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Where are people legitimately more happy at work?

Aug 23, 2018

by Noel Cocca on RecruitingDaily

We’ve got data!

If happiness at work matters, your best bet is to head to Fresno, Calif., says employer ratings and review site kununu. If you’re a woman trying to break into tech, however, California’s capital city, Sacramento, would probably be your top choice.

According to its latest Happiness Index – a July 2017-June 2018 look at the 50 most populous cities in the U.S. – Fresno is the best of the best.  The fifth-largest California city, and the largest in the Central Valley, Fresno boasts more than 300 days of sunshine each year. While agriculture is the major industry, healthcare and technology are robust as well.  The city is home to UC Fresno and Fresno Pacific University, which employ and train thousands.

On a one-to-five rating scale for company culture, teamwork, autonomy, and support from management, based on 82,854 employee reviews, Fresno ranks 3.88.

The City of Fresno itself gets a high 4.01 kununu rating as an employer, with 75 percent of current-employee reviewers recommending it.  Where the city earns five stars from all is in its gender equality, workplace safety, and handicapped accessibility.

Sacramento’s rating isn’t far behind Fresno, at 3.85. The outlook for tech jobs is especially good here. In fact, Sacramento ranked 10th in the nation on CBRE’s latest list of Tech Momentum Markets, due to its two-year 11-percent growth in tech jobs. The outlook for women in technology is perhaps one of Sacramento’s greatest differentiators, with females making up 30 percent of its IT workforce. (This ranks it number four in the nation, with only DC, Baltimore and Hartford beating it out.) For tech employers, the news is good as well, with a nearly 17 percent increase in local tech talent from 2012 to 2018.

kununu reviewers like that local housing is more affordable than so many other California cities, and that Sacramento offers city life without the typical fast-paced city environment.

Reviewers unanimously recommend the City of Sacramento as an employer. With an overall 3.67 rating, the city nevertheless gets five stars in several key areas including management support, freedom to work independently, and job security.

The non-California ecosystem (well, almost)

Home to America’s largest cluster of aging-care businesses, Louisville, KY ranks third in the kununu list, at 3.85. While noted for its bourbon and its Kentucky Derby, Louisville’s top industry is healthcare, responsible for 30 percent of current job openings. Norton Healthcare, the area’s largest healthcare employer, and third largest private employer earns a 4.24 rating, with 86 percent of its 55 employee reviewers recommending working there. Its gender equality and handicapped accessibility earn it five stars.

Silicon Beach, as Los Angeles (CA), is often known, comes in fourth at 3.84. While a film, TV and music behemoth, the surf-and-sand city is abuzz as well with innovative tech firms. A region bursting with fledgling startups a decade ago, the City of Angels has evolved to one of the world’s fastest-growing tech ecosystems.  The 100 biggest tech companies in Los Angeles and Orange County grew their employee numbers 24 percent in the past year, to a 48,000 total.  

A whopping 97 percent of City of Los Angeles employees recommend it as an employer, giving it a 4.09 rating. Kudos are given for job satisfaction, on-the-job training, diversity, pay, and benefits.

At 3.83, Omaha (NE) is number five on kununu’s list. Driving its attraction are a university system that highly supports entrepreneurs and a very low cost of living. Tech startups abound, earning the area the nickname Silicon Prairie. According to AngelList, Omaha houses 171 startups and 4,842 angel investors.

Boston (MA), a top-ranked startup city for many years, is number six. Major industries here are technology and healthcare. Quality of life kudos in Bean Town are primarily for its diverse culinary scene and its oodles of top-ranked schools such as MIT, Harvard, Tufts, Boston University, Wheaton, and Wellesley. Boston ranks Number 7 on CBRE’s list of top tech talent markets, though employers are hampered by a 4 percent reduction in the labor pool over the last five years (nearly 5,000 fewer workers.)

Both Raleigh (NC) and Wichita (KS) have a 3.81 rating. The largest city in the famed Research Triangle region, Raleigh has grown its tech talent by 20 percent over the last five years. Government, education and healthcare jobs and talent abound as well, driven by area universities such as North Carolina State (with its massive engineering school,) Duke University, and UNC-Chapel Hill.

In Wichita, the Kansas state capital, aerospace is king. The castle, however, is a bit careworn, with no recent job growth from top employers Spirit Aerosystems, Tektron Aviation, and McConnell Air Force Base. Still, 80 percent of Spirit employees recommend it, with highest marks for compensation, workplace safety, and work environment.

