Job satisfaction and employee engagement are strongly connected. A Journal of Management study found that job satisfaction is a prerequisite to employee engagement, so it’s almost impossible to have engaged employees without having satisfied employees.
Why is Employee Engagement Important?
Employee engagement is a key component of the overall effectiveness of a company. Employees who are engaged with their jobs are more productive than those who are not. This is because engaged employees are dedicated to their jobs and believe in what they do. They are not merely coming to work for the paycheck; they are engaged emotionally, and this emotional commitment drives them to perform at their highest level.
Employee engagement can be enhanced through the creation of an environment that fosters connection and communication. When managers know their employees as individuals, they can give them opportunities to use their best talents and maximize their contribution. They can do this by interacting with them, talking to them about their lives outside of work, and aligning their work with each team member’s strengths. The best managers know where each person excels, and they know how to position them so that they can provide maximum value to the organization.
High levels of employee engagement have been linked to higher sales and profits for a business. Employees who are engaged in their work are more likely to stay in their jobs and spread the word about the company’s products and services. Employees who are engaged also tend to be happier and are more likely to be involved in new initiatives.
Here’s a common way to understand the relationship between the two: Job satisfaction is a one-way street and asks, “What can you do for me?” Employee engagement is a two-way street and asks, “How can I help make things better?”
To put it another way, until someone can understand what their employer is doing for them, they can’t feel fully engaged. Here are 4 key ways your organization’s level of job satisfaction may be impacting its overall employee engagement.
1. Poor Leadership Destroys Job Satisfaction
Just a few bad leaders within your organization can completely erode employees’ job satisfaction. When someone feels that their leaders don’t care about them or aren’t listening to their concerns, they lose their desire to stay engaged.
One of the biggest secrets to raising employee engagement is improving the leadership styles among your company’s managers. Someone in a leadership role doesn’t automatically have or develop leadership qualities, so they often need training and coaching to learn how to motivate their teams skillfully.
Emotional intelligence (EQ) plays a key role in being an effective leader. It’s even more important than someone’s intelligence quotient (IQ) because it captures their ability to nimbly navigate interpersonal conflicts and seize opportunities for productive growth.
2. Money Matters for Job Satisfaction
Employers sometimes avoid discussing compensation as a factor in increasing job satisfaction. It’s easier to believe that great workers aren’t motivated by money and just have higher aspirations.
To some degree, this is true. Superstar achievers aren’t solely motivated by money, but it’s part of a constellation of rewards for high achievement. When someone feels consistently undercompensated, their job satisfaction begins to suffer.
Attracting top talent to the company also requires competitive pay. A recent national salary study found that due to the impact of inflation and other economic factors, employees now expect high salaries and will avoid employers that downplay the importance of fair pay. Workers also feel more satisfied when companies offer additional perks like remote work, tuition reimbursement, flexible schedules, and opportunities for bonuses.
3. No Communication Leads to No Employee Engagement
Communication and engagement go hand in hand. A common reason why employees begin to disengage is that they feel dissatisfaction over poor communication between themselves and the people in leadership roles.
An employee may feel that their boss doesn’t provide enough performance feedback. They might be irritated that the company seems tight-lipped about new policy changes. Whatever the disconnection is, it leads to disengagement and your employees will eventually start looking for work elsewhere.
To learn more about communication-related employee engagement strategies, take a look at the Leadership Resources blog post, “How an Established Leader Can Better Communicate.” It shares actionable tips for boosting communication between employees and leaders.
4. The Ultimate Test of Satisfaction: Tough Times
When a company goes through hard times, employees face additional stressors that impact their job satisfaction. This was painfully evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought illness, stress, interpersonal conflicts, remote work issues, and struggles with job satisfaction.
The National Institutes of Health found that since the pandemic began, employees have started judging their employers more harshly on health and safety procedures. Negative feelings about safety protocols are proven to lead to less job satisfaction.
This phenomenon is also evident in employees’ perceptions regarding issues like social justice and ethical business practices. Gallup attributes a historic drop in employee engagement to the impact of widespread social unrest and persistent diversity and inclusion challenges among American employers.
Even a period of rapid growth, which is usually viewed as a positive sign of a successful business, puts your employees at risk of lower job satisfaction and engagement. Growth brings more pressure and responsibility, so your employees will need extra support along the way.
How to Learn More About Job Satisfaction and Employee Engagement
If you’re still wondering, “Why is employee engagement important?” or if your organization needs more ways to attract, engage, and retain top talent, Leadership Resources is here to help. We provide an array of time-tested leadership and engagement techniques to help companies identify and support outstanding employees.
Employee engagement is a crucial part of building your organization’s next generation of talented leaders. To learn more, please click below to download our whitepaper, “Identify and Develop the High-Potential Leaders of Your Organization.”