In advance of the Valentine’s Day holiday last week, executive search firm Korn Ferry surveyed 350 executives in various industries asking what makes them “love” their jobs.

Topping the list was workplace relationships with co-workers and clients, which was selected by 43 percent of the survey respondents.02182015 Korn Ferry Job Satisfaction Survey1

Company culture and values came in a distant second, with 18 percent of those surveyed indicating that a great culture made them love their jobs. In fact, when asked a slightly different question—”What factor would most dramatically improve your feelings about your job?”—47 percent of respondents said that it would be working for a company whose culture is aligned with his or her values.

“Today’s employees need to feel their organization’s culture honors what they value and what is important to them,” said Dave Eaton, a Korn Ferry senior partner, in a statement about the survey results, highlighting the idea that culture is the top factor for increasing job satisfaction. “For example, if their organization gives lip service to a participative culture, but in reality decisions are made from the top down, they’ll feel undervalued and may leave.

“It’s incredibly important to focus on culture, especially during times of change, such as in a merger or acquisition,” Eaton added.

02182015 Korn Ferry Job Satisfaction Survey3Responses to a third question, asking what caused survey takers to experience the greatest frustration on their jobs, didn’t quite line up with the fact that nearly half seek more cultural alignment, however. Here, only 14 percent said a feeling of not fitting in to the company culture or values was their greatest source of frustration.

More than half—55 percent—pointed to lack of growth opportunities instead.

02182015 Korn Ferry Job Satisfaction Survey2Still, Korn Ferry focused on the culture responses in its announcement about the survey, noting that other research the firm has done has identified several key dimensions of organizational culture, helping “company leaders define, establish and enhance an ideal culture based on business objectives.”

Said Eaton: “We measure dimensions of culture along continuums, such as task oriented to people oriented and short-term to long-term focus, and help clients find the right mix.”

“The key to having a successful organizational culture is to be consistent and to actually live the culture in daily practice,” he said.

Korn Ferry offers more information on culture transformation here.

Separately, in a series of articles published in the first-quarter edition of Carrier Management magazine, executives from The Hartford and QBE North America, described their experiences with cultural transformations associated with financial turnarounds at their insurance organizations.

Carrier Management members can also view the articles online:

Related videos of Carrier Management’s interviews with Hartford CEO Christopher Swift, QBE NA CEO David Duclos, and Chromium Principal Peter van Aartrijk are available on the Carrier Management channel of Insurance Journal TV (

To become a Carrier Management member, visit