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  • Let's face it: Some employees would say anything to get out of work for a day. But it's very unlikely that you've worked with a professional who's resorted to some of the following outrageous excuses to call in sick, as compiled from a recent CareerBuilder survey. Overall, the percentage of professionals who call in sick when they're actually healthy is trending downward, but there are still a significant number of workers who do this. Many employers, in turn, are willing to check up on a staff member to make sure the absence is legitimate, most often by asking for a doctor's note. (Though it's hard to believe, quite a few workers who fake illnesses essentially give themselves up by posting comments about their duplicity on social media.) Fortunately, IT professionals are particularly good about using their sick days: Only 22 percent have called in for illnesses in the past year, which is far below the norm for employees in other professions. More than 3,100 workers and 2,200 hiring managers took part in the research.

  • So what really bothers you at work? If you're like many tech professionals, you're more likely to get frustrated over a lack of career growth and skills development than compensation, according to a recent survey from Robert Half Technology. IT professionals are also on edge about heavy workloads, and they're upset about rigid hierarchies that leave them with little autonomy to make strategic decisions. If companies expect to retain valuable tech staffers, they need to proactively address these issues. "Standing still isn't an option in technology today," says John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. "IT workers worry about remaining relevant and marketable, and they look to their employers to help them acquire new skills and advance their careers. Often, the ability to learn and grow can be as important as a competitive compensation package." Along with highlighting the following biggest frustrations of IT employees, we're presenting Robert Half's examples of what good organizations do to keep IT pros happy. More than 2,300 North American IT workers took part in the research.

  • Women have joined the tech field in smaller numbers than men, are less likely to stay in the field, are promoted less often and are less likely to be satisfied.

  • Wouldn't it be great if we could learn from ancient legends such as Plato, Aristotle and Sophocles? Obviously, they have nothing to teach us about software code, the cloud or data analytics, but they certainly would inspire lively discussions about self-determination, character and other leadership-related themes. Of course, we can't make such a time-travel-enabled opportunity happen. But in the recent book The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership: Classical Wisdom for Modern Leaders (Amacom/available now), authors M.A. Soupios and Panos Mourdokoutas posit that the philosophies of classic thinkers remain relevant in today's workplace. By reading and examining their teachings, today's professionals and executives may discover that they don't have to compromise their values to pursue success. In fact, they may find that their integrity, as well as their dedication to the organization and colleagues rather than just themselves—will advance their career. Soupios is professor of political philosophy at Long Island University, and Mourdokoutas is professor and chair of the department of economics at Long Island University. The following "golden rules of leadership" quotes are adapted from their book

  • When preparing for a job interview, job candidates usually focus on coming up with great answers to employers' questions. But job seekers also should think seriously about the questions that they should pose to hirers during these sessions. A job interview is a prime opportunity for promising prospects to find out whether a company is a good fit. After all, a wide range of unforeseen negative developments could emerge after getting hired and starting the job. For instance, there could be limited opportunities for advancement if you end up in a job that receives little attention or respect. For another, your skills could stagnate due to a lack of organizational support for training. Or you could simply get bored with your tasks. To help you screen companies for these and other potential issues, we're presenting the following "must ask" job interview questions. Adapted from a list of questions from Janco Associates, they cover project assignments, career growth, evaluations, departmental transparency and other key topics you should address before accepting a job.

  • Technology has forever transformed the way companies recruit job candidates, but many still fall short in maximizing the advantages of IT innovation, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder. This is turning off promising prospects, as they frequently cross potential employers off their list if they don't measure up. In today's tech-savvy society, candidates' impressions of an organization—especially in terms of the company's overall approach to technology—are strongly influenced by their job-hunting experience. Unfortunately, too many businesses aren't getting this message. "Technology can be your greatest ally or enemy when you're interacting with job candidates," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "Job seekers today expect the application process to be fast, informative, more personalized and mobile-optimized. The more in-demand a person's skill set is, the less likely that job seeker will be to jump through hoops. Companies that have a complex application process—and don't have the technology in place to routinely capture and re-engage candidates—are at a competitive disadvantage." Nearly 375 HR professionals and 320 job seekers took part in the research.

  • We all occasionally grumble about our bosses, but most of us actually like them, according to a recent survey from Randstad US. In fact, the majority of workers say they feel inspired by their managers. The survey also includes encouraging findings about performance feedback, and whether employees' opinions are valued. "With the economy continuing to improve and the job market showing promise, many business leaders are increasingly focused on retaining their best and brightest employees," says Michelle Prince, senior vice president of talent management for Randstad North America. "Studies show that a job-deciding factor for many workers is the type of relationship they have with their boss. Healthy manager-employee relationships are built on clear communication, trust and respect." However, despite the positive sentiments expressed about the overall relationship, relatively few professionals would actually want their manager's job. In addition to general findings, the survey breaks down results into both gender and generational categories, which we're including here. Nearly 2,260 U.S. workers took part in the research.

  • It's shocking how little effort is often placed on mastering the art of business communication and keeping up with communication trends and technologies.

  • As reported by Baseline numerous times, the competition to hire top tech talent is getting brutal. But if you do end up landing that special performer—as a manager, team leader, analyst, developer or programmer—you may face challenges that seldom come up with the majority of workers. And, be warned, the challenges may try your patience—and your sanity. Hotshot tech professionals are often very aware that they're much more skilled than the rest of the staff, and they may eventually conclude that they'd rather "do their own thing" than work as part of a team. They may even challenge your authority and be convinced that they can do your job better than you can. Even if a superstar has a team-oriented attitude, he or she might jump ship after a short time if a sweeter offer came along. In a section of the recent book, The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-Step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems (Jossey-Bass/available now), author Bruce Tulgan provides insights and best practices for supervising, engaging and retaining top-notch employees. What's important, he writes, is to demonstrate a sincere regard for a superstar's capabilities and value, while working together on an extended plan for his or her future success. Tulgan is founder of Rainmaker Thinking, a management training firm. The following takeaways about managing a superstar are adapted from his book and should help you deal with the challenges you're sure to face.

  • Not every IT employee can develop into a leader of technology transformation, but you're more likely to get to that level if you know which steps to take. The book Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation (Harvard Business Review Press/available now) offers a wide range of strategies and actions that professionals can pursue to become a digital authority. To further illustrate the best practices to follow, authors George Westerman, Didier Bonnet and Andrew McAfee feature real-life examples from organizations such as Burberry, Caesars Entertainment, Lloyds Banking Group and Nike. The book also includes original research that helps define a "digital master." In essence, the authors explain, digital masters excel at both the "what" of technology and the "how" of leading change. "Neither dimension is enough on its own," they write. "Taken together, they combine to give digital masters a clear advantage over their competitors." Westerman is a research scientist with the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy. Bonnet is a global practice leader at Capgemini Consulting and executive sponsor for Capgemini Consulting's Digital Transformation program. McAfee is the associate director of the Center for Digital Business at the MIT Sloan School of Management. The following 11 ways to develop digital leadership are adapted from their book.

  • Developing an effective working relationship with your manager can help your productivity soar, improve your morale and enhance your career success.