What three words would you use to sum up your workplace? That was the question employer brand specialists at Chatter Communications asked over 2,000 employees in the UK across a wide range of sectors as part of its ‘Where’s your head at’ report.

Friendly was the top word chosen by workers, with almost a third (30%) of respondents applying it to their organisation. Supportive followed close behind with 27% of people opting for it. The third most popular word, chosen by over one in five (22%) was not so positive, with people raising stress as something they closely associated with their workplace. Men were more likely to choose the word pressured as their third choice, with women instead opting for stressful.

Four of the top 10 words had potentially negative connotations, whilst six were positive.

The top 10 words chosen were:

  1. Friendly
  2. Supportive
  3. Stressful
  4. Pressured
  5. Fun
  6. Draining
  7. Motivational
  8. Inspiring
  9. Competitive
  10. Dynamic

Those at the younger end of working age were most likely to go for the word ‘fun’ with 23% of under 25s choosing it, as opposed to 16% of over 35s. Those who had been in their role less than a year were twice as likely to choose fun than those who had been there 10 years or more. Conversely those over 55 were far more likely to say their workplace was pressured than those under 25 – perhaps suggesting that the fun stops and pressure builds as people work their way up the career ladder.

Other words chosen included boring, unproductive, toxic, fast-paced, unpredictable, vanilla, realistic and interesting.

The research is broken down into employees in 19 different sectors, which revealed some interesting results. Paul Ainley, partner at Chatter Communications, explains:

The ‘what three words’ insight really does give a useful snapshot of how people are feeling about their work, and how that varies depending on many different factors – such as industry, age, longevity in the role and gender. In essence, with the exercise you’re asking people to sum up the employer brand of the company they work for. So, energy-sapping words like draining and pressured are never good to see – let alone toxic, which one in 11 people chose.

Paul Ainley, partner at Chatter Communications

People working in logistics were most likely to choose many of the negative words, ranking highest for terms like old-fashioned, toxic, boring and uninspiring. Those working in FMCG were least likely to find their roles pressured or stressful, and rank highest for words like inspiring and fresh. Engineers are most likely to find their industry supportive, inspiring and fun. HR and digital teams found their jobs highly motivational compared to most.

Professional services felt their workplace was dynamic, whilst those working in pharmaceuticals were most likely to find it competitive.

The public sector was deemed to be a supportive environment, although it also ranked as one of the highest for pressured, stressful and draining. Customer services was felt to be the friendliest role, along with charities. However, those in the third sector were also likely to complain their workplace was old fashioned, compared to other industries.

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.