Infographic: Employee Engagement Vs. Satisfaction – What’s the Difference?

Download the PDF

Although satisfaction is essential, it’s only part of the employee engagement process. Learn the differences so you can cultivate highly engaged employees in your organization.

The Little Extra

Satisfaction is transactional. In return for their work, companies provide employees with the basics: compensation, tools and resources, physical safety, and respect to name a few.

Engagement is transformational. It contributes to peak experiences that make employees eager to give extra, discretionary effort.

It’s About Time

Satisfaction is about temporary happiness.

Engagement is about long-term feelings of purpose, belonging, growth, and personal accomplishment.

Shared Responsibility

Satisfaction is controlled by the organization.

Engagement is shared by the employer and employee, a 50-50 responsibility.

Show Me the Money

Satisfaction is expensive. Raises, perks, and office extras cost a lot of money.

Engagement can cost nothing but requires a conscious effort.

What’s My Motivation

Satisfaction is based on factors, which don’t necessarily motivate people but when taken away can cause them to be demotivated.

Engagement is about using the heart, spirit, hands, and mind.

More Than a Feeling

Satisfaction involves only feelings.

Engagement involves feelings as well, but also requires action.

To unlock the lasting power of employee engagement, these five ENGAGEMENT MAGIC elements are essential and should be cultivated within an organization:

Learn More About ENGAGEMENT MAGIC Training

INFOGRAPHIC: The 3 Employee Experience Contracts

Handshaking partners

INFOGRAPHIC: The 3 Employee Experience Contracts

(As conveyed in the book, The Employee Experience: How to Attract Talent, Retain Top Performers, and Drive Results)
The Contract is a concept, a mental construct that we use to understand and tweak the expectations at stake in any relationship, whether it’s business or personal. Every relationship has a Contract. The Contract is the totality of explicit and implicit expectations that define the operating rules of the relationship, whether we are aware of them or not––every relationship comes with a Contract. The Employee Experience Book Cover

The Contract is the totality of explicit and implicit expectations that define the operating rules of the relationship. Every relationship has a Contract.

Some Contracts are explicit, visible, and understood by all parties in a relationship, such as a written statement of work from a vendor or the offer letter to a new employee spelling out the job description, benefits, bonus structure, and the you-do-this-I-give-you-that details. Like the tip of an iceberg, these Contracts are seen by all parties and well-understood. The expectations are out in the open and clearly defined. We call these the Brand Contract and Transactional Contract, but what’s underneath the water. We all know the iceberg has a larger mass that dives deep into the water yet remains unseen. We call this the Psychological Contract. These are the implicit expectations that aren’t openly or clearly defined yet exist within every organization and relationship.

The Three Contracts

Every contract is made up of three sub-contracts, as mentioned earlier:

  1. Brand Contract

    The Brand Contract is how we are viewed publicly or are seen by others. It consists of the promises that our brand identity––what we profess to be and what we stand for as an organization or team––makes to the people who are exposed to it.

  2. Transactional Contract

    The Transactional Contract is the mutually accepted, reciprocal, and explicit agreement between two or more entities that defines the basic operating terms of the relationship.

  3. Psychological Contract

    The Psychological Contract is the unwritten, implicit set of expectations and obligations that define the terms of exchange in a relationship.

Why is The Contract between employee and employer like an iceberg?

Like an iceberg, only part of the Contract is openly visible to all parties involved. Not every expectation makes its way into the written Contract. The implied part of any Contract is what carries the weight of the subconscious, unspoken expectations that each party brings to the relationship. These implied Contracts are the type your grandfather meant when he talked about doing business based on a handshake back in the day––nothing formal, other than the mutual belief that each party would act with the best interest of both sides at heart. With this Psychological, or implicit, Contract, trust is everything. Without it, there’s no deal.

