Let’s be clear. The terms employee engagement and employee satisfaction are NOT interchangeable. This article is one of the worst examples I’ve seen of the terms being used interchangeably, to great confusion.

Why does this matter? Employees can be quite satisfied with their job, your company and their place in it without ever engaging in the work. Think about it. Have you ever had an employee or colleague who was perfectly satisfied to come to work every day where they could happily surf the web, Facebook with their friends or play computer games? Perhaps that’s a bit extreme, but we all know employees who are satisfied with being left alone in their mediocrity.

Engaged employees, on the other hand, are passionate and alive with the desire to perform well and do so in alignment with your strategic objectives. These are the employees you need to be focused on. These are the employees for whom you need to be creating an environment in which they want to engage for the long-term. Measuring employee engagement with a goal for improving that environment is always worthwhile.

A new book, Engagement: Winning the Battle for Customer and Employee Hearts and Minds, explains why this is important – to both employees and customers:

“We know that emotionally engaged employees feel like they are doing something valuable for their organisations and that their efforts will make a difference. Customers know when they are talking to emotionally engaged employees. The positive feelings that employees have about their jobs and employers influence the level of service they give to customers. When these positive experiences continue to happen, then customers become engaged, and they become advocates for the company’s products and services.”

With this in mind, are you measuring and trying to improve employee satisfaction or employee engagement?