Are you creating employee engagement surveys or employee satisfaction surveys?
The terms “engagement survey” and “satisfaction survey” are often used interchangeably; and in my opinion, wrongfully so. They are quite different – and savvy organizations that understand the difference will always want to measure levels of employee engagement over satisfaction.
Commitment is a key component of engagement that does not exist with satisfaction. Engaged employees love their work and continually look for ways to improve their work experience, and that has implications upon your customers. Satisfied employees, meanwhile, are typically happy if things stay the same, expectations are not changed and there is certain predictability about the work environment.
I know my wife would have been quite surprised if I presented her with a “satisfaction” ring rather than a sincere proposal to share a lifetime together. The term engagement implies a joint commitment toward the long-term success of the relationship. Satisfaction implies a general sense of how one party rates the relationship.
Organizations must “satisfy” employees; it is something employers do for them. Those individuals who say they are “satisfied” may or may not be actively involved in improving outcomes and looking for ways to enhance quality and improve productivity. Satisfied employees can come to work, collect a check and go home. Back to my relationship example – would you rather have your significant other say he or she is satisfied, or would you rather hear them say they are excited and eager and 100% committed to a successful relationship?
Organizations interested in engaging their employees are seeking active involvement from their employees, and employees are seeking work environments that are most conducive for well-being, development, recognition, and effectiveness from their organization’s leaders. The commitment is shared. Both parties understand that when all employees are engaged they are actively involved in business and customer outcomes. There is a shared responsibility for success and a sense of energy, focus and commitment that all people feel for their work and the organization.
Are you satisfied with your job? That question can be answered affirmatively by many people who merely do not hate their jobs. Does your organization value you? Is your organization effective? Does your organization engage you in creatively solving problems and listen to your ideas? Does your organization spend time and money developing your skills? These questions are tougher because it measures your level of engagement. Please do not assume satisfaction surveys and engagement surveys measure the same outcomes – they do not.
How to Create Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions That Measure Engagement:
- When creating an employee engagement survey, it’s a good idea work with experts.
- Choose a survey with validated survey questions that are shown to reliably measure engagement. Simply picking questions from a list ignores issues of validation and reliability.
- Avoid including random questions on topics that have very little to do with the employees’ level of engagement. For example, asking about the quality of the cafeteria food and employee parking availability is hardly linked to engagement, making these types of questions superfluous.
- Be wise. Dig deeper and maximize your survey by asking questions that will get to the heart of the issue.
Image courtesy of LWVC – Flickr, Creative Commons (Attribution)