Despite Some Toxic Workplaces, Most Americans Feel Fulfilled at Work

 

 

When you consider adults spend 90,000 hours of their lifetime at work, and how work impacts or shapes the personal lives of 3 billion people in the world (good, bad or something in between), you begin to realize just how connected our experiences at work—workplace culture—are to our sense of well-being.

SHRM has placed workplace culture at the center of public awareness this month with the launch of three new television commercials, our Workplace Convos & Coffee activation at the Oculus in New York City (happening today!) and the release of a brand-new report, The High Cost of a Toxic Workplace Culture.

The message resonating through all these initiatives is that weak workplace cultures present a social and economic problem that needs to be addressed by top leaders in organizations. HR is uniquely positioned to lead workplace change, so it is up to our profession to value and promote strong, healthy, inclusive cultures where employees are engaged and fulfilled.

To better understand the state of workplace culture in the U.S., SHRM decided to dig deeper into how fulfilled Americans feel in their jobs, and whether where they live makes a difference.

Yesterday we released the findings of our first-ever Workplace Fulfillment Index.[i] Our research team identified 26 workplace factors associated with the employee experience—supportive leadership, pay, work-life flexibility, etc.—that individuals say are most important to their fulfillment.

The good news is that, in general, most Americans feel fulfilled at work, with Baby Boomers feeling it more than workers of other generations. The new study also showed that across the sample, workers value factors like flexibility to manage both life and work issues; opportunity to do meaningful work; and ethical, honest leadership more than an organization’s commitment to corporate social responsibility, commute time, and the organization’s commitment to community.
 


 

 

In addition, SHRM ranked the 20 most populated metro areas by most- to least-fulfilled. At the top of the list was Miami, Orlando, Chicago, Tampa Bay and Houston.

Denver, New York City, Atlanta, St. Louis and Boston fared the worst.

Ensuring that we give our employees the best possible experience at work has never been more critical to business success. At SHRM, we believe that begins with clear, honest conversations about what’s working at work—and what isn’t.

 

 


 Methodology: The study examined the 20 most populous metro areas in the U.S. and the San Diego area to determine which cities have the most and least fulfilled workers and which of 26 workplace factors (e.g., supportive leadership, pay, work-life flexibility) individuals say are most important to their fulfillment. Factors were identified as either ‘cultural’ (the type of work, relationships with coworkers) factors or ‘financial’ (pay, benefits) factors.  Fulfilled was defined as those who indicated that they were either extremely or very fulfilled at work. The final rankings for the workplace factors that most contribute to fulfillment at work were calculated using maxdiff ranking methodology.

The study was conducted in August 2019 using a non-probability based online panel. A total of 8064 employed workers and individuals looking for work were surveyed. Of these 8064 individuals, 4011 were from the 20 most populous metro areas in the U.S. and San Diego, and 4053 were from a U.S. national sample.

 

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