Revealed: what makes your workers happy

A comprehensive new survey of over 12,000 North Americans is casting light on what drives workplace happiness across the country.

Revealed: what makes your workers happy
Every HR professional strives for workplace happiness but it’s not always easy to pin down exactly what drives it – now, a comprehensive new study is offering invaluable insight.

The survey – launched by recruitment giant Robert Half and well-being guru Nic Marks – saw more 12,000 Canadian and U.S. workers share their opinions.

Overall, the research revealed that most professionals are generally content and on a happiness scale of 0-100, the group scored an average of 71.

Having pride in the organization they work for was the number one driver of happiness among respondents and those workers were three times more likely to be happy than those who without a sense of pride for their employer.

The research also proved that respect and appreciation are well-valued by workers, coming in second and third respectively as the top happiness drivers.

“This research shows a high level of happiness at work among professionals overall, but also demonstrates unique challenge areas by sector and company size," says Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half. 

The survey revealed that small companies seem to have an easier time when it comes to keeping their workforce happy – people working in firms with 10 or fewer employees were revealed to have the highest happiness levels whereas organizations with 10,000 or more reported the lowest.

Certain roles were also far more likely to be satisfied with senior executives showing the highest levels of happiness and those in sales or customer services showing the lowest.

Age was also a big influencer with those aged 35 to 54 least happy on the job, most stressed out, and lease interested in their work. In contrast, workers over the age of 55 were identified as happiest.

Other findings of the report include:
  • Those in the education and training sector, as well as marketing and design, report the highest levels of on-the-job happiness and interest in their work while finance professionals were among those reporting the lowest levels on these two factors.
  • Legal professionals report the highest stress levels at work, while technology employees cite the lowest stress levels.
  • For those ages 34 and under, a sense of accomplishment is the strongest determinant of happiness.
  • Different professions have slightly different key drivers of happiness at work. For example, feeling appreciated is a primary factor for accountants, while doing worthwhile work is more important for marketing professionals.

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