A satisfied employee is not always an engaged employee

Satisfied employees will only do what is required of their job description, whereas engaged employees go beyond their job description and travel that extra mile.


We are all familiar with the square-rectangle logic. All squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares. For employees and enagagement, it is more or less the same. An engaged employee is one who is satisfied and immensely productive. On the other hand, a worker who is satisfied in his or her position is not necessarily an engaged one. The latter kind is not helpful for the organisation.

It can be very easy to overlook the minute difference, especially becuase employees will not overtly convey whether they are feeling connected with the organisational goals and vision. Those who are  merely satisfied, may not perform well enough to get the work done. And, over a period of time, they may just stagnate in their career. An employee who is not engaged can never be a successful worker. Anil Mohanty, head-HR, Medikabazaar, says, ” Anyone who is successful in their career will be an engaged employee always. Engagement and productivity go hand-in-hand.”

Employee satisfaction is equal to doing the bare minimum. Satisfied workers will definitely stick around but will not be inspired to do more than fill the fundamental requirements of their roles.

Satisfied but unengaged employees form a one-way street in the sense that they may generally enjoy what they do for a living but for the most part, their job serves only as a means to get a paycheck. While a satisfied but unengaged employee will not be promoting the company’s brand, she or he will not be complaining about it either. Such employees will complete their tasks as assigned and may even be willing to work more hours than necessary so that they are still counted as valuable and productive members of the workforce.

However, one thing employers fail to notice are those individuals who go beyond the basic responsibilities outlined in their job description, or innovate and pursue new ideas to help the organisation move forward.

Amit Das

Engagement is satisfaction plus productivity. A satisfied employee is not necessarily engaged if one does not work that extra mile beyond the call of duty

Satisfied but unengaged employees will always think on what the employer can do for them. On the other hand, engaged employees will think about what they can do for the company. That is because, they are emotionally invested in the company and are committed to helping the organisation achieve its goals.

Amit Das, director-HR and CHRO, BCCL (Times Group), says, “Engagement is satisfaction plus productivity. A satisfied employee is not necessarily engaged if one does not work that extra mile beyond the call of duty.”

Organisations can use a number of methods to elevate employee engagement.

The most common is employee engagement surveys, which are designed to measure three elements in particular—employee loyalty; employee advocacy; and discretionary effort on the part of the employee, which is the difference between meeting the minimum requirements of one’s job and exceeding expectations in order to further the organisation’s goals.

Job satisfaction surveys can also help. At first glance, a satisfaction survey may seem like it has nothing to do with engagement. However, an employee may be having a problem, which is preventing him or her from engaging with the company in the first place. In such cases, it can be a useful tool to get to the root of an employee’s dissatisfaction. A job satisfaction survey may provide a better idea on how to bridge the gap between satisfaction and engagement.

Work–life balance can be another factor. In metro cities, where most of the organisations have their offices, employees often have to travel significantly long distances. In addition, long working hours prevent them from spending any time outside of work. This is the reason flexible work timings and satellite offices have come up.

Anil Mohanty

Anyone who is successful in their career will be an engaged employee always. Engagement and productivity go hand-in-hand


However, flexibility does not necessarily provide work–life balance. People may have the flexibility to work from home, but true balance will only come when they can spend time at home away from work.

Giving credit when it is due is an important element. If employees feel their work has gone unnoticed, they feel dissatisfied. Recognising employees will boost satisfaction and also improve engagement. Moreover, recognised employees may work harder.

Conducting performance reviews and hosting team building activities are also effective solutions. However, while it is possible to elevate engagement, some amount of engagement has to be there from the start. For that, it becomes critical to begin at the hiring process itself.

Hiring the right people with the right culture fit will improve the chances of engagement and satisfaction among the workers and lead to a happy and productive workforce.

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