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What workplace value is most important to you?


  • Flexibility/work life balance 24%
  • Challenging/interesting work 24%
  • Job security/stability 19%
  • Compensation/benefits 16%
  • Corporate culture/ethics 9%
  • Relationships/co-workers 7%


Caroline Harbord, Owner, Inflection Communications

I have to confess a bias. I left the corporate world of global finance five years ago to work freelance. So you could say that I completely abandoned Job security / Stability for the attractions of Flexibility / Work life balance. And a very good trade-off it turned out to be.

With that in mind, the results of the poll aren’t that much of a surprise to me. I am very happy to see that relatively few people said that Compensation / Benefits was their key motivator. Over the last few years we’ve all heard a great deal in the press about fat-cat banks, bonuses, houses and lifestyles. We read about champagne-fuelled celebrities, we are told which overpriced designer item is the latest ‘must-have’ accessory, and we are bombarded with advertising from every quarter.

It would be easy to become cynical and see this as evidence that the world is becoming greedier and more obsessed with wealth and possessions. Of course salary is important, I’m sure none of us would choose to work for the minimum wage, but these results tell us it’s not the driving force for the majority.

It is reassuring that so many people (almost half the respondents) opted for either Flexibility / Work life balance or Challenging / Interesting work. It suggests to me that rather than the simple acquisition of wealth, what motivates people is another type of enrichment – making life fuller, brighter and shinier. People want to smile more, to feel they are achieving things, building a life, expanding their minds and becoming more rounded. I’m all for that.

Meanwhile, I would like to confess that the only thing I truly miss from the days when I had a busy corporate career would be my Relationships / Co-workers. Sadly scoring only 7% in the poll, I’m sure the reality is that on some days the co-workers are the only thing that stops someone leaving a job to move somewhere new. Maybe they deserve a bit more appreciation. Here’s an idea – give your co-workers a smile today. If nothing else, it will make them wonder what you’re up to!


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