Read the Book: The Employee Experience

So a Contract is really like an iceberg: You might see the written, express part bobbing above the water, but the larger part––the implied part––is submerged. The implied component is the most important section of any Contract, and that’s where things can go sideways. This is where Expectation Alignment Dysfunction runs rampant.
Infographic: Employee Experience Contracts

Share this Image On Your Site

Get the book, The Employee Experience

INFOGRAPHIC: The ROI of Employee Engagement


Do Employee Engagement Initiatives Really Work? What’s the payoff?

We asked human resources executives and managers in over 200 organizations around the world about the return on investment from employee engagement initiatives and impact that employee engagement has on the organization.

Download PDF Version of Infographic: The ROI of Employee Engagement


When asked: How would you describe the impact of employee engagement on your organization overall?

The overall response was, “POSITIVE.” Some open-ended comments were:

“Huge impact!”

“It’s a work in progress and we have a long way to go still.”

“Very positive to our cultural goals.”

“It is vital to providing quality care and fulfilling our mission in the community, so we take it very seriously.”

When asked: Does your organization measure its return on investment (ROI) for employee engagement programs?

We found that only 9% of companies measure the ROI of their employee engagement programs.

When asked: Which of the following metrics are compared to employee engagement scores in your company? Please check all that apply: Employee Retention, Performance Metrics, Customer Satisfaction, Profitability, Product/Service Quality, Other.

We learned that most companies compare employee engagement survey scores to retention numbers followed by other performance metrics.

When asked: In what ways have you seen a return on the organization’s investment in employee engagement?

We found that companies report higher satisfaction, retention, and performance as a result of their investment in employee engagement.

When asked: How strongly do you agree with the following statement: “Our program(s) to improve employee engagement has (have) given us the ROI/results we hoped for.

Only 27% of companies believe that their programs to improve employee engagement have produced the ROI they hoped for.

The ROI from employee engagement most frequently reported is employee retention. Overall, the research shows that most companies aren’t doing a very good job at tracking ROI from their employee engagement initiatives, but most report positive benefits and outcomes, especially retention.

Download 2016 State of Employee Engagement Report

INFOGRAPHIC: 8 Employee Engagement Mythbusters
INFOGRAPHIC: ENGAGEMENT MAGIC® – Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement
INFOGRAPHIC: What Do Engaged Organizations Look Like?
INFOGRAPHIC: Employee Engagement vs. Satisfaction. What’s the Difference?
INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Personal Employee Engagement Wins
INFOGRAPHIC: Where Do You Land on the Employee Engagement Spectrum?

INFOGRAPHIC: ENGAGEMENT MAGIC – Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement

Engaged employees

What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is an emotional state where employees feel passionate, energetic, and committed to their work. This translates into employees who give their hearts, spirits, minds, and hands to deliver a high level of performance to the organization.

When we first look to join an organization, we may be enticed by some salary promises, the company brand, or cool perks. Important? Of course. But these factors, called “satisfaction elements,” don’t increase employee engagement. Engagement goes beyond satisfaction. Employee engagement occurs when we find meaning, autonomy, growth, impact, and connection–MAGIC–in what we do.

5 keys for engaging people infographic

Employee Engagement is collaborative.

Employee engagement is a 50-50 proposition–a two-way street. Yes, the organization is responsible for creating an environment where engagement can flourish, but the employee has an equal responsibility to CHOOSE to be engaged.

Employee Engagement is MAGIC

The data–lots and lots of data–is what sets ENGAGEMENT MAGIC apart. Over the years, DecisionWise has deployed assessments in thousands of organizations in more than 70 countries and in more than 30 languages.

From these assessments, DecisionWise has built an engagement database of more than 50 million responses. ENGAGEMENT MAGIC: Five Keys for Engaging People, Leaders, and Organizations summarizes this research and provides a guide for managers to increase engagement.

