America’s Happiest Workers Run a Chain of Truck Stops


A family-run chain of truck stops founded nearly sixty years ago topped storied firms like IBM Corp., Nike Inc. and Apple Inc. in a new ranking of employee wellbeing.

Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores scored 83 out of 100 in the first-ever survey from job site Indeed, part of Japan’s Recruit Holdings Co., which analyzed millions of anonymous employee reviews to rate US companies on happiness, stress, satisfaction and purpose. Only companies with 1,000 or more employees were eligible, and the top twenty ranged from airlines to consultancies to fast-food chains. Closely-held Love’s, which also operates a truck fleet, hotels and a logistics firm, employs more than 40,500 people including 1,500 at its Oklahoma City headquarters.

Top Companies for Worker Wellbeing

These firms got top marks from employees for happiness and satisfaction.

Source: Indeed

The rankings reflect employers’ increased awareness and investments in wellbeing, a catch-all term that became a focus during the pandemic when employee burnout and mental-health issues like anxiety and depression skyrocketed. More than seven in ten people said their employer is now more concerned about their mental health than it was previously, the American Psychological Association (APA) found. Still, organizational efforts to boost wellbeing vary in terms of effectiveness. A survey of more than 2,000 US workers from human-resources technology firm Alight found that less than half believe their employer cares about their wellbeing.

Measuring employee happiness is “challenging,” said Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, who helped Indeed develop its wellbeing methodology. The four wellbeing indicators — happiness, stress, satisfaction and purpose — were weighted equally, and employees rated each on a five-point scale that translated into scores from 40 to 100. At least 200 unique ratings were required to get considered for the US list. Indeed also compiled rankings for employers based in Canada and the UK.

Love’s topped the list thanks in part to flexible work schedules and a friendly atmosphere, according to Gabrielle Davis, a career trends specialist at Indeed. “While it may come as a surprise to some, the data shows that Love’s excels at prioritizing work wellbeing for employees,” she said. Last year, the company created a diesel technician training program that taught 300 employees about heavy-duty truck systems, and will expand the academy this year. Love’s has about 644 rest stops across 42 states.

“We didn’t go into a board room and invent our values, they came from how my Dad behaved and the example he showed,” said chief culture officer Jenny Love Meyer, 57, whose father Tom, now deceased, founded the company in Watonga, Oklahoma in 1964. “Respecting others and what others say is what people remember him for.”

Still, not all employee reviews of Love’s were glowing: One on Indeed was entitled “Constantly overworked and underpaid.”

The top spot could help Love’s recruit workers at a time when many employers in retail and food service venues have struggled to find and retain staff. Before the pandemic, annual turnover for part-time retail employees hovered around 75%, according to data from recruitment firm Korn Ferry. Since then it’s shot up to 95%. Love’s does not disclose its employee turnover rate, Meyer said.

Along with unpredictable hours and low pay, retail workers also have to deal with increased shoplifting and unruly customers.

Four out of ten US workers overall said their job had a negative impact on their mental health, according to a recent poll by Gallup, and more than eight in ten people said that employers’ support for mental health will be an important consideration when they look for work in the future, the APA found.

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