People Work for People

Last week a headline in Women’s Wear Daily by Sharon Edelson caught my eye, Joseph Boitano to Exit Saks Fifth Avenue. As in the Joseph Boitano, SVP and GMM of the Designer and Contemporary business? Why would he abandon his rather coveted post after a 14 year tenure? Then I remembered, Marigay McKee, former Chief Merchant at Harrods, recently assumed the President post in December. Could it be new leadership?  As I quickly scanned the article citing the reason for Joseph’s departure his response was quite contrary to my own assumption. In fact, he made of point of stating just the opposite, He said his decision to leave Saks had “not a thing” to do with the company’s new management. While I’m certainly not questioning the authenticity of his statement the article got me thinking.

As a recruiter one of the first questions I ask a candidate who is actively looking to make a change is why. Whydo you want to leave your current employer? Not always, but often times the answer goes something like this, “well they (the company) hired this new manager and… “ you fill in the blank. What is it about new leadership that causes so many to look elsewhere? This cycle appears consistent across the board without prejudice of level or function within companies both large and small.

At the risk of over simplifying this rather complicated issue one supposition can be reduced to a common theme. People work for people. This assumption maintains truth on both sides of the hiring coin. I recently spoke with a candidate who left her job in New York for a company in Wisconsin. It’s safe to say that Wisconsin was not at the top of her list of destination cities. Nor was the role an exceedingly great one in terms of advancement or compensation. So why did she make the change? A former boss that she thoroughly enjoyed working with took a job with the same company and given the chance to work together again, this candidate accepted the job. On the flip side, I’ve had hiring managers request that I contact candidates they have previously worked well with in the past. The rationale behind both is simple, working with someone you know and work well with is a known entity. You know what to expect in terms of leadership style, skill set and personality. But it’s more than that.

We spend so much time at our jobs; often more hours are spent with our team, managers and co-workers than with our significant others, friends and families. The people we work with can have a major influence on our happiness, success and drive to excel. Have you ever worked with someone who you just clicked with? Someone who motivated, encouraged or inspired you? This type of working relationship creates synergy; an intangible element of our working environment exclusive of compensation and even the larger company culture. It’s priceless.

Am I saying that we should allow others to determine our futures? No, but when we find someone who we work well with, it certainly makes life on the job a more fulfilling place.

What do you say?

What’s the value of a synergistic working relationship?

Would you leave your current role to work with a former (beloved) boss?

What lengths would you go to recruit a former co-worker who you knew was a great team member?


We provide you with tips, tools and educational resources designed to help you in your career.