Employees Leave Good Bosses Nearly as Often as Bad Ones
By Sumita Raghuram and Xiangmin Liu
Conventional wisdom says that people don’t leave companies, they leave bad bosses. Yet our research — and growing evidence from other leadership studies — finds that employees leave both good and bad bosses at almost comparable rates. In our recently published research article with Sumita Raghuram and Xiangmin Liu, we set out to figure out why. Read more

The 4 biggest frustrations executives face on the job

It’s already been established that employees are more likely to quit if they have a bad relationship with their bosses.

But, did you also know that a lack of growth opportunities can also significantly contribute to their unwillingness to stay with the organisation?

According to a workplace satisfaction survey by the Hay Group division of Korn Ferry, 61% of the nearly 600 employees surveyed found the lack of growth opportunities to be the most frustrating aspect of their jobs.

This was followed by the “relationship with management” (15%), “not fitting into the company culture/values” (12%).

Here are the four greatest frustrations executives face on the job:
1. Lack of growth opportunities (61%)
2. Relationship with management (15%)
3. Low compensation (8%)
4. Relationship they have with co-workers (4%)

Thankfully, they survey stressed not every employee hates his/her job, highlighting that 4% of respondents already love their job.

ALSO READ: Almost half of employees dissatisfied with career progression

Digging deeper, the survey identified a few factors which employees appreciate about their jobs.

It found that “workplace relationships with co-workers and clients” (47%) is the top reason why executives love their job, followed by “company culture/values” (21%) and “growth opportunities” (18%).

Pay/compensation came in last at 4%.

“Today more than ever, employees need to be inspired by and proud of their organisation’s culture and vision,” said Dave Eaton, Hay Group senior partner.

“Leaders who focus on creating an open, honest, participatory culture will have the best chance of keeping high-performing employees on the job and engaged, especially during times of change.”

However, from the small percentage of employees who already love their roles, it was apparent that organisations have to step up their game when it comes to employee satisfaction.

Topping the list was culture.

Almost 7 in 10 of the respondents highlighted that working for “a company whose culture is aligned with my values” as the key to improving their feelings about the job. This was an improvement from last year’s survey when only 47% said that culture was king.

Clear advancement opportunities (14%) and a more equitable compensation rounded off the top three.


Image: Shutterstock

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How to Prepare to Interview a Veteran

When most corporate recruiters and hiring managers interview a veteran, they treat the process as if the candidate were just like everyone else. On one level, this is good, because it ensures equality of opportunity and compliance with both human resources law and common sense.

Companies are losing out on the high value of quality veteran talent, however, when they do not take the proper veteran-specific steps to prepare, assess and follow up with military-experienced candidates. In every important way, veteran job candidates are like any other human, but unlocking their special and extraordinary capacity to contribute to a new organization requires effort and insight.

One model for successful veteran interviewing is defined by the acronym PAF: Prepare, Assess and Follow up. This article examines the first step: Prepare.

Understand why you are hiring veterans.

During the Prepare phase, the interviewer reviews the organization’s driving purpose in hiring veterans, checks his or her bias regarding veterans and seeks to understand the true success drivers for the position.

Most interviewers skip the first step, but it is critical to understand the underlying motivations for the organization’s veteran hiring initiative. Is there a sincere commitment to veteran abilities and experiences, or is there more of a political climate of insincere appearances? Some organizations feature a wide range of sometimes conflicting motivations, but the skilled interviewer will seek to understand the “why” and not just the “what” of the initiative. Only by understanding the organization’s purpose will the interviewer be able to interpret levels of tolerance for training and acculturation.

Check your bias

Related to this issue, the interviewer must check his or her bias regarding veterans as employees. In our politically correct times, any admission of preconceived notions about any group of people is interpreted as the worst possible sin. Yet it is impossible to exist in our media-saturated culture without developing some sorts of predetermined notions about any group whether accurate or not. Rather than suppress these thoughts, the interviewer should get in touch with these feelings and confront them with facts.

For example, it would be perfectly normal to feel that all former soldiers are control-freak fascists, because your sister-in-law was briefly married to one. Experience and reason, however, will teach you that such generalizations are both inaccurate and unfair. Only by listening to your inner voice and confronting it will you overcome your bias (which can be positive as well as negative) and make better decisions.

Research military experience

The interviewer need not understand every line in a military résumé, but the veteran candidate will appreciate some basic understanding of general terms and experiences. Some civilian interviewers don’t understand the difference between a submarine and a U.S. Marine.

Your organization can designate one or more internal veteran resources to serve as sounding boards. Most veterans can explain the general background of another veteran’s résumé or at least help the interviewer prepare a few good clarifying questions.

