Engagement versus Satisfaction: Tips for Startups

I recently went to a presentation about focusing on Employee Engagement instead of Employee Satisfaction. Employee Satisfaction is taking a pretty hard hit in the media these days, because if you are merely measuring satisfaction, you’re already behind. Satisfaction is essentially how “okay” a person is with his/her job daily; whereas engagement is the buy-in piece you’re searching for from an employee who is truly leaning into his or her work from an overall buy-in. You have to do more than Net Promoter Score.

 

For more information, one great summarized source is Gallup’s employee engagement management model, which is divided into four different areas of entitlement, contributions, community, & growth (https://www.tinypulse.com/blog/employee-engagement-employee-satisfaction-difference). Paraphrased:

 

Entitlement: Do you know what’s expected and do you have the tools to achieve your expectations?

 

Contributions: Can employees contribute daily, in a meaningful way? Are the recognized for this? And can they see how this helps someone (the business? A key client? The world?)

 

Community: Do you have a best friend at work and a voice that’s heard?

 

Growth: Do professional development opportunities exist, in addition to growing within a role?

 

For startups and growing companies, there needs to be a contrived strategy to address these four areas, on regular timing and intervals; beyond the typical pitfall of “What’s expected of me? Anything and everything to get the job done. Tools to do it? I have to figure that out on my own. We’re a startup, that’s just how startups are.” Creation and delivery of this starts and ends with a leadership team dedicated to it, then empowering the employees to live it with their own voice, speaking up if they are lacking in support in an area.

 

The true driver to employee engagement is employee buy-in. If employees feel both invested in all four areas, and supported in all four areas, they will be engaged. Daily they will have satisfaction, which will increase productivity. So...what have you done to help engagement of your people today? Pick an area, look at it critically, and ask...but be prepared to act and make it better if it needs improvement. Then tackle the next area. It really is that simple. Start by looking at each area, and be prepared to pivot and identify your organization’s needs. Also be prepared to invest in your people so they have what they need at each step above. The startup journey can be harrowing, you need your employees engaged every step of the way.

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