At 3.77, Minneapolis (MN) comes in number ten. IT employers might well be intrigued by its five-year 22-percent increase in the millennial population and a tech talent growth of 11 percent during that same period. At well over 55,000 employees, the state is the major employer in this capital city (With a 3.9 rating, 89 percent of reviewing employees recommend it.) Another 35,000 federal employees live and work in Minneapolis. Major healthcare employers Mayo Clinic, Allina Health and Fairview Health Services employ well over 60,000.  While the Minneapolis / St. Paul Twin Cities region boasts one of the lowest costs of living in the top 25 U.S. cities, its major drawback may well be its frosty weather.

Where workers aren’t quite so happy

While the following ten cities (listed from highest to lowest rating) ended up at the bottom of the happiness heap, their ranks (3.46 to 3.57) aren’t all that dismal.

The list:

41. Phoenix, Ariz.
42. Tulsa, OK
43. Fort Worth, TX
44. Oakland, Calif.
45. Memphis, Tenn.
46. Albuquerque, NM
47. Houston, TX
48. Colorado Springs, Colo.
49. New York City
50. El Paso, Texas

Two factors that negatively impacted city scores in the Happiness Index were the high cost of living and low earnings. For example, Scores were lower where low-wage agriculture and tourism industries dominate; New York City, where the tech-talent shortage of more than 34,000 workers is the highest in the nation, also has an outrageously high cost of living; San Antonio, Las Vegas and Albuquerque were bottom of the barrel for salary satisfaction.   

originally published on RecruitingDaily

How to know you need a mental health day (and how to ask for one)

Jul 9, 2018

by Linda Le Phan

No matter how much you love your job, going to work day after day can be taxing. Just as you would take a sick day to get over a nasty cold, taking the occasional mental health day can help you recover from stress, anxiety, or depression. The most important step is to recognize the signs that you need a mental health day and to give yourself permission to take the day off.

How to Know You Need a Mental Health Day

Approximately 1 in 5 American adults experiences mental illness in any given year, with millions more reaching subclinical levels of stress, anxiety, and sadness that do not warrant a formal diagnosis. That means that nearly all of us will need a mental health day at some point (or, likely, many points!) in our working lives. Following are some common indicators that you need a mental health day:

– You dread going to work. More than 28% of people say that work is a significant source of stress and anxiety. While we all experience periodic stressors at work, it is important to occasionally check in with yourself about how your job affects you. If you find yourself dreading going to work every day, it’s time to take some time to recharge.

– You cannot shut your mind off when you get home. Whenever possible, it is good to leave work at work, allowing you to fully enjoy your home life. When workplace stressors take over your mental life, you need a break.

– You feel irritable and on the verge of snapping. Being snippy with your coworkers, spouse, kids, or other people in your life are sure signs of burnout. Losing your temper at work may have drastic consequences, so be proactive about taking time off when you notice yourself becoming very irritable.

– You have difficulty sleeping. Chronically high levels of stress hormones can seriously mess with your sleep. Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep are signs that you need a mental health day.

– You just don’t care anymore. Feeling a loss of interest in things you used to enjoy may be a sign of depression. If you find yourself mentally checking out of meetings and doing the bare minimum to get by, it’s time for a mental health day. After all, severity of depression is associated with a significant loss of work productivity, even for individuals with minor depression symptoms.

How to Ask for a Mental Health Day

Give Yourself Permission

Perhaps the biggest hurdle to taking a mental health day is giving yourself permission to do it. Workers sometimes say that they feel guilty or lazy when taking a day off if they are not “really” sick. However, mental health is just as important as physical health! Taking a mental health day now can prevent more serious problems later.

Know Your Office Culture

Your approach to asking for a mental health day will depend on your workplace culture. In some offices, saying “I’m feeling burnt out and need to take a sick day to tend to my mental health” is perfectly acceptable. In others, that statement would lead to raised eyebrows. It is usually safe to take a middle ground approach: “I’m not feeling my best. I need to take a day off to ensure I can remain efficient and productive when I return.”

Plan In Advance

If you feel burnout on the horizon, planning a mental health day in advance is a great way to be courteous to the rest of your team. Schedule your mental health day for a time when you don’t have important meetings or deadlines so you don’t leave your colleagues in the lurch.

Change Your Workplace Culture Surrounding Mental Health

Nearly 70% of professionals do not feel that their employers do enough to prevent burnout. Being transparent about mental health challenges, particularly if you are in a supervisory role, may reduce stigma and empower other employees to discuss their own need for mental health days.

