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Benefits, Advancement Key to Worker Happiness, Report Says

An analysis of employee reviews for more than 250,000 large U.S. organizations reveals that a comprehensive benefit mix, opportunities for career advancement and work/life accommodation are top factors in workers' happiness, outpacing even salary. The 2011 analysis was conducted by CareerBliss, a career development website and online community.

The analysis evaluated key factors that impact worker happiness, including benefits and incentives, growth opportunities, work/life balance, compensation, employees’ relationships with their boss and co-workers, work environment, job resources, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks and control over work done on a daily basis. The data accounted for how employees valued each factor and how important that factor was to the employee’s overall happiness. At least 50 employee reviews per employer were required.

A Rich Benefits Mix

Cable TV provider Comcast, which scored among the top companies for employee happiness, offers its workers a competitive benefit package that includes above-average health insurance coverage, a dollar-for-dollar 401(k) match, free financial planning services, life and disability insurance, tuition reimbursement, commuter benefits, legal benefits, adoption benefits, long-term care insurance and pet insurance. In addition, it offers free cable TV and Internet and discounted phone service for employees living in a Comcast service area.

“We take great pride in caring for our employees, our customers and our communities,” said William Strahan, Comcast senior vice president of HR, in a statement released by CareerBliss. “We believe it’s essential to invest in proper training, communication, competitive pay and benefits, and professional growth opportunities to create a supportive and motivating work environment where diverse employees thrive.”

Career Advancement Opportunities

Another top factor contributing to employee happiness is career advancement, the analysis found. Among the highest scorers in this area was the U.S. Navy, which offers service men and women a career advancement program. Service members stated that the Navy training programs provided them with skills that would be applicable in the public and private sector.

“Navy leadership remains committed to taking care of our sailors and their families," said Stephanie Easter, assistant deputy chief of naval operations for manpower, personnel, training and education. "Competitive traditional benefits such as outstanding health care, opportunities for education, training and a retirement plan coupled with innovative work/life balance initiatives implemented over the last several years make the Navy an attractive long-term career choice.”

Work/Life Factors

Work/life balance has been a significant influence on employee satisfaction levels year over year, according to the analysis. "Our data continue to show that even more important than salary is a company’s commitment to providing a balanced work environment that allows employees to enjoy ample time with their families and friends outside of work,” said Matt Miller, chief technology officer and co-founder of CareerBliss.

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