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The Difference Between Employee Engagement and Employee Satisfaction

3 min read
Employee Experience
The Difference Between Employee Engagement and Employee Satisfaction

Employee engagement is much more than just being happy in a job. An employee can be satisfied without being engaged in their work.

While a satisfied employee may choose to stick around, they may not necessarily be productive. But an engaged employee who is invested in their work will be more productive and willing to go the extra mile. In fact, organizations with engaged employees can expect better staff retention, more innovation, and a higher overall quality of work.

The Happiness Factor

There is certainly an emotional element to employee engagement. Engaged employees tend to be happier in general. But there are many elements that contribute to happiness, and only a few that cause an employee to emotionally invest in the success of your organization.

You should striving for passion and commitment from your employees. But not just any kind of passion and commitment – aim for it to be directed at their work and linked to your business strategy. When employees want to contribute to the bottom line, your organization moves ahead much more rapidly.

As Abhishek Mittal, a Towers Watson executive, says, the difference between satisfaction and engagement is the difference between a one-way street (what can you do for me?) and a two-way street (what can you do for me and what can I do in return?). It needs to be a two way process.

Studies by Gallup Research since 2008 consistently show that 70% of employees identify themselves as disengaged. That is a lot of potential employee turnover and lost market share. By contrast, engaged employees increase profits and improve customer loyalty.

Here are three smart ways to boost employee engagement:

1. Set Engaging Goals

Open an ongoing with your employees built on regular 360° feedback. This will help you understand what’s working and what needs to change, so you can set more effective goals to engage and motivate your staff.

Once you’ve gathered their feedback make sure employees are actively involved in the development of their individual goals, and ensure that they have a clear understanding of how these tie into both team and overall corporate goals. The greater the personal connection and investment that employees, the stronger their overall performance will be and the more engaged they will be on the job.

2. Improve Engagement Through Better Rewards

According to Labor Department studies, the number one reason people leave their jobs is because they feel unappreciated. The better appreciated employees feel, the more engaged they will be.

Don’t assume that you know what the best way to foster employee engagement. Take the time to ask them directly, and gather their feedback to get a clearer picture of what they really want. Once you know how your employees are feeling then you can put the right incentives in place to motivate them and boost engagement.

3. Add Meaning to the Work

One tried and tested method of helping employees find more meaning in their work is by adding an element of corporate social responsibility.

Ideally, establish volunteer programs that mirror the strategic objectives of your company while providing opportunities for employees to develop their skills. The right volunteer program will not only demonstrate civic responsibility and create development opportunities for your employees, it will also help them find a deeper purpose in their work. A satisfied employee may do their job, but an engaged employee grows the company. Help your employees set motivational goals, incentivize them with appropriate rewards and add meaning to their work through volunteer programs. Your bottom line will see the difference when satisfied employees become engaged employees.

Contact us to find how Questback can help transform your employees from merely satisfied to actively engaged.

Read more about Employee Surveys.


Guide for high employee engagement

Find the 4 driving forces of engagement split up into 33 solid methods that you can use to be a better leader and raise your team’s performance.

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