Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement

employee-engagementI have been concerned about employee job satisfaction and engagement and their effects on the business results for a while, likewise, many other HR and non-HR practitioners. Going into the details of these two topics and measuring the status of employee job satisfaction and engagement in an organization has always been the role of consulting houses, at most. Nowadays, this is changing as many businesses are starting to realize that such information is only valuable as it accumulates throughout the years. When such information builds up, trends will appear and conclusions becomes easier to draw, which will later help designing HR programs and schemes.

Although employee job satisfaction and engagement seems to be one topic, research suggests they are not. In this article, I will explore some of the differences between them, offer some ways to measure them, and discuss the results of recently published reports.

Job Satisfaction

According to Locke (1968), job satisfaction is defined as the gratifying feelings that come from achievement. Many published papers found that job satisfaction is related to turnover, and many other workforce issues including job-performance. In other words, the lower the job satisfaction rate is, the higher the turnover. When an employee job satisfaction rate is high, the employee is more likely to come to work from 8 to 5, or whatever the business hours are in an organization. However, this is not an indication of commitment and whether or not the employee is welling to walk the extra mile. If the business situation requires an employee to work overtime the higher rate of his or her job satisfaction, is not a guarantee that this employee will work overtime without being asked to. Nonetheless, it might be sufficient to retain the employee for quite some time without hearing him or her complaining.

Measuring job-satisfaction

One way to measure job satisfaction is by using questionnaires. The Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) is known as one of the most popular measuring devices. The short form of questionnaire consists of twenty questions related to the following aspects of job satisfaction:

  1. Ability utilization
  2. Achievement
  3. Advancement
  4. Activity
  5. Achievement
  6. Company policies and practices
  7. Compensation
  8. Co-workers
  9. Creativity
  10. Independence
  11. Moral values
  12. Recognition
  13. Responsibility
  14. Security
  15. Social service
  16. Social status
  17. Supervision human related
  18. Supervision technical
  19. Variety
  20. Working conditions

In a recent data that I have gathered from 97 banking employees in Saudi Arabia (Link), and using a customized version of The MSQ, I have found that advancement, security, and sense of accomplishment are the top three predictors of job satisfaction.

Employee engagement

The challenge today is not just retaining talented people, but fully engaging them, capturing their minds and hearts at each stage of their work lives.

Kaye, B., & Jordan-Evans, S. (2003).

Employee engagement is defined by some researchers as the commitment an employee has to the organization. In early published papers, we find that job satisfaction and organizational commitment are paired at most of the times.

A positive attitude held by the employee towards the organisation and its values. An engaged employee is aware of the business context, and works with colleagues to improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organisation. The organisation must work to develop and nurture engagement, which requires a two-way relationship between employee and employer.

The Institute of Employment Studies

Now that I have said earlier that job satisfaction is not what pushes the employee to walk the extra mile, employee engagement does. Not only that but also, a report published by the Corporate Leadership Council in 2004 shows that high employee engagement may lead in as much as 87% reduction in the desire to leave an organization (intent to leave). More interestingly, in their article, The Relationship of Engagement, Job Satisfaction and Turnover Intentions, Alarcon & Edwards presents the results of their research, which “indicated that engagement was a significant predictor of job satisfaction,…”. In short, I can say that satisfied employees are not necessarily engaged; however, engaged employees most likely are!

Measuring employee engagement

As with job satisfaction, employee engagement could be measured using questionnaires. Gallup’s Q12 appear to be the most popular engagement questionnaire. However, SHRM uses a different methodology in assessing the state of employee engagement. In their recently published report, Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: The Road to Economic Recovery, SHRM evaluated some 34 aspects of employee engagement categorized under eight categories:

  1. Career development
  2. Relationship with management
  3. Compensation
  4. Benefits
  5. Work environment
  6. Conditions for engagements
  7. Engagement opinion
  8. Engagement behaviors

Recent job-satisfaction/employee engagement reports

Gallup’s reports, usually, shows the status of employee engagement while SHRM’s shows both employee job satisfaction and engagement. I won’t discuss that into details, however, I will try to put the numbers closer and leave it to you, the reader, to look behind the scene!

SHRM’s 2013 report indicates that “81% of U.S. employees reported overall satisfaction with their current job, unchanged from 2012.” The same report indicated that engagement conditions, and behaviors and opinions reported a rate between 66-79%. On the other hand, Gallup’s engagement report of 2013 shows an engagement rate of 30% in the United States, 13% worldwide. These variations make me wonder, should organizations follow the methodology of Gallup, SHRM, others, or even develop their own?

In conclusion, measuring the employee job satisfaction and engagement is no longer outsourced by many organizations. Jobs are being created around it, which is a sign that organizations are starting to realize the importance of data accumulation in this regards. Employee job satisfaction and engagement are two close topics, yet they are different. Both employee job satisfaction and engagement are correlated with turnover and job-performance. Unlike employee engagement, job satisfaction can only keep talents for a short period. Whatever measuring devices and methodologies an organization decides to use, Gallup’s Q12, SHRM’s, The Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire or others, consistency is what brings valuable data. We have seen above the differences, which could be very large! It is interesting to see monetary compensation jumps to the top of SHRM’s reports, yet, advancement, security, and achievement appears to be of importance at all times!