The bottom line is, if you need a mental health day, ask for one! Your supervisor’s response gives you a clue to the larger workplace culture and can help you make decisions about your longevity with the organization.

originally published on the kununu blog

10 telltale signs you’re working at a really awesome company

Jun 28, 2018

by Linda Le Phan

When you’ve spent you’re entire career in a single company or just started a new career, it can be hard to tell if you’ve landed in the right place. To give you a little perspective (backed by thousands of real employee opinions about workplaces on kununu), we’ve gathered 10 telltale signs that you’re working at a really awesome company.

1. You look forward to going to work.

Don’t get us wrong: everybody dreads work sometimes. Like on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons. But if you generally look forward to the projects and people that await you and spend the weekend doing anything aside from dreading Monday, you might be working for a pretty sweet company.

2. The time gets away from you.

If you look at the clock expecting it to be mid-afternoon and find out it’s time to go home already, you’ve found work that captures your interest and attention. It takes an awesome employer to put you in the position that speaks to your needs and interests and then give you the autonomy you need to truly enjoy it.

3. Your colleagues feel like family.

If you can be yourself around your coworkers – imperfections and all – and you all pull your weight in the team, you’ve found a company who has mastered the challenging task of team-building.

4. You know what your boss thinks of you.

Managers everywhere tiptoe around feelings, leaving you wondering if you’re really meeting expectations or falling below the bar. If your manager is clear with you, sharing recognition for a job well done and coaching and guidance when you fall short, you’re lucky to have a good leader to work with and you’re in the right place. You can always trust an honest manager whose focus is your own growth.

5. Your health and wellness are top priority.

An employee assistance program, affordable health insurance, and a wellness program are a few of the most common ways that really awesome companies encourage their employees to take care of themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally.

6. You get to do hard things (that help you grow).

Challenge is one of the most integral components of engagement and satisfaction at work. That’s because doing challenging things is a key part of personal and professional growth. If you’re consistently given meaningful challenges work – and that means something different for everybody – and also get positive support around you to accomplish those challenges, you’re at a really great place to work.

7. You get to make choices about how you work.

Whether it’s a flexible work schedule, freedom to choose how you do your job or even work remotely if you need to, or valued input into company decisions, autonomy is a characteristic of a great place to work because it’s a sign of trust and transparency.

8. You’re allowed to be a human.

If you’re allowed to express emotion in the workplace and have a bad day when you need one, your employer has decided that they’re okay with humans and not just robot-like workers – and that’s a really positive thing. Even better is whenever you  do have your un-perfect moments, you also have support and resources at work to help you get out of your funk.

9. You’re accountable for your actions.

If you complain to your manager or human resources and they say, “What have you done to solve this?” or “What steps can you take today to begin resolving this issue?” you might work for a really awesome company. Accountability is the secret key to engagement, empowerment, and long-term satisfaction – but very few companies know the secret, let alone do it well. Part of accountability is clear communication, which is also an important thing to have at work.

10. You can’t imagine wanting to leave and work anywhere else.

Not to be mistaken for complacency, but if you feel like all is well with work and you’re not feeling like you’re missing anything – and therefore wouldn’t bother considering other job opportunities – then it’s likely that the place you’re at is pretty great.


And there you have it, a solid list of positive markers of an awesome company to work for. To learn more about which employers might be your next awesome place to work and which leave a little something to be desired, do all the research you can before you pursue a company. You can also always use kununu as a resource in doing that; kununu is a company review platform that gives you an inside look into companies before you work there so you can make better career choices.

originally published on the kununu blog

How to manage your boss – and yes, it’s a thing

May 9, 2018

by Linda Le Phan

If you’re a working adult (of any age!), you’re probably used to managing your own schedule, priorities, and workload. But have you ever thought about the need to manage your boss / manager?  Because believe it or not, it’s a real thing and it’s referred to in business management as managing up.

I know what you might be thinking… isn’t it my boss’ job to manage me? Why do I, then, have to think at all about managing them?

Well, to put it simply, it’s because if you don’t at least try, you’re setting yourself up to fail slowly over time. Your boss is this other human being who is arguably one of the most important relationships you’ll ever have at work – so the way you “manage” that relationship can drive your career and personal development forward fast OR lead to your demise.

The best way to go about managing your boss is by taking ownership over your end of working relationship, specifically when it comes down to communication, expectations, and problem-solving. Here are some tips on how to go about doing that:

Be clear about your career goals.

