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Workplace Engagement Vs. Satisfaction

Businesses and organizations have what is called engagement throughout all levels. Optimally, positive engagement is the desire; however, disengagement also arises. Unfortunately, the disengagement of a workforce, whether paid or voluntary, typically takes place when there are unwritten rules of engagement (ROE) that are expected to be followed throughout the institution. Yes, rules of engagement are typical for any institution and are a good business practice. However, challenges come about when they are unwritten, potentially causing unnecessary headaches for the corporation. Rules of engagement, if not correctly handled or published, can lead to the disengagement of employees, volunteers, and customers.

Behaviors of disengagement include:

  • The person demonstrates being robotic, apathetic, or detached

  • The person demonstrates being withdrawn, burned out, or shows no effort

  • The person is going through the motions of work and is not giving of themselves

  • The person shows a failure to develop close, constructive relationships at work

  • The person demonstrates a lack of vigilance for quality

  • The person demonstrates satisfaction with "good enough" instead of striving for excellence.

  • The person demonstrates hiding their true identity, perspective, capacity, and creative thoughts.

Another overlooked segment in the workplace is deciphering between an engaged employee and a satisfied worker. Engagement involves striving, seeking, and passion. It is an investment in the organization's successes and provides a positive energy level that psychologically and behaviorally yields strong performance. In contrast, satisfaction involves what the organization does for them and how content they are with the arrangement. Satisfaction is being content with the working conditions and opportunities the workplace provides. Being satisfied at a workplace may attract potential workers, but it does not engage them once they are on the payroll.

  • Engagement predicts employee performance.

  • Engagement involves passion

  • Satisfaction involves a feeling of being content.

Developing drivers that promote engagement is essential for greater employee performance and a more robust bottom line. The primary factors in this method focus on the facets of people's work and their immediate work context. Does your workplace provide psychological meaningfulness such as challenge and variety, empowerment, opportunities for growth and development, and clear expectations? Do your employees feel psychologically safe in that trust, inclusiveness, fairness, lack of bias, and respect is present at all levels? Is psychological availability consistent with the core values of the community culture? In practical terms, is there a balance of job demands versus job resources?

Engagement-driven management strategies involve but are not limited to the following:

  • Offering learning opportunities to continue education

  • Providing regular feedback

  • Including all employees by starting at the bottom and moving up

  • Embracing and learning different learning styles

  • Defining and operationalizing your core values

  • Giving employees autonomy

  • Building a solid onboarding process

  • Creating a transparent work environment

  • Being intentional, authentic, and deliberate about company culture

When people are fully engaged in their work, it is displayed in their behavior. Invest in your employees or workgroup with engagement-driven management strategies. It is not necessary or productively conducive to do so all at once. Smaller steps provide better results that supply a solid foundation for expansion and more effective processes over time—recognizing that focus should be placed upon whether a process is fair than on the outcome demonstrates fairness of decisions being made. Offer resources such as supervisory support, opportunities to be innovative, appreciation and respect, and skill variety. Remember that engagement, not satisfaction, commitment, or dedication, predicts performance, and it is essential to understand the differences, meaning, and relevance.

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