LinkedIn: inducement towards competency modeling

LinkedInIn efforts to recruit the best fit for a job in any organization, recruiters strive to use as many recruiting strategies and devices as possible, including competencies. These efforts are an example of how organizations consider human capital as a primary source of competitiveness. Finding the right candidate depends heavily on the ability of the organization in realizing the job-related needs and matching them with applicants, which is a part of competency modeling. The competencies dictionaries available are one way of identifying competencies and evaluating them in an organized way. However, using technology in this regard appears to be very useful in many ways.

While some organizations have sound human resources information systems in place, I was able to view LinkedIn’s way of organizing competencies and linking them as an astonishing way of using information technology. I was reviewing my personal LinkedIn profile the other day, and I saw this “box” that link my skills and expertise, which I consider as competencies, with other professionals within the human resource industry. Particularly, it was showing me the number of skills and expertise that I have in common with other professionals within that industry. Although this might not be of importance to some professionals, it explained to me exactly what skills and expertise that I should have in common, especially with those whom current jobs’ are of a future interest to me! Professionals who are maintaining a LinkedIn profile might be interested in continuously developing themselves in order to gain as much as possible of common skills and expertise. Perhaps, a tweak to that box to show a pool of competencies that are commonly used by professionals in a specific industry is very helpful for those who strive for development.

Regardless of the difficulties organizations face when defining and evaluating job-related competencies, it is very useful to adopt such initiative. Starting by a thorough job-analysis to include all of “only job-related” competencies that are identified as “must have” in order to perform the job to the methodology used for evaluating them. Thinking about this makes me wonder how much untapped talents that we might stumble on in-house. At lest from my experience, I was able to meet with so many professionals who are working for the wrong function. They are not satisfied or engaged effectively in the workforce because they have so many competencies and a strong desire that would defiantly make them a better fit somewhere else within the same organization.

Job-Satisfaction: A Case of Banking Employees in Saudi Arabia

by renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In previous posts, I discussed a research about job-satisfaction in the banking field in Saudi Arabia. In this article, I am attaching the complete paper with all details.

It is necessary to note that the respondents were not randomly selected. A link to the survey was published online (social networks, e-mail, etc…). However, the results can provide good insights to HR managers in the region about the effects of job-satisfaction on several job-related aspects as well as how to manage employee engagement programs.


Data from 97 banking employees in Saudi Arabia were gathered in order to determine the predictors of job-satisfaction in the field. In other settings achievement, advancement, and recognition were found to be three main predictors. Between bankers in Saudi Arabia, it has been found that advancement, security, and the sense of accomplishment are the first three predictors. These three predictors are categorized in three different factors along with eleven other items that are in total responsible for explaining 57.22% of the variance. Overall job-satisfaction is found to be in a positive relationship with job seniority. (more…)

Recruitment & technology: what is next?

RecruitmentRecruitment & selection is a primary function of Human Recourse Management (HRM). This function makes the hiring decisions on behalf of the entire organization. Usually, it reflects the organization’s philosophy of the perceived utility of an employee. Therefore, makes hire/not-to-hire decisions based on the “helpfulness” of the candidate to the organization and the overall performance. This function defines the required knowledge, skills, and probably, personal traits that are required in order for applicants to be candidates, and then team members.

Recruiters may use various tools and methods that help them screen applicants and candidates. These include personal interviews, outsourcing to recruiting agencies, and much more. Psychological measurement (psychometrics) is one of the tools that could help decision makers in screening applicants according to their knowledge, skills, personality traits, etc.. Psychometrics can be extremely helpful in making fair decisions. Nowadays, social media play a crucial role in hiring decisions. It is a convenient and efficient method that reduces time consumed and money invested without compromising quality. (more…)

Job satisfaction: A predictive model (part 2)

The analysis of the previously mentioned survey (Job satisfaction: A predictive model – part 1) confirmed an already known fact that “pay” is not the strongest driver of job-satisfaction. In a matter of fact, it appeared to be the fourth with a correlation of 0.57. However, the major determinants of job-satisfaction appeared to be the following:

  1. The chance for advancement
  2. Steady employment (job-security)
  3. Sense of achievement

Note: this research used a sample from Saudi Arabia (Banking Sector) n=97.

Social Service – Majority satisfied (the chance to do things for other people)


Job satisfaction: A predictive model (part 1)

More than twenty banks operate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the time of writing this article. According to SAMA (Forty Seventh Annual Report), the total workforce in this sector is 37,410. Recently, we have conducted a survey to measure the level of job satisfaction among employees in banking sector. The survey was published on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks. 97 employees took the survey.

This article is broken into two parts. In this part of the article, I will show the demographic details of the participants and give general readings. In part 2 of this article, more detailed analysis will be published.

Starting by the geographical location, the 97 participants came from five different areas.

  • Central area 69%
  • Western areas 11%
  • Southern area 9%
  • Eastern area 6%
  • Northern area 4%

By age group

Distribution by age


HR manual

by jscreationzs

What could you include in an HR manual? If you were involved in writing one before, I am sure that you thought of that question for many times! Perhaps asked yourself if you have included all of what you need or not. Given that there is no generic HR manual that fits all organizations, the answer to that question becomes even harder. Nevertheless, there are many sections of an HR manual that could be common. Knowing what is common helps building the index and serves as the roadmap.

In this post, I would like to share with you the most common sections of an HR manual. However, if you believe it should include more, please share it here!

  • Hiring
  • Pay systems
  • Payroll administration
  • Performance system
  • Health benefits
  • Compensation
  • Development
  • Safety & security
  • Leaves
  • Retirement
  • Termination
  • Rules & conducts
  • Nondiscrimination
  • Record-keeping