10 Happiest Places to Work: Is Your Job on the List?

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Sure, nobody expects their workday to be like a trip to an amusement park, but people are more likely to smile than scowl if they work at one of the happiest companies in the country. Job board and career-coaching website CareerBliss.com ranked the 50 Happiest Companies in America for 2012. The company looked at job reviews from more than 100,000 employees and assigned companies a “Bliss Rating” between one and five. With a score of 4.36, the happiest company in America is… Hilton Worldwide. The hotel and resort operator scored top marks in characteristics like work-life balance, company culture and reputation, and the relationships underlings have with their bosses.

(MORE: Why Are Workers Happy with Fewer Benefits and Longer Hours?)

Next up are engineering and services company Fluor and medical supply manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, each with a score of approximately 4.24.

Luxury retailer Nordstrom and chemical company BASF round out the top five.

The rest of CareerBliss’s top 10 were: Centex, the U.S. Air Force, Fidelity Investments, Ericsson and Chevron, and the full list of 50 can be seen here. Overall, the list includes a grab bag of different slices of the economy: financial services, pharmaceutical, technology, telecommunications and media companies all made the list.

Career coach Linda Lupatkin, founder and president of The Imagemakers, Ink! LLC, says that despite the fact that this list comprises a wide range of industries, there are probably some similarities in their respective companies that make employees happy to go to work each morning.

“One thing they have in common is that they value their employees and give workers challenges they can excel at,” she says. “I think companies with happy employees tend to understand that there is life outside of work and that they need to work with employees and be flexible,” for things like family obligations, Lupatkin says.

Most importantly, companies with happy workers do a good job of establishing communication, explaining what corporate objectives are and how each person is part of those goals, Lupatkin says. They also create a two-way street for communication, so that workers can talk to their bosses about what they like and what they dislike.

(MORE: How to Get Your Dream Job in a Bad Economy)

But even people who don’t work at one of the companies on the list can still find ways to work happier, says Heidi Golledge, CEO of CareerBliss. “Everyone can be an innovator,” she says. If they’re consistently thinking of new ideas, even if their company is not listening, they can do their job in more innovative ways.”

“I think it’s human nature to focus on the negative sometimes,” says Lupatkin. “Focus more on the positive: Ask yourself what you like and how can you expand that?”