Open-ended questions followed by polite clarifying comments can help structure the portion of the interview about military experience. For example: “Please walk me through your military experience from your enlistment through your initial training and your ultimate assignment to a field unit. I am eager to understand why you did the things you did and what you learned from each experience.” If the candidate uses jargon you don’t follow, it is perfectly all right to ask for a clarification. For example:”I am sorry, I am not sure I understand what a Boatswain’s Mate does; can you explain?”

Understand the “real” job requirements

Finally, the interviewer must seek to have a deep, intuitive and clear understanding of the “real” job requirements. Most organizations publish multiple-page job descriptions that contain requirements for skills and certifications that have little to do with the task at hand.

Experienced hiring managers and recruiters compensate for this verbosity with a short-hand understanding of the true needed skills and attributes. For example: “The customer-service manager really needs to be good with people and motivating his team on a daily basis, even while being regularly berated by obnoxious customers.” When properly understood this way, it quickly becomes clear how an infantry squad leader who led patrols day after day in hostile territory while maintaining personal and team morale would likely excel in the job.

Armed with the preparation steps detailed above, an organization’s interviewer is ready to conduct the meeting and assess the qualifications of the veteran applicant in a way that is effective, accurate and most likely to result in the desired outcomes.


Peter A. Gudmundsson is the president and CEO RecruitMilitary , a 16-year-old company that helps organizations excel by leveraging the talent of veterans. RecruitMilitary helps companies attract, appreciate and retain high-quality veteran employees and students. Most of Gudmundsson’s career has been dedicated to leadership in media, education, information and intellectual property intensive businesses. He has run a diverse range of companies and was president of and Primedia Workplace Learning. Earlier in his career, Gudmundsson also served as Vice President of Corporate Development for Primedia Inc., KKR’s media company, in New York. A former U.S. Marines field artillery and intelligence officer, Gudmundsson began his civilian career as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley. He is a graduate of Harvard Business School (MBA) and Brown University (B.A.).

3 Tips for Handling an On-the-Spot Job Offer

You just interviewed, and now you have 24 hours to give a yes or no.

Pat yourself on the back, because you just nailed the interview. It was a long, exhausting day that left you with a lot to think about, but now you’re just focused on rewarding yourself with a glass of wine and a Netflix binge.

Except – wait – what’s this? Your interview finished minutes ago, and these guys are offering you the job! Oh, by the way, they need to know if you’ll accept within 24 hours.

Yay, but also oy. There goes your night of vegging out. Cue panic mode: Make all the phone calls, do all the soul-searching and weigh all the pros and cons – ASAP. Maybe hold onto that wine.

These on-the-spot job offers are becoming increasingly common, says Ryan Sutton, a district president for the specialized staffing firm Robert Half. “Companies, rightfully so, are afraid they might not have the opportunity to get a candidate back in for one more step,” he says.

Some companies have had an opening for months and are eager to pounce when they finally find a good fit. Others are giving you only, say, 24 hours to decide in an effort to avoid the counter-offer, Sutton says, or to prevent you from considering your pipeline of competing opportunities. “They’re almost trying to catch the emotion of the job search, versus the intelligence of a job search and making sure it’s a good fit,” Sutton says.

Don’t be caught off-guard. Here’s how to prepare for and handle an on-the-spot offer:

1. Prepare yourself before job searching. These offers can be stressful for job seekers who haven’t mentally prepared for this fast-paced hiring process, Sutton says. “When you’re in the job market, you should know before you start searching what your current role or career is missing,” he says. “It shouldn’t take a second- or third-round interview to have you start to open your eyes and ears to what was really driving your search to begin with.”

If you’re considering a career transition into a new type of job or industry, U.S. News Careers blogger Arnie Fertig suggests taking a self-assessment test, like the Myers-Briggs, to learn more about what you have to offer. “Moreover, it makes a great deal of sense to arrange for informational interviews to learn more about your intended path forward from those who have already traveled it,” Fertig writes in a post about things to do before applying to a job.

Also talk with trusted family members, significant others, friends and professional mentors before launching a job search, Sutton suggests. These folks know you best, including your strengths and what makes you happy, he points out. Their intimate insight but outsider perspective may help guide your search.

If you load up on soul-searching, personality assessments, informational interviews and insight from loved ones now, you’ll already know what you want (and don’t want) when opportunity knocks. “That will allow you to be prepared so that if a company does move faster than you were anticipating, it doesn’t rush you,” Sutton says. “You can still make the decision that you want to make in their timeline and not have to slow down the process and lose an opportunity.”

2. Study up on the company that’s interviewing you. Of course, you know better than to walk into an interview cold. You know to research the company online; familiarize yourself with the prospective role and team; practice (and practice and practice) your answers to common interview questions; and come up with your own questions to ask interviewers. (And if you don’t know all that, check out thischecklist of pre-interview homework.)