A good manager strives to advance his or her employees into roles that are well-suited for their personalities, skill sets, and career goals. The more your manager knows about where you see yourself in five or ten years, or even in the next 6 months, the easier it is for them to empower you to achieve those goals and set you on the right path within the organization.

When problems arise, think about solutions.

A common mistake people make when interacting with their boss or manager is bringing up complaints and problems without any thought about how to solve them. Worse yet is giving your manager the impression that you expect them to fix everything for you. The better way to approach problems is to still bring them up to your manage, but when you do, also come prepared with ideas on how to solve them. This accomplished a few things: 1) it demonstrates your own willingness and ability to solve tough problems 2) it increases your manager’s chances of successfully helping you resolve the issue, and 3) it builds trust and rapport between the two of you and decreases likelihood of angst and frustration at the outcome.

Give your manager honest feedback.

Although you may not consider it often, your manager needs constructive feedback about his or her performance and leadership just as much as you need feedback about how you’re doing. Sharing what you think is going well is one thing, but you should also remember to go straight to your manager when you don’t agree with something they’ve said or done. Nobody’s perfect and they need your input to know what they could be improving on too!

Be clear about what’s missing.

Although almost every yearly performance evaluation (if you even have those!) allows an opportunity for you to answer questions about what you need to perform your job successfully, a lot of people tend to just mumble a quick, “I guess so” rather than share their honest feedback. Let your manager know what you need to perform your best at yearly evaluations AND on a regular basis: a clearer job description, retraining on certain skills, or support in a certain challenging area are a few examples. Your manager’s goal is to provide you with everything you need to be successful, but they can’t possibly know what you need unless you share that information with them.

Ask questions.

Any time your manager has delivered news you don’t like, requested you complete a task you don’t feel qualified to perform, or otherwise frustrated or confused you, ask questions rather than casting judgment and getting frustrated. Questions that might help you work through your concerns will vary based on the circumstances, but here are few great examples of respectful, fact-finding questions:

- I’m feeling confused. Can you help me understand how completing this task first would help us meet our goal faster?

- I don’t feel qualified, but I would love to. Can you help me get the training I need? 

- I’m sure that was a complex decision. Can you explain what led you decide that so I can understand too?

Asking questions can be a non-challenging way to get on the same page before allowing your emotions to take over.

Managing your manager isn’t a total cake-walk, but it doesn’t have to be super hard either; it just requires focused effort and an open mind on your part. The reward for doing it is high; you may be able to stay with the same company for many years in a fulfilling career that you actually enjoy and want, rather than have to start all over at a new job and company where the same issues arise or your boss is even worse!

originally published on the kununu blog

10 years of kununu – happy birthday!

Jun 1, 2017

This is a blog post by kununu CEO, Moritz Kothe, originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.

It's our 10th anniversary – how exciting – happy Birthday to us – happy Birthday kununu!!! I am both happy and incredibly honored and proud to be the one leading this amazing company today – its also an obligation for all of us to fight for our Mission. With our headquarter in Vienna and developers in Porto as well as kununu US based in Boston we have truly transitioned into a global company with amazing talent and an incredible energy. I look forward to the years ahead with this amazing crew – but lets also look back.

The History.

Mark and Martin Poreda had the bold idea back in 2007 to help job seekers to get to know their workplace before they live it. Long before peer reviews were commonplace. In a world biased towards employers, kununu sought to level the playing field by providing individuals with the kind of company information that can improve work life decisions across the world. And thus in 2007, we created the first platform of employer reviews and ratings powered by the people for the people – authentic company information at the hands of anyone who wants to know what it’s really like inside of a workplace.

In 2013 kununu was fortunate enough to be acquired by XING. This partnership allowed to accelerate growth even further. Today we are not only the original employer review platform, committed to providing the transparency in the workplace everyone deserves, but we are also the number one of its kind in Europe.

Hundreds of thousands of people are sharing their workplace insights on kununu for tens of millions of Jobseekers to make better job decisions – for them to not end up starting a new job and then on the first day realize “oh my god, what have i done”.

Not only do we allow for Jobseekers to benefit from the workplace insights insiders share with us. We also help companies on the B2B side to understand how their employer brand is being perceived vs their competitors which then helps those companies to identify what they can do even better as an employer; to not only attract but also retain the talent they’ve hired and developed.

