Employee Satisfaction Is Not Employee Engagement

What we call engagement is similar to the concept that Hungarian Psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined when he used the term flow. It occurs when people are fully present, working at their best, committed to the success of what they are involved in and using all of their knowledge, skill and experience to make something positive happen. People today often refer to this state as being ‘in the zone”. Employees can be fully satisfied though and still be very far from this highly engaged state.

If our efforts are to satisfy people, our focus is on giving them what they want. If we are working toward building an engaged workforce, our focus should be on giving them what they need. According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow has several important components including, clear goals, a sense of challenge and direct and immediate feedback. There are many times that we turn away from components like these as we work to keep employees satisfied.

Many companies pursue employee satisfaction by subsidizing lunches or putting free coffee in the break room. While they may satisfy a temporary want, these kinds of efforts do not lead to employee engagement. On the other hand, most managers struggle with delivering direct and immediate feedback and yet that is a component that is essential for employee engagement. It has to be both positive and negative feedback, by the way.

Managers and businesses focusing on satisfaction will work to make an employee’s job easier and yet to contribute to engagement we need to find the right level of challenge for the person. The work needs to be a bit of a stretch for them, but not so much of one that they don’t have some success. We are fully engaged when we are pushing ourselves but still capable of winning.

Engagement comes when we are in a culture that expects and celebrates success, have a coach that helps us develop and learn, and have a connection to what we are doing and the difference we make. Viable businesses can still fail with satisfied employees. Build a team of engaged employees and failure becomes highly unlikely. Only then, in fact, can you capture the full potential of your company.

Randy Hall is the founder and principal of 4th Gear Consulting. He is passionate about developing amazing leaders and thriving, principled organizations. He believes that nothing will have greater impact on our economy, our communities, our lives and our kids’ lives.

For more than a decade Randy has worked for and with organizations to help them realize more of their potential. His most recent roles in the corporate world were Senior Vice President of Learning and Leadership Development at Bank of America and Global Director of Learning and Development at Pfizer. Prior to moving into leadership development, he spent several years in sales and led his own high performing teams.

Importance of Correct, Precise Documentation When Selling Your Business

The premises were very shabby however the core business was extremely impressive, had masses of potential with huge barriers to entry due to the costs associated with buying new specialised equipment, obtaining suitable laboratory space, training staff in the use of instrumentation, obtaining accreditation’s and gaining the relevant licenses not to mention the time taken to gain the client loyalty and even then, having the right driver behind the wheel would be critical to its future.

Each meeting, phone conversation, email with the vendor was difficult as he was suffering from mild memory loss due to his old age and couldn’t remember a lot of what we had discussed previously so my battle with him was very uphill. I knew that I also had to look out for his interests when negotiating a sale and I made sure that every conversation between me, the vendor and the purchaser was well documented.

Everything that you should not do when trying to sell a business, he did. He increased staff wages as he thought it would the right thing to do for them moving forward, he purchased new equipment, he spent money on updating the computer and phone system, he took on new staff, all of which either reduced the net profit or was expected by a purchaser to be included in the sale price with no extra investment.

The owner had established the business over 18 years previously and had got it to a stage where he was finding it hard to move forward at a pace that it should have been worthy of. Each year turnover and profits had been increasing but the business and staff were in a constant struggle with their work load due to the severe lack of management, systems and procedures and even simple direction. This was a business that was seriously performing under its potential.

Once the appraisal had been finalised and all had been agreed on between me and the vendor, it was time to do my homework on the potential purchasers. It was quite apparent that this business was not run of the mill and most potential buyers would have absolutely no interest whatsoever, so I had to be very specific when seeking a buyer. I made contact with a select few companies, all based interstate or overseas as there are no other competitors here in WA to speak of.. I managed to get two companies who were extremely interested in buying out this business as they saw the huge potential that it held for them. The staff were all qualified and all wished to stay on after a sale occurred, the substantial amount of plant and equipment was all in good working order, some of which was brand new and the work just kept rolling in without much effort at all.

There was hurdle after hurdle, the vendor did not understand the importance of providing me with the information I needed to help me get this deal across the line, and it was a constant uphill battle!

My saving grace in the whole process was with the “acting manager” she understood that the owner was more of a hindrance than a help not only in the day to day operations but also with the information that I so desperately needed firstly to put the correct value on this business and then to enable me to present it for sale. After a very long haul, and lots of back and forth communication between the business manager and the owners accountant to gain the documents I needed, I was finally able to get enough information to enable me to not only give an accurate opinion for the selling price but to find the right buyer and successfully follow through to settlement.

The Manager of the business advised me that the owner had tried to sell the business himself the previous year and had found a suitable buyer but the communication between himself and the purchaser was so vague and misconstrued that both parties eventually agreed not to proceed as neither party was 100% sure of what they were selling or buying therefore the sale after many months of negotiation inevitably fell through.