot more to their jobs, not because they “have” to, but because they want the company that values their input and abilities to do well too! It’s a win-win. If someone is an engaged employee, they’ll act in the following ways:

  • They’ll go above and beyond what’s expected of them in their work
  • They’ll be excited to learn new skills and go to conferences, workshops, speaking opportunities, or courses that will help them to get better and give more to the organization
  • If they make mistakes, they’ll be eager to look at them and learn from them so they can do better next time
  • They’ll communicate about what they’re doing at work and they’ll accept and give feedback
  • They’ll be able to see how their work affects the big picture goals of the organization and they’ll include co-workers in ideas where they can all work towards that goal together
  • They’ll come up with ideas that might improve processes, make things more efficient. or save money
  • We all have bad days, but for the most part, they’ll give off a positive vibe in the workplace because they’ll feel good about working there

It’s easy to see that if an organization can engage its employees, the benefits are excellent. According to the Management Journal’s semi-annual Employee Engagement Index reports, 60 per cent of Canadian employees are not engaged and 15 per cent are actively disengaged at work. So many Canadian companies might see a lot more success if they work towards employee engagement instead of employee satisfaction.

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