What Really Makes Us Happy?

Joe Phelps | August 29, 2017

Extensive research has been done on what’s important to us in our jobs. Most studies conclude that the keys to job satisfaction are (in random order because the mix is weighted differently for everyone):

  • Recognition for a job well done – Mark Twain said he could live for two months on a good compliment.
  • A healthy working environment – clean, well-lit, proper equipment and adequate space inhabited by people who care and who communicate in an honest, timely fashion.
  • Meaningful work – to help achieve something worthwhile.
  • Responsibility – a culture that places responsibility on people for their own actions, which indicates trust and provides a feeling of ownership.
  • Opportunities to learn – and grow with greater responsibility and, ultimately, to increase one’s value to the organization.
  • The chance to do great work – not just work that meets minimum standards and expectations, but quality work to be proud of.
  • Understanding – knowing how the work relates to the realization of the overall goals of the business.
  • Working with interesting, motivated, responsible people – whose personal and professional goals are aligned with one’s own.
  • Often at the bottom of the list is pay, but equitable compensation is important – linked not to longevity or rank, but to performance; being a true partner by sharing profit and equity in the business.
  • Job flexibility and personal freedom.

Now take a moment to review the list again.

With the free market determining labor costs (salaries), the most important value-added component that a company can offer its people is job satisfaction.

*Article excerpted from Pyramids Are Tombs (2005) and edited for Creative Strategies. And now, 12 years later, these are all still most important to people.