Employee satisfaction is how content people are with their jobs.

How do you measure Satisfaction?

It is typically measured using a survey or questionnaire.

What are some good survey questions?

Questions cover topics such as compensation, workload, attitudes about management and organization leadership, work-life balance, staff relationships and a sense of connection at work, improving working environment, work climate, and company culture.
See examples of survey questions related to these topics.

8 young workers of diverse colors and genders give thumbs up.

What are the elements of job satisfaction?

Staff questionnaires can assess aspects such as:

  • Compensation
  • Working environment
  • Tools & Resources
  • Workload
  • Attitudes
  • Work-life balance
  • Staff relationships
  • Company culture

These defining factors are important to companies who want to keep their workforce happy and reduce turnover, but having content contributors is only a part of the overall solution.

Is satisfaction important?

Yes. This is a prerequisite for engagement. Workers whose basic needs are not being met can't be engaged until the fundamentals are addressed.

It is also important to understand that satisfaction doesn't necessarily mean high performance. In fact, if your low performers are also satisfied, then "employee satisfaction" might not be helping your company.

Satisfaction versus

Satisfaction is the extent to which employees are happy or content with their jobs and work environment.

Compare that definition with this.

Engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work.

Young male executive wearing glasses shows a female coworker his computer.

Engaged employees are the engine of a company,
and their performance is proof of this.

What are examples of engaged employees?

Engaged contributors are motivated to do more than the bare minimum needed to keep their jobs. Examples include showing a strong sense of purpose and leadership, a desire to be challenged, and commitment to improve performance and workplace results.

They are the engine of a company, and their performance is proof of this. Satisfied workers are merely content with their jobs and the status quo. For some, this might involve doing as little work as possible. A employee satisfaction survey will not diagnose key factors that can help an organization improve employee engagement and performance.

Wondering how satisfied and engaged your staff is?

Turnover vs. Unwanted

Some level of turnover is healthy for all companies. Those who are not adding value or who are not a good fit for the company leave, making way for fresh new perspectives and new energy. We could call this healthy turnover. By contrast, unwanted turnover happens when a company loses talented contributors that they want to keep.

Two thirty-something men shaking hands.
Two thirty-something men shaking hands.

Why is satisfaction a
potential problem?

Talented and motivated people expect more from companies. For these contributors, being satisfied with their job includes a different set of criteria.

They want to be engaged and empowered. They want to be challenged and pushed with meaningful develop opportunities. They want their work to have meaning. They want a sense of purpose. A culture of continuous improvement and the importance of professional development opportunities to grow and advance their careers, to better their performance, are key factors that contribute to the motivation, commitment, and success of high performers.

Young black employee with beard wearing glasses sits at his desk, looking off into distance.

How does engagement affect performance?

As opposed to satisfied employees, workers who are engaged add value by pushing limits, driving growth and innovation. Organizations must be strategic and provide informal and formal learning experiences to create significant opportunities for contributors. Organizations can improve engagement and build a culture of appreciation and recognition, a workplace where contributors feel valued for their work. This improves performance.

Young Asian executive reviews workplace productivity charts.
Thirty-something white male with glasses rubs temples, looks stressed.

Employee satisfaction surveys are an important component of a broader engagement survey, but they are not a stand-alone solution. As a company, if you focus on increasing the wrong kind of satisfaction, you risk entrenching those workers who are adding the least value while driving your most talented people out. Improve engagement and build a healthy work culture by focusing on the right things.

Satisfaction and Engagement Semantics

Many people use the terms "satisfaction" and "engagement" to refer to not just the basic core needs of job satisfaction, but also the added meaning, motivation, and commitment of "engagement". There is nothing wrong with that. As long as your company measures and understands the importance of striving for the factors that we include in our definition of engagement, it really does not matter what you call it.

By conducting a staff questionnaire, asking the right questions, measuring the right factors with benchmarked results, questions and results backed by statistics, your organization can implement meaningful actions based on a strategic plan to improve employee engagement and, in turn, performance. If this is what you're doing, call it what you like.

How It Works


Choose the Best Survey Solution for your Organization

Employee Engagement Survey, 360 Degree Feedback, DEI Survey, Pulse Survey, Team Assessment, or Custom Survey.


Conduct the Survey

Prepare your organization, communicate the reasons for conducting the survey, and share the results with your teams.


Engage & Develop Your Employees

Implement meaningful actions and policies based on survey results.

We have helped Thousands of organizations worldwide

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