Looking for a guide to finding your best workplace? Ron Friedman, who has a doctorate in social psychology, recently wrote a fun, easy-to-read book entitled The Best Place to Work. In it, he describes a variety of research about what creates a positive workplace regardless of the industry or type of workers employed there.
Great workplaces around the world
He found that great workplaces provide for a set of psychological needs shared by people around the world. Friedman writes that, in order to be healthy, happy and productive, people need to experience a sense of their own competence, connectedness to others, and autonomy.
- To maintain competence, whether we change jobs or stay in the same occupation or organization, he notes that we keep motivated by continuing to learn and meet new challenges.
- Connectedness is a critical factor in healthy workplaces, noting that workers who have onsite friendships experience greater trust in the workplace, are more productive, and stay with their employer longer.
- As for autonomy, Friedman frames this need in relation to workplaces that accommodate employees’ getting exercise, enough sleep, and the flexibility to support family well-being.
What about salary?
He also describes an interesting study about a topic that fascinates and compels many workers.
A group of academic researchers studied 86 published articles that described pay levels and job satisfaction. Their research focused on finding the impact of pay increases on job satisfaction. The study covered more than 15,000 employees of various organizations.
Findings indicated that pay levels had very little to do with how satisfied workers felt in their work. This is a shocking revelation to many of us whose first question about a career is often “how much does it pay?” Most of us want to know the expected pay before we would even consider looking at the job description and other details about a job opening.
How did the researchers account for the results? The majority believed that quick adaptation explained it. When we get a bump up in pay, we quickly acclimate to the new pay level and what it affords us. So while we may temporarily feel elated about our raise or a bonus, we adapt to seeing the new pay level as the baseline, and want to move from there.
Look for your best place to work
Much current research on job satisfaction indicates that positive, respectful relationships with colleagues and managers is the greatest contributor to a fulfilling work experience. And while CareerOneStop hasn’t developed the magic formula to find out which job or employer will provide your ideal environment, we do offer an excellent way to start the search yourself.
Connect with CareerOneStop’s Employer Locator to find a list of local employers that hire people with your skills, and explore their websites for indicators of the kind of work environment they provide. Or if finding your best place to work requires a better career fit, find out how your interests, skills and values might better match a new career.