That old proverb, “Money can’t buy happiness”, is one that is usually applied to life in general. But when it comes to work, a salary that can afford to put food on the table, pay your bills and support your lifestyle comfortably is no doubt vital. But is money still one of the most important factors when finding a job that makes you happy?
Before you spend time matching your skills, personality and job requirements to a potential role that you think could bring you happiness, you should first define what happiness means to you.
What factors in a job are non-negotiables when it comes to being happy at work?
Does it come down to a certain level of responsibility, leadership or other factors that make you feel instantly fulfilled each day? Or do you find happiness is from a supportive team culture?
Working at a job you love greatly increases your chances of long-term career success and satisfaction, so it’s important to make the right decision for you.
Here are some key factors to think about when deciding if a job will suit you and, essentially, lead to happiness at work.
Personality and skills
Your job should be compatible with your attitude, beliefs and personality. It should make use of your key strengths and abilities but also give you the opportunity to gain new skills and knowledge in the areas you want to develop. If the job suits you, the work will be interesting and stimulating over the course of your time in the position. Don’t be afraid to be transparent about these factors when you first enquire or interview for a new role.
Salary, entitlements and conditions
The salary should provide fair and lawful compensation for your skills and experience. Find out how performance is measured and how often it is reviewed. It’s also important to ensure that company policies align with conditions that are important to you, such as leave provisions – breaks, overtime, public holidays, time in lieu – and flexible working arrangements.
Also, don’t overlook conditions for ending employment. When the time comes, can you imagine working off, for example, a 2-month notice period?
For a job to suit you, the company values must align with your own. Most companies will have their mission statement, vision and values somewhere on their website – have a look and see if their motto reflects where you’re currently at and where you want to be. Also research the quality of leadership on offer, the company’s financial position and future plans. Can you see yourself on that same journey or does it deviate off from your personal career plans?
At the extreme end, a lot of people leave their job due to a toxic culture. To avoid this, ask your trusted colleagues, friends and mentors about companies you’re hoping to apply for. Do employees love working there? Why? Or is there a high turnover? What’s the cause of this and is the company doing anything to address it?
If you’re using a professional recruitment consultant, enquire about business reputation, as they’ll have a good idea of what the company culture is like. Recruiters are experts at not only matching the right person for the role from an experience perspective but also from a cultural fit.
Is the company diverse in its culture? Are there any diversity and inclusion initiatives in place?
The more you get along with your team, office and wider company, the happier you’ll be in your role.
A key indicator of job satisfaction and overall job happiness is the opportunity for growth. Ensure the job and company has clear prospects for career development. You can do this by asking if the business offers a professional training and development program.
Otherwise, if you have suggestions or requirements around certain continued professional development, ensure you raise this at your first interview. Many companies are open to this, as they encourage their employees to dictate their professional development plan and understand that each role will have specific needs in order to best support its talent.
After all, if you don’t feel like you’re progressing or learning, you may find this will affect whether the role makes you happy in the end.
Purpose, CSR and volunteer days
Does the role inspire you? Does it align with your purpose? Are you able to make genuine change and contributions through your job?
What about companies that offer an annual leave day for a corporate social responsibility (CSR) day? Research has shown employees who participate in a company’s CSR and corporate volunteering programs are twice as likely to be satisfied with the career progression. So it might the difference between liking you job and loving your job. Asking about CSR during your job interview may also make you standout from other candidates as it demonstrates your desire to give back and make a difference beyond your role.
Common benefits that many companies now offer include gym, health insurance and shopping discounts. There might also be a social committee and team building days, which are purely for the social side of work. Connected to this are wider celebrations such as a Christmas party to wrap up the year, as a way for the company to say thank you for all the hard work from its staff.
For international businesses, working in another office overseas could be what you’ve been looking for as you level-up in your career. Some companies highly encourage an overseas stint and will have a dedicated structure in place to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible.
Finding a role that makes you happy will always be determined at an individual level – what works for one person will be completely different from somebody else. So ensure you take the time to reflect on these 7 factors and consider any other areas that are important to your happiness.
For advice about the latest roles, speak to one of our professional recruitment consultants. Our expert business knowledge will help you determine if the role and company is the right fit for you – and a positive step in your career progression and happiness.