orange folderPsychologists at Cangrade have completed a research study identifying the best predictors of job satisfaction and happiness in the workplace. Traditionally, money has been viewed as the primary driver of job satisfaction and employers have responded in kind by increasing compensation in order to improve performance. But the new study undermines this conventional assumption by finding money at the bottom of the list of factors contributing to job satisfaction.

When asked “How much of a person’s job satisfaction does each job characteristic account for?” nearly 600 participants responded:

• Intellectual stimulation (18.5 percent)

• Achievement and prestige (18.4 percent)

• Power and influence (14.9 percent)

• Job security (8.8 percent)

Work-life balance (8 percent)

• Affiliation and friendship (5.9 percent)

• Money (5.4 percent)

“These findings are quite surprising, because employers often assume things like income are the strongest drivers of happiness on the workplace. In fact our research shows that it may be the weakest,” said Steve Lehr, Cangrade’s Chief Science Officer.

The results of the survey led Cangrade to make the following recommendations for developing happy employees:

• Ensure task variety and intellectual stimulation through autonomy, influence, and opportunities to gain prestige and recognition.

• Provide breaks for employees whether they explicitly ask for them or not.

• Offer additional financial incentives, security, and social opportunities in moderation.

“Research of this sort will change how things are done,” said Lehr. “If there is a major takeaway here, it’s that we can finally prove that money doesn’t buy happiness, and that happiness isn’t as elusive as we might think.”


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