Employee satisfaction is a tough nut to crack. 

Keeping employees satisfied is worth it: Forbes found that satisfied employees are more productive and profitable, and more likely to stick around. Everyone can agree that increased output and limited turnover are consequences that are worth investment.

To help companies understand their employees, there are a number of organizations that try to quantify what makes employees happy. If you were assuming that the sole factor in employee satisfaction is good pay, then you would be incorrect. Pay usually doesn’t even make the top of the list. 

Don’t believe me? Look at the data. The Conference Board polled 1,500 workers and found that the single most influential component in job satisfaction was “People at Work.” Wages factored all the way down the list at 11th. Your coworkers contribute more to your job satisfaction than your paycheck.

Other studies corroborate. Boston Consulting Group surveyed 200,000 people around the world on a number of topics, and found that the 4 categories that contributed the most to “happiness on the job” were: Appreciation for Work, Good Relationship with Colleagues, Work-Life Balance, and Good Relationship with Superiors. Gallup found almost identical results in their survey.

The point is this: to keep your employees satisfied and engaged, you have to treat them well. If they like being around one another, like being around their boss, and feel valued for their contributions, then they will be happier and more engaged. 

This is where The Gunter Group shines. 

Focusing on What Matters

Last week, The Gunter Group hosted its annual Company Offsite Retreat. Consultants gathered in Sunriver, OR with their partners, children, and pets, and enjoyed a weekend away from work reconnecting with their colleagues and their families.  

In addition to a number of social activities, TGG also used the Offsite Retreat as an opportunity to reflect on what matters. Mike and Ashleigh Gunter, the Founding and Managing Partners of the firm, created a new award internal to the firm. They decided to periodically highlight individuals who exemplify the TGG’s Non-Negotiables. This time around, Mike and Ashleigh highlighted 3 consultants: Ande Olsen, Beth Woods, and Kara O’Connor. 

Earlier this year, this team came together outside of the workplace. Ande ruptured his Achilles Tendon in an accident. After surgery, Beth offered to let Ande stay with her family for the first few days of his recovery. Once he was back on his feet, Kara offered to switch cars with Ande so he didn’t have to drive a stick shift with his left leg in a boot. On top of this, Mike and Ashleigh helped Ande with some delivered meals and allowed him to be flexible with his work hours during recovery. 

To the client, things remained business as usual; behind the scenes was a team of individuals that supported and cared for one another in ways that extended beyond the office. 

Mike and Ashleigh set out to create a company that puts its people first, and the Company Offsite was yet another example of their success in doing so. And as the polls suggest, an environment like this contributes to success. TGG not only continues to grow year after year, but they consistently rank among the best places to work. TGG has been recognized by the Oregon Business Journal as one of the Best Places to Work in Oregon for five years in a row. Just last week, Consulting Magazine placed TGG 4th on the list of “Top Small Firms to Work For” in the country. 

Interested in learning more about The Gunter Group? Check out our recent features in Consulting Magazine and the Oregon Business Journal


At The Gunter Group, the leadership traits and characteristics that define us are our Non-Negotiables: Collaborative, Integrity, Intellectual Curiosity, Thrives in Ambiguity, Emotional Intelligence, and Grounded Confidence. These traits and characteristics guide us every day in our interactions with clients, each other, and our community.

At TGG, COLLABORATION is in our DNA. It’s a foundational principle for how we work together and with our clients, and how we have built our firm. We believe creating partnerships is the best way to achieve goals, whether it’s delivering a complicated project for a client or supporting each other in getting our work done.

When we opened our doors in 2011, we knew that our early success would rely on collaboration and empowerment. As a result, we built a culture where each of us believes in raising each other up and sharing in the decision-making process. We look to each other to work with that same spirit of collaboration and partnership.

Naturally, we’ve grown by bringing in team members that share this value. At TGG, we believe in the value of diverse backgrounds and diverse experiences.

Through a strong spirit of collaboration, our team learns from each other’s experiences. By growing our consultants, we grow our firm. When we learn from each other, develop strong relationships, and support each other, we create a positive work environment and foster a culture of trust. We are proud of the fact that our collaborative approach has led to high employee engagement scores (in the 95th percentile).

Sharing our experiences also helps us to prepare for client engagements and address the complex challenges that they face. Our clients resonate with our collaborative approach as we listen and partner closely to help them develop and implement solutions.    

Collaboration is a foundational leadership quality at TGG. We establish trust through meaningful connections that build authentic relationships with our clients and each other. Through these open and collaborative relationships, we’ve been able to help our clients accomplish amazing things. We don’t presume to know what our clients want or need or have a pre-canned methodology to sell. We prefer to build relationships and actively partner with our clients to solve problems.  

At TGG, our leadership qualities are non negotiable. Whether with a client or on internal teams, our approach is always the same: develop strong relationships and collaborate to solve the problem.