If you want to increase employee engagement, you cannot understate the importance of employee satisfaction. After all, if your employees are not satisfied and fulfilled in their role, you will likely never be able to fully engage them in the long run.
This is something that is generally missed when talking about employee engagement strategies, which tend to look at engagement methods that are blanket fixes for everyone in an organization.
We've talked about how employee engagement works best on a personal level before, but we wanted to dig in a bit more with a full article about the importance of employee satisfaction and how you can help employee feels more fulfilled in their roles.
Let's get started!
The Importance of Employee Satisfaction: Getting Started
When you first start looking into ways to increase employee engagement and satisfaction, you will always likely start with surveys.
Surveys are a great way to understand what your employees are thinking and feeling. During this time - which we like to refer to as intelligence gathering - you should always try to understand what motivates each individual employee, what their work and life goals are, and what roles they truly want.
That last part may seem a bit weird. They want the role they signed up for, right? Well, in an ideal world, yes, but that's not always the case. Sometimes people take roles because they need to, you know, work. They then fulfill themselves outside of work with hobbies, side hustles, and maybe even part-time roles.
While this is completely fine - some people actually prefer this because it gives them more freedom to explore their passions without worrying about making enough earnings to do it full-time - you can always allow those passions to flourish with special projects and things of that nature.
In other words, it's vital to know as much as possible about your employees - and surveys are a great way to start.
You may want to add extra layers to this process, such as having managers interview their staff members. Interviewing, especially when done by someone who is already close to the employee, can lead to greater insights that you can use to fully understand what you can do to make your employees more satisfied.
The Importance of Employee Satisfaction: Customize Your Action Plan
Like we mentioned before, there are no 'silver bullet' solutions to employee engagement. You need create solutions that allow individual employees to have a plan of action that works for them.
For example, say that you find an employee who loves art and has been honing their craft for years outside of work. This was found through interviewing and survey results.
That employee may love to lend their skills to their day job. If there is a new creative project that calls for some design work. Why not give them a chance to take a crack at it, allowing them to partake in the project and also showcase their work. They may also be incredibly excited to have their work featured on a larger scale.
Not only is this great for the employee, you may end up saving time and money hunting down a freelance artist.
This is a prime example because day-to-day work is one thing that's hard to change about the employee experience. If you have a bunch of employees working for you that are not working roles that they really love and can feel fulfilled by, you have limited options. And, if you don't feel like you have employees that are working for you just because they need to work, you're probably fooling yourself.
Now, this is just one example. You need to customize each experience based on what the employee wants if you want them to be satisfied in the end. Sometimes you may not be able to work out a solution that's perfect. But by paying attention to what your employees want and need, you'll definitely be on the right path starting out.
The Importance of Employee Satisfaction: What Not to Do
You can probably guess what we're going to say here: don't try to make a blanket solution.
What do we mean when we say that? Well, there are a lot of companies out there that want to increase employee engagement but they don't want to take the time to fully investigate the needs of each employee or come to an understanding that truly reflects their workforce.
Another example: in the past, employee engagement strategies involved bringing in ping pong tables and things like that to make work feel more like home. Or, employers bring in speakers and leadership development people to try to get their workers fired up for their roles. This all rings so hollow and contrived.
Your workers will definitely notice this. Remember back in grade school when speakers would come and talk about various things? You probably remember them coming in and you getting out of class, but you do remember anything they ever said? Did you just roll your eyes and let that info go in one ear and out the other? This is what happens with staff a lot of times.
Because it's not something the staff wants to do. They don't see it helping them in their pursuits. This is why it's vital to understand what those pursuits are. Say you find someone in your organization that loves sales and wants to move into that position but right now they are in an admin assistant role. This person may very well love to go to training sessions about sales and explore that world. So why not allow them to do so?
The same can be said for really any want or pursuit.
The goal, in the end, is just being as flexible as possible. That way employees are satisfied and not pushed to active disengagement.
The Importance of Employee Satisfaction: The Takeaways
The takeaway here is that employee satisfaction goes hand in hand with employee engagement. You cannot have one without the other.
To enhance employee satisfaction, you can user the same methods you would to collect data about your employees wants and needs. Try to understand what your staff members want to do and what would allow them to feel more fulfilled in their day to day work.
If you collect enough data and make a concrete action plan for each staff member, you'll be able to help them reach their goals, which will always make them feel more satisfied.