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Happiest US companies highlight the need for positive management

For firms looking to shake up their management styles and reengage employees, taking a glance at the competition can offer instructive examples.

For firms looking to shake up their management styles and reengage employees, taking a glance at the competition can offer instructive examples. Employment website CareerBliss recently released its annual 50 Happiest Companies in America report, providing workers with insights into where to look for employment next year. With strategies that have been proven to promote employee satisfaction and productivity, the top three companies on the list can help managers at other firms reconsider their techniques.

Pfizer
Topping this year's CareerBliss List is pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which boasts a Bliss Score of 4.139 out of 5 and an average salary of $86,000.

But monetary compensation wasn't the primary factor behind employees' satisfaction. Forbes spoke with CareerBliss CEO and co-founder Heidi Golledge, who said that Pfizer workers are more impressed with their employer's reputation and ability to support its staff with the necessary resources. She also cited satisfaction with upper management as a key contributor to employees' happiness.

"Many employees also stated that they were pleased with their senior team and felt the company offered a lot of opportunity," Golledge told the news source.

Kaiser Permanente
Nonprofit health insurance provider Kaiser Permanente claimed the No. 2 spot in the CareerBliss report. That represents a 13-place leap from No. 15 in last year's figures.

Chuck Columbus, Kaiser Permanente's senior vice president and chief human resources officer, told Forbes he thought his company's standing in the report reflects its emphasis on total health, which motivates the firm to create a positive, sustainable work environment in which employees can execute their tasks. In addition to placing second overall, the care consortium won the top spot in reputation and corporate culture.

Texas Instruments
Perhaps the real surprise in this year's rankings is the No. 3 company, Texas Instruments, a firm that didn't figure into the top 50 at all last year. TI's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Human Resources Darla Whitaker told Forbes she thought the company's standing reflects the opportunities for meaningful, innovative work it gives employees.

Manage for increased engagement
Pfizer, Kaiser Permanente and Texas Instruments serve as reminders of just how important a role senior management plays in determining employees' satisfaction levels. As such, it's crucial that HR makes best management practices known to supervisors across the company.

When workers are engaged, they feel that their work contributes meaningfully to the company, and as such, they need to see that those contributions are being acknowledged. Employee reward programs can provide managers with a structure in which to begin recognizing employees' work more effectively.

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