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1 big thing: The power of close-knit companies

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Workers' happiness and engagement are falling across several industries in the U.S.

  • Employee satisfaction has been steadily dropping over the last three years, according to a new study from BambooHR, the human resources software company.
  • Globally, 6 in 10 workers say they're actively disengaged, per Gallup.

💡 But there's a bright spot: Scores around happiness at work remain relatively high among small business employees, BambooHR notes — 11 points higher on the Employee Happiness Index compared with the average among all companies.

The smaller the company, the happier its workers are.

  • In the third quarter of this year, those at companies with fewer than 25 employees reported happiness scores that were on average around 50% higher than workers at firms with 151 to 300 employees, BambooHR found.

🖼️ Zoom out: Small business creation jumped during the pandemic.

  • And small business owners across the country are feeling optimistic about their companies' health.

🔎 Zoom in: Three factors are driving employee happiness numbers up at small companies.

  1. Transparency breeds trust and happiness — especially in remote or hybrid workplaces and especially when bosses need to deliver hard news, like layoffs, BambooHR notes. It's naturally easier to communicate frequently at a smaller firm.
  2. Friendship at work matters to many people. Per BambooHR, 93% of new hires at companies of all sizes say they want to shadow a colleague, and 87% say they hope to make a friend at work. Forging these bonds can also be easier in a smaller group.
  3. Engagement with the company's mission also drives worker satisfaction. Those who work for smaller companies — like startups or close-knit, family-run operations — are likely to feel a stronger connection to that mission.

Go deeper: Catch up on Jim's Finish Line column, "Why you should start a company"

🐶 Share your pup stories!

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Dog people of Finish Line, we're working on a special edition of the newsletter about our four-legged friends, and we want to know: Do you have a story about how your pet has boosted your physical or mental health?

  • For example: Did your dog alert you to an illness, encourage you to form healthier habits or help you connect with family members or strangers?

Email Axios' wellness reporter and frequent Finish Line contributor Carly Mallenbaum at [email protected] with your thoughts — including your first and last name, your dog's name and your hometown — by Friday, Nov. 17 for a chance to be featured in the newsletter.

  • Photos are welcome!