Have you ever wondered why some executives and professionals appear to love their jobs and seem very happy at work? At the same time, their co-workers in a similar position are miserable. What makes the happier employee different? Even though culture, engagement, and morale seem to be discussed often regarding work, many employees are still unhappy. A poll asked, “Are you happy with your current job?” 36% indicated yes, 6% were undecided, and 58% of respondents said no. Where do you fall within this spectrum?

SurveyMonkey and CNBC have done additional research in their quarterly Workplace Happiness Index and @Work Survey. They polled over seven thousand American professionals to quantify how they feel about their jobs and roles. They explored satisfaction across age groups and industries to get comprehensive viewpoints and data. They identified that 32% of survey participants highlighted that they have considered quitting their job seriously in the last quarter. Analyzing those individuals’ dissatisfaction or displeasure led to quite a few key takeaways. Here are the top three factors that can lead to happiness at work!

Creating a Sense of Meaning Within the Workplace

Finding meaning within the work is the top contributor to workplace happiness. Spanning all age groups, 35% of workers indicated that finding meaning at work is the most important factor in finding happiness within their workplace. Do you feel like you make an impact on goals and projects at work? How critical is what you do for your company to provide the best services or products? You can talk with a mentor/coach or do some deep reflection to help find a sense of meaning in your work.

The Ability to Explore Opportunities to Grow and Advance

The survey determined that having chances to grow and advance was key for employees within the 18-24 age range. 24% of all respondents in this age group put a high emphasis on this point. Many younger professionals are interested in their career path progression and may consider leaving their current employer for a company that shows interest and invests in employees, preferring to promote from within their current workforce. This view was echoed by a participant in the poll, who highlighted they weren’t happy with their job at present, indicating a “lack of care for employee career growth.” If you don’t think your company has many opportunities to grow, try speaking with your higher-up or manager about open roles and any new skills you can pursue. You may also regularly check your organization’s website for job openings. Qualified internal candidates are given higher preference over external applicants for roles in many cases.

Receiving Adequate Pay

For employees ages 25-34, the survey found that “being well paid” mattered more than within any other group. This was also in alignment with our poll, where benefits and salary were a hot topic. Employees are more productive, happier, and are more likely to go above and beyond in their roles when they believe they are being fairly compensated. It is common for workers to have a foundational belief that they are worth more in terms of pay, even when they are not familiar with the current career market. If your salary is currently causing you discontent, research salary ranges online for your job and education level. You can also lookup some online job postings to see if you can find out what salary range similar, vacant positions are paying. Once you’ve done that background research, think about having a salary negotiation during your next performance review if you are truly underpaid.

Your level of happiness in a role usually depends on a number of factors. Research from our poll, SurveyMonkey, and CNBC have all highlighted having opportunities to grow and advance, understanding the meaning of your work, and being paid well in your position. In addition, those key factors are influenced by your workplace, your relationship with management, and your interest level in your role. What is one thing that would help to improve your workplace happiness?


Still find yourself looking for ways to boost career growth? Fly High Coaching is always here to help. We offer expert professional resume services and career coaching to help you improve throughout your career journey or make a career change. Contact us today to get started taking action on your career goals or check out our FREE Kick Start Your Success course for more ways to improve your career situation.

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Porschia Parker-Griffin

Porschia Parker-Griffin is a Certified Professional Coach, Business Consultant, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. When she is not coaching, Porschia enjoys traveling, cooking, and working with animals.
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