Editor's Note: Working Toward Happiness

What makes Coloradans so giddy?

In case you missed it, a recent study undertaken by National Geographic and Gallup named Boulder the "happiest" city in the U.S., with Fort Collins No. 4 and Colorado Springs No. 18.

Amid all this Front Range happiness, I couldn't help but notice metrics such as civic engagement, financial security and vacation time used to rank the cities and think how closely these elements align with the workplaces described in our annual "Best Companies to Work For" feature in this issue. For this report, ColoradoBiz enlisted the consulting firm ICC (Innovate Coach Consult) to determine standout workplaces based on employee surveys.

Studies like this that measure drivers of high performance as well as employee satisfaction and engagement have taken on added relevance as the unemployment rate in many Colorado cities hovers near record lows. Recruiting and retaining good workers – let alone top talent – is increasingly cited by companies as their biggest challenge, and the biggest factor in Denver's continued economic growth.

As for concerns shared by happy cities and happy workplaces, consider this from National Geographic writer Dan Buettner, who spearheaded his publication's study: "My findings indicate that if you want to get happy, don't try to change your belief system. Change your environment."

These days, unhappy or unfulfilled employees are apt to do just that – change their environment – so it pays to know what the "Best Companies to Work For" are doing to create rewarding workplaces.

More on the subject of building a successful company comes from writer Eric Peterson in his profile of CEO of the Year Denise Burgess, an achiever of male-dominated construction industry and the first African American to chair the board of directors for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

This issue also marks the return of writer Steve Titus, who for six years wrote the award-winning real estate feature "Who Owns Colorado" before he figured he'd learned enough from all the developers he'd interviewed to launch his own firm, Titus Development. He returns to write about real estate activity south of Denver's Sloan's Lake, around West Colfax Avenue, spurred by light rail and the redevelopment of the former St. Anthony Hospital campus.


Categories: Companies to Watch, Magazine Articles