But your research shouldn’t stop there. Sutton urges job seekers to use LinkedIn or college alumni groups to track down folks who work at the prospective company and talk to them about their experiences. “That way, going in, you have an idea if this might be a place you want to be,” Sutton says. “It’s almost like you’re checking references on the company proactively.”
It’s fine to ask the folks you meet with about their hiring experiences to gauge how quickly the process may take for you, Sutton says. However, he adds that you should take their answers with a grain of salt, given that their timelines​ were likely dictated by the economic cycle they were hired in. The company’s speed of hiring even only a year ago​, for example, may have been much slower than it is today.

As for other ways to learn about the company from real people, Sutton points out that, sure, you could look at review sites like Glassdoor.​ But, he warns, employees often feel compelled to comment on these sites because their experiences were either fantastic or terrible. Talking to a real person who you’ve simply found on LinkedIn will likely give you a more neutral view, he says.

3. If you’re offered a job, respect the company’s – and your own – timeline. Congrats – the interviewers recognize a quality employee when they see one, so they ask you to accept a job offer. Like,​ now. “It’s more than OK to ask for more time to accept,” Sutton says. “A company that’s not willing to give you 24, 48 or 72 hours might show you that there may be a red flag.”

However, he adds: “You’re going to have to give ​[an answer] in a timely matter.” If the timeline is unclear, Sutton suggests specifying with your interviewer, when, exactly, he or she would need an answer from you. And stick to it, so you don’t miss out on the gig. ​

Plus, you’ve already mentally prepared and done your research. So follow your gut. “Beyond 72 hours, that’s where it starts to take too long,” Sutton says. “Either it’s the right opportunity, or it’s not.”



Are You Addicted to the Approval of Others? 5 Ways to Overcome It

Are you living life how you want to live it? Or are you living life for other people? What you might not realize is that while you think you are living the life you want to be living, you’re really living for other people.

How can you tell? Professionally, are you full of potentially groundbreaking ideas that could move the company or your department to the next level of success? Do you contribute to the conversation or do you keep quiet out of fear of what your coworkers might think?

Personally, is there some big change you’ve wanted to make, perhaps try a new hairstyle, shade of lipstick, or even feel young again by buying the two-door convertible, but are terrified how this could change the way your friends or family members look at you? Do you often just go with the flow and do what your friends want to do out of fear they will reject your idea?

In your intimate relationship with your spouse or partner, is there something new you’ve been wanting to try in the bedroom, secretly fantasizing how it could take your sexual relationship to the next level, but are so terrified of what your partner might think that it brings on more anxiety than pleasure to think about it?

In any situation when you are afraid to show your true feelings or say what you’re really feeling because of the fear of what other people might think, you are suffering from approval addiction. It’s extremely debilitating because it’s conformity at all costs. The misguided thinking of the approval addict is, “I won’t be loved or accepted unless others approve of my behavior.”

Overcome Approval Addiction
The good news is that once you overcome approval addiction even to a small degree, you become free of the psychological chains holding you back from reaching success and happiness.

On a scale of one to seven, seven being highest, how high is your need to be approved and validated by other people? Next, ask your spouse or best friend to rate you on the same scale, and then compare answers.

Some other ways to overcome approval addiction:

1. Learn to say ‘no:’ Time is your most valuable resource. As you grow personally and professionally, additional projects, favors and various burdens threaten to eat away at your time. Identify an activity that is not giving you the results or satisfaction you thought it would. Make a commitment to discontinue it. Get in the habit of saying “no” more often in order to protect your previous times.

2. Respectfully disagree with others: If everyone agreed with each other all the time, think how boring life would be. Having a difference of opinion whether it’s with a family member or a complete stranger is a good thing. Of course, always be respectful about it. By sharing your point of view and then listening to someone else’s take on the matter, you are opening yourself up to possibly learning something new.

3. Don’t always play it safe: Many times the reason you are stuck in a rut is because you’re approaching the same situation the same way you have for years or even a lifetime. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and try something new. Be open to new things and stop worrying what others might think.

4. Stop ‘Iffing’ on yourself: The approval addict is notorious for being a ‘What if” thinker. What if they don’t like me? What if they think my ideas are dumb? What if I’m being too aggressive? Change your what if thinking to “So what if” thinking and answer the question. So what if they don’t like me? It’s their loss. So what if they think I’m dumb? Well at least I contributed and I can find someone else who will appreciate what I have to say.

5. Play the “If I should die tomorrow” card: Ask yourself this critical thinking question: If I should die tomorrow, am I truly satisfied with the life I have lived? Be honest. Most people go through life trying to arrive safely at death. We only have so much sand in the hourglass, so make sure to live life how you want to live it.

When it comes to overcoming approval addiction, remember this: you are responsible to your employees, customers, associates and friends, to be honest, sincere and to act with integrity. But you are not responsible for their attitudes or behavior towards you. Hopefully they like you because it’s more pleasant that way, but if not, it’s not your problem.

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