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Location, Location, Location – It Even Boosts Satisfaction


You might be throwing incentives, recognition programs, swag, and bonuses at your team members all in the pursuit of satisfaction. But one thing you’ll likely overlook is where your office is located. That’s right – location impacts happiness and engagement too.

So where do highly satisfied employees live?

Costa Rica

Among the 57 global markets surveyed by Universum1, Costa Rica boasts the happiest and most loyal workforce in Latin America. This study analyzed more than 200,000 young professionals to determine their job satisfaction and their likelihood of staying with their current employer.


“Swedish employers have generally realized that assisting employees with managing the life puzzle is essential,” comments Sofi Granberg, an IMPACT Group Global Career/Transition Coach based in Stockholm. “Having the infrastructure in place and the trust to let employees work from home is a key part in employee satisfaction in Sweden.” Sofi also shares that employees are listened to and hierarchy is minimal, which facilitates faster decision making.

U.S. Breakdown

In the U.S., the shakedown is interesting. According to, the most satisfied workers live in Hawaii, West Virginia, Kansas, Maine, and Nevada. The least satisfied? New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Washington, Rhode Island, and Vermont scored the lowest.2

Forbes takes it a step further and breaks down the happiest cities: San Francisco, Cincinnati, Portland, San Jose, and Santa Clara top the list.3

“San Francisco has a very competitive job market,” says David Grant, an IMPACT Group Career Coach based in the city. “Companies are competing for the best talent. They spend more time and resources to ensure their employees remain engaged and happy. They are committed to creating an employer brand that shows they care for their people.”

Top 10 happiest companies4 and their HQ locations

1. Bristol-Myers Squibb: New York City, NY

2. Amgen, Inc.: Thousand Oaks, CA

3. Keller Williams Realty: Austin, TX

4. Visa, Inc.: Foster City, CA

5. Total Quality Logistics: Cincinnati, OH

6. Adobe Systems Inc.: San Jose, CA

7. PNC Financial Services: Pittsburgh, PA

8. Parsons Corporation: Pasadena, CA

9. Chevron Corporation: San Ramon, CA

10. Prudential Insurance Company of America: Newark, NJ

Four of the top 10 organizations are headquartered in or near the happiest cities.

Sure, there isn’t enough evidence to move your headquarters this year.

But it is food for thought as you think about hidden factors that drive engagement and satisfaction. How can you mirror Swedish employers – building trust among employees and flattening hierarchy? What is needed to imitate San Francisco-based organizations – focusing on building an employer brand that puts people first?

Here are 3 ways to impact employee satisfaction – even if you’re located in Vermont.

1. Recognize your employee. Encourage leaders to verbally recognize the importance of team member’s work. Employees feel valued when they know their work is noticed and appreciated.

2. Care about employee growth. Intentional employee development and career planning has a direct tie to engagement and satisfaction. Investments in employee development create a positive outlook.

3. Value transparency. Management transparency is a top factor for determining employee happiness. Upward, downward, and sideways communication about company goals, organizational changes, and employee contributions increase an employee’s investment and involvement within the company.

Want to learn more? Check out 6 Easy Ways to Boost Engagement and 4 Questions to Gauge Your Employer Attractiveness to drive change today.

1 Universum Global

2 The Five States Where America’s Happiest Workers Live, GOOD

3 The 10 Happiest Cities to Work in Right Now, Forbes

4 The 50 Happiest Companies to Work for in 2017, Forbes


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