Do you like Infographics? Here are some more for your enjoyment:

5 Growth Conversations to Engage and Retain Your Employees

How Leaders Can Help Shape The Employee Experience in Times of Crisis

The Cost of a Bad Manager

Employee Engagement eLEARNING

How to Manage Poor Attitudes and Negativity in the Workplace (INFOGRAPHIC)

Negativity in the workplace has a stronger influence on an organization than positivity, so it is crucial to manage it quickly and effectively. In this infographic, learn the effects of negative attitudes in the workplace and how to better manage negative attitudes in your personal environment, or within the team you manage.

Poor attitudes

Infographic by Quill

Employee Engagement Survey
More Infographics:

INFOGRAPHIC: 8 Employee Engagement Mythbusters
INFOGRAPHIC: Employee Engagement vs. Satisfaction. What’s the Difference?
INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Personal Employee Engagement Wins
INFOGRAPHIC: Where Do You Land on the Employee Engagement Spectrum?

INFOGRAPHIC: 8 Employee Engagement Myths and Facts

Sherlock Holmes

With more organizations becoming aware of the importance of engagement, the media coverage of the topic has become widespread and more scholarly. This, however, can be a double-edged sword. In a September 3, 2011, opinion piece in the New York Times titled “Do Happy People Work Harder?” Harvard professor Teresa Amabile and researcher Steven Kramer shared some of the results from a project in which they collected more than twelve thousand diary entries from 238 employees at seven companies.

Download: Sample Employee Engagement Survey
They found that about a third of the time, the workers were unhappy, unmotivated, or both—but that on the days that they were happy, they were more apt to have new ideas. Amabile and Kramer write:

“Managers can help ensure that people are happily engaged at work. Doing so isn’t expensive. Workers’ well-being depends, in large part, on managers’ ability and willingness to facilitate workers’ accomplishments—by removing obstacles, providing help, and acknowledging strong effort. A clear pattern emerged when we analyzed the 64,000 specific workday events reported in the diaries: Of all the events that engage people at work, the single most important—by far—is simply making progress in meaningful work.”1

Articles like this create a compelling and data-driven case for the importance of engagement and the role that engagement plays in performance. However, they can also confuse readers who don’t understand the concept of engagement. For many, words and phrases like happiness and work harder create confusion and fuel misconceptions about what engagement is and isn’t. Is engagement about feeling happy? Is it about simply getting work done? Not quite. So let’s take a look at some of the myths surrounding engagement and the facts behind them:

Infographic - 8 Employee Engagement Mythbusters

Employee Engagement Survey
Do you like Infographics? Here are a couple more for your enjoyment:

INFOGRAPHIC: Employee Engagement vs. Satisfaction. What’s the Difference?

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Personal Employee Engagement Wins

INFOGRAPHIC: Where Do You Land on the Employee Engagement Spectrum?

1 Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, “Do Happier People Work Harder?” New York
Times Sunday Review, September 3, 2011.

INFOGRAPHIC: What Do Engaged Organizations Look Like?

This infographic provides a comparison of employees and their behaviors in engaged and disengaged organizations. Which type of organization do you work for?

So what DOES an engaged organization look like? Heck, what does a disengaged organization look like? Satisfaction, motivation, and happiness are like seeds, soil, and water. Without them, you can’t grow engagement. But on their own, they don’t create engagement. To grow crops, you need one more thing: the sun’s energy. To grow engagement, you need energy of employer and employees communicating, collaborating, building trust, and promoting shared values. That’s when magic happens.
Download: Sample Employee Engagement Survey

This infographic is based on information from over 14 million survey responses presented in the book ENGAGEMENT MAGIC®: Five Keys for Engaging People, Leaders, and Organizations.
DecisionWise Infographic Engaged vs. Disengaged Organizations

More infographics:
INFOGRAPHIC: Employee Engagement vs. Satisfaction. What’s the Difference?
INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Personal Employee Engagement Wins
INFOGRAPHIC: Where Do You Land on the Employee Engagement Spectrum?
Employee Engagement Survey