A year ago we followed another bold idea and brought kununu to the US. We took this step to show Americans what genuine transparency looks like. Whilst there is no lack of Job Boards in the US (like Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, Career Builder and now Google Jobs) that help job seekers to find the job opening they are looking for, based on location, salary, job role etc., we are yet the only platform of its kind out there that is committed to provide honest information about companies and roles before walking in on day one. Only one year in we have seen great adoption of our platform by both job seekers and companies. We are fortunate to have Monster and Randstad as local partners that help us succeeding in this market and have build a local team in Boston that makes ingenious improvements every single day.

The years ahead.

The best news for everybody: This is just the beginning. In the years ahead we will continue this path. Not only will we work towards doing what we are set out to do even better for Jobseekers and for companies, we will also take the next step to create transparency within companies. Simply finding the next job should not be the only way out for people wanting a better working life.

To everybody out there who contributed to getting kununu to what kununu is today – THANK YOU!!! and to those that will be working with us in the years ahead: ROCK’N ROLL!!!

Unlimited PTO: Amazing Perk or HR Mind Trick? (Blog)

Mar 9, 2017

By Linda Le Phan

When you think about cool job perks, among the most sought-after – arguably moreso than free beer and snacks, depending on who you’re asking! – is unlimited vacation. Or unlimited PTO / paid time off, whatever you want to call it.

The reason is simple: who wouldn’t want the freedom to take off work whenever and however you pleased, all with your boss’ consent? Pretty much every working human being, probably.

This concept of unlimited paid time off sounds like an amazing perk, but does it actually work or is it all a trick? I’ll get to that shortly – first let’s talk about which companies were crazy enough to offer it first. 

How the idea got started

The unlimited vacation policy first started as far back as 2004 when Netflix allowed employees to take as many days off as they wanted. Over the years, other big names began to follow suit such as BestBuy and Evernote, as well as local companies (to us) such as HubSpot and Veracode.

Today, roughly 1% of all companies offer a take-all-you-need vacation rule for their employees including VMware, Riot Games, LinkedIn, and Virgin, just to name a few. Which begs the question…

Great perk or HR mind trick?  

Great perk

When it works the way it should, an unlimited vacation policy is actually a really great, legitimate workplace perk. That’s because, for companies that approach it in the right way, the policy is simply one aspect of a greater company culture that fosters an environment of trust, autonomy, and essentially, happier workers. Just as one Praytell Agency employee’s kununu review points out, “we have unlimited vacation time because they trust that we won’t abuse it, and everyone does a great job with it”. 

Mind trick

There’s this other theory though, that for companies to voluntarily give employees so much leeway to take time off they must be attempting some sort of HR mind trick. Depending on how you look at it, this isn’t far from the truth.

On the one hand, some employees see an unlimited time-off policy as way to justify unreasonable working hours and an “always working” mindset. For instance, a kununu review from a Gallup employee reveals that, “Gallup promotes unlimited vacation and personal time, but you have to average over 45 hrs per week over the course of the year or your job is not considered full-time. So, by all means take a vacation, but take a company laptop with you and plan on working 8+ hours per day while on vacation. There is considerable pressure to always be connected and available, even in the evenings.”

And for other employees, the policy seems like a great idea in theory but it just isn’t something they can ever actually use. For instance, an employee from Live Nation Entertainment shared in their kununu review: “I loved that I could bring my dog to work and that I had the ability to take as much vacation time I need (unlimited vacation bank) Although, I had too much work to ever take advantage [of it].”

 Before you make any conclusions about unlimited vacation policies, you should also know that it sometimes comes with a price.

The cost of unlimited vacation

In 2014, Tribune Publishing reversed it’s unlimited vacation policy back to a traditional one after reports of confusion and concern from employees who 1) felt their vacation days were being taken away, and 2) felt that they were also losing the monetary value of their many years-worth of accumulated paid-time-off.

Slightly more recently, Kickstarter also reversed its unlimited vacation policy, saying that the program actually encouraged employees to take less time off due to a lack of clear guidelines on how to approach their managers about it, and when it was acceptable to do so given the open policy.

As of 2016, only 3 out of the 100 Best Companies to Work For offer unlimited time off.

Whichever way you look at it, unlimited vacation policies are neither all good nor all bad, not always an amazing perk and not just an HR trick. Because generally, when employees are given the freedom to take as much time off as they want, they don’t actually take more time off than they normally would; the number of vacation days employees take is pretty much the same overall with or without an unlimited vacation policy.

And as Moritz Kothe, our CEO, aptly puts it, “No single company policy should make your employees love or hate you. What’s more important is having a set of company values and benefits that create a supportive workplace culture. That’s what will bring out the best in your people individually, and also as a whole group.”


What do you think about unlimited vacation policies? Are you all for it or are you doubtful that they can really work? Let us know @kununu_US!

Why Women Are Becoming Increasingly Dissatisfied With Their Workplace Over Time

Mar 6, 2017
By Julia Malacoff, Bri + Co

When you accept a job offer, it can be tough to know exactly what you’re getting into. You’ll never know what it’s really like to work somewhere until you’re actually doing it. Sometimes things work out amazingly (yay!), but other times you end up with a boss who hates you, coworkers who interrupt you constantly, or just the overall feeling of being bored or unhappy at work. Some of these issues stem from toxic company culture, differences in communication styles, or a poor personality fit — but the truth is that, no matter how woman-friendly your organization claims to be, ideas about gender are hard to get around. More than 30 years after the term was coined, the “glass ceiling” is still causing problems for a lot of women in the workplace.

That’s exactly why workplace insight websites kununu and InHerSight teamed up to do research on gender equality in professional settings. Though their survey of over 5,000 employees from a wide array of companies had many important findings, a central observation was its confirmation that men are overall more satisfied in the workplace than women. What’s more, as women gain experience, they become significantly less satisfied with everything from their representation in senior management to overall leadership opportunities for women. The results indicate that women are generally more optimistic about what they can achieve and the conditions that will allow them to meet their goals early in their careers — but as they move up through the ranks, their outlooks get decidedly more dismal.

For example, the study found that 43 percent of early-career women are satisfied with their access to equal opportunities, whereas only 27 percent of senior level women are. While it’s worrying that more than half of those just starting out are already seeing barriers, the even steeper drop over time has us asking: Why are senior-level women so unhappy with their opportunities at work? According to Ursula Mead, CEO and founder of women-focused InHerSight, it has everything to do with what happens to women in the workplace over the course of their careers. “One of the things I find most interesting about our findings when we looked at satisfaction by career level is that when women first enter the workplace they feel even more optimistic than men about their access to equal opportunities,” she shares. “But over time, what they see happening to other women and what they experience themselves has a clear (and clearly negative) impact on their belief that they have the same opportunities as men, as well as their satisfaction with their access to management opportunities and their representation in leadership.” Oof, this is definitely what we would call a less-than-ideal situation.

Mead says that, based on the insights from the survey, it’s clear that women see other women who are as qualified as their male counterparts get passed over for promotions, have maternity leaves change their career trajectories, get left out of important conversations, and be pushed into support roles instead of leadership ones. “We started InHerSight because we kept hearing this, and it was time to start measuring and understanding it,” she explains. And thank goodness they did, because it’s obvious that people need to be talking about these results and even more research needs to be done.

The cause of the gap is more complex than a single point of failure. “There are likely many factors contributing to men’s higher satisfaction with their workplaces in general, and perhaps more importantly their overestimation of their workplaces’ support for women specifically,” agrees Mead. The study found that men believe women have a much higher level of support at work than they actually do — and with so many more men in leadership positions, their misperception makes it even harder to fix the problem.” Many of the policies and initiatives that companies have in place are a result of male-oriented and -dominated conditions,” Mead asserts. “That’s why it’s so important when companies challenge the old status quo of male-focused workplaces and make a deliberate effort to evolve and respond to the changing demographics and needs of their workforce.”

Here’s the good news: It’s very possible to fix this. Organizations that want to truly prioritize equal opportunities for women need to first do some serious introspection and self-evaluation. “It starts with knowing your company and knowing what you’re getting right and wrong,” stresses Mead. “Everything can look great on paper — you can have the perfect ratios, policies, and initiatives — but the key is understanding the reality of your workplace, what those policies and cultures actually mean for the women who are experiencing them.” Anonymous surveys, meetings with employees to get feedback, and brainstorming sessions are all ways companies can begin this process.

Moritz Kothe, CEO of kununu US, also notes that the very beginning of an employee’s journey with a company matters when it comes to their workplace experience. “Tackle the opportunity upstream with hiring,” he suggests. “While we value the strength that women bring to our organizations, people naturally gravitate to applicants who are most like themselves. Push to recruit, interview, and hire female candidates.” The more women are employed by a company — across all levels — the higher the chance of all women’s voices being equally heard. Here’s hoping more businesses will take notice of this kind of data and start making changes to ensure that all employees, regardless of gender, have access to the opportunities they deserve.

Are you seeing the same opportunities as the men in your organization? Tell us about it @BritandCo!

The Five Rules of Employee Happiness

Mar 3, 2017

By Linda Le Phan

Happiness at work, which psychologists also refer to as “job satisfaction”, is what everyone wants but not everyone gets.

What are some common reasons for not being happy at work?:

You strongly dislike the work you do

You strongly dislike the people you work with

The work you’re doing is way too challenging or even impossible

The work you’re doing isn’t nearly challenging enough

If you’re not happy at work, there’s a good chance one or more of these statements might ring true for you. But even if none of these reasons apply to you, it’s still totally possible to feel undercurrents of dissatisfaction at work.

To be fair though, sometimes happiness at work isn’t totally within your control.


According to our Career Happiness Index, where we evaluated employee happiness within thousands of companies across the U.S., some locations and industries tend to have happier employees than others.

The Top Cities for Employee Happiness are:

Cambridge, MA

Palo Alto, CA

San Francisco, CA

Columbus, OH

Oakland, CA

And the Top Industries for Employee Happiness are:


Media / Technology

Business & Professional Services



But location and industry aside, what else matters for employee happiness? In sum, it has to do with a bit of human psychology and also a bit of common sense.

Here are five rules of employee happiness:

Sense of purpose

The happiest employees have a sense of purpose, also known as “meaning” if you’re going by the scientific theory of happiness. This is especially true for companies who want to retain top talent for as long as possible. The reasoning is simple: the most worthwhile things in life require sacrifice and hard work and in order for you to do both over a sustained period of time, there has to be a belief that what you do actually matters.

Whether that means that the work you’re doing impacts the world at a grand scale, or if you’re improving lives one person at a time, work that has meaning = happier employees.



Employees are happier at work, and are also two times more likely to stay in their current position, when they have a choice about where and when they can work. Giving employees this type of flexibility makes them happier in two ways: 1) it demonstrates trust between employers and employees, and 2) it naturally fosters a higher degree of work-life harmony.

Here’s some more solid proof of that. Companies with the best ratings on kununu tend to offer ‘flexible working hours’ and the ‘ability to work from home’ more often than all other companies overall:

Among all companies rated on kununu: 

25.1% offer Flexible working hours

9% offer the Ability to work remotely

Of all top rated companies (4 stars or more) on kununu:

51% offer Flexible working hours

17.4% offer the Ability to work remotely


Strong relationships

Human beings are wired to connect and so employees who are able to create and maintain strong relationships with co-workers are happier than those who aren’t. This ties back to a fundamental concept in human psychology and the thing that we fear the most as people – rejection. Close relationships at work allow employees to exchange sympathy and empathy, and ultimately feel accepted as part of a group.

Why do you think #squad became such a big thing?

Because being part of a group makes people really happy!

Added bonus: employees who have strong relationships at work are also more productive, since this social support helps them stay engaged and perform better under stress.



The biggest contributor to employee happiness actually comes from higher up – the presence of transparency in company leadership. If you think about it this makes lots of sense, because transparency correlates with honesty and a lack of transparency correlates with deception, a.k.a. being lied to. And nobody likes being lied to.


Two things happen when employees don’t find transparency from their company leaders: first, they begin to distrust the leaders themselves, and second, they will lose commitment to the company. Both things are giant roadblocks to employee happiness and powerful reasons to promote transparency in the workplace.  



In a recent workplace study, nearly 40 percent of workers said the first thing they would change if they could trade places with their bosses would be to say “thank you” more often. This clearly shows how important appreciation is for employee happiness and, in a way, it’s also common sense. Isn’t saying “thank you” something all of our moms taught us?

“Acknowledging employees’ efforts motivates and inspires much more than many people realize,” Joyce Maroney, director of The Workforce Institute at Kronos, said in a statement.”It’s also easy to do and doesn’t cost a thing.”

Are you happy at work? Is there something specific your company does (or doesn’t do!) that contributes to that? Let us know @kununu_US!

Top 10 U.S. cities for employee happiness

Feb 14, 2017

New data from employer review site Kununu reveals where you work geographically can have a huge impact on your career happiness.

By Sharon Florentine – Senior Writer, CIO

It's common knowledge that where you work -- meaning who employs you -- impacts your happiness. But according to new data from employee review site Kununu, your workplace happiness is also affected by location, location, location.

Kununu analyzed 194,645 employee reviews from 2016 and took the average across four user-rating categories: Support from management, challenging work, office/workplace environment and teamwork. They used these average scores to rank the happiest cities in the U.S. and create the Career Happiness Index.

While the index includes data across all industries, it's important to note that seven out of the top 10 cities are startup hubs and technology-centric hotspots, and most include technology in their top industries. Here are the top ten U.S. cities with the happiest employees.

1. Cambridge, Massachusetts

Surprisingly, a Silicon Valley city isn't at the top of the list. Unsurprisingly, Cambridge, which is a tech hotspot and a startup hub in its own right, claims that top honor. The top three industries in Cambridge, according to the survey, are Technology/Media, Education and Healthcare.

2. Palo Alto, California

Another not-so-surprising result, considering Palo Alto's one of the major cites in Silicon Valley. The top three industries in Palo Alto are Technology/Media, Healthcare and Education, according to the survey.

3. San Francisco, California

Like its neighboring Silicon Valley, San Francisco boasts all manner of tech startups and innovative companies. The top three industries in the City by the Bay are business services, healthcare and construction. The city also passed a comprehensive paid leave law in 2016, requiring private employers in the city to offer their employees six weeks of fully paid parental leave.

4. Columbus, Ohio

Surprised? You shouldn't be. Columbus is home to the corporate headquarters of retail giants Abercrombie & Fitch and The Limited, among others. The top three industries are business services, government and healthcare, according to the research.

5. Oakland, California

Like its neighbor, San Francisco, Oakland is home to progressive culture and lots of growing businesses. And they have reason to be happy: Unemployment rates in the Bay area are at a 15-year low. The top three industries in Oakland are travel and trade, business services and healthcare.

6. Framingham, Massachusetts

A western suburb of Boston (and the headquarters of CIO's parent company IDG), Framingham is part of the growing tech corridor outside the city. The top three industries are healthcare, retail and education.

7. Burbank, California

Burbank is home to movie studios, next door to Hollywood and just a few miles outside of Los Angeles. The top three industries in the city are entertainment, retail and healthcare, according to Kununu's data.

8. Memphis, Tennessee

Though it's the birthplace of the blues, it seems workers in this city on the Mississippi have plenty to be happy about. The top three industries in the southwest Tennessee city are transportation, business services and government.

9. Boston, Massachusetts

Education, technology/media and tourism and hospitality are the top three industries in Boston, according to the Kununu data. Boston's emerging tech scene rivals Silicon Valley, and is home to many hot startups, technical schools and biotech firms.

10. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection has a thriving tech industry, and each spring hosts Philly Tech Week to celebrate opportunities in technology in the greater Philadelphia area. The top three industries, according to the Kununu data, are healthcare, government and transportation.

If I Did It Again: What I Learned From Launching My European Company In The U.S.

Oct 7, 2016

Guest Post Written By Moritz Kothe, CEO of kununu 

“We’re big in Europe.” Bad pickup line or famous last words? I run a workplace insights company called kununu that is, yes, big in Europe. Haven’t heard of us? So far, kununu’s existence has two chapters. In chapter one, we grew quickly: from humble Austrian beginnings to dominance of the European employer-review space. Then we decided to come to the U.S. It was a huge dragon to slay: people here knew literally nothing about us. We expected things to be different, but not nearly as different as what we’ve encountered. That has been kind of funny. And kind of hard.

#1: Cultural differences go beyond lunch choices.

 Here’s the thing about Americans: turns out you guys have a lot of feelings.

 That’s not to say Germans don’t have feelings. We do! Specifically, we feel strongly about getting work done efficiently (the stereotype is true). Of course, Americans do, too — but in German work culture, communication is pretty black and white. If something isn’t going well, you’ll hear about it directly.

Apparently, Americans prefer to communicate in more of a grey area. I’m told there’s something called the “Sandwich Approach.” It’s safe to say I’m not a convert.

When I moved to Boston, my style of feedback instantly offended people. It’s important to note that I am an extreme version of this stereotype, and in fact a lot of people back home feel offended reading my emails. I managed to make one employee cry in her first 2 weeks! To help combat this, on my third day here I created an email signature: “writing polite and politically correct emails is not my strength; please focus on content.”

That helped, but in all honesty I just didn’t expect the land of John Wayne to be quite so… sensitive.

What We’d Do Differently:

Have an open conversation, right away, about the cultural differences in styles.

Add the email signature on day one.

Bring an American into the leadership fold from the beginning.

#2: Markets are different, and the “playbook” needs to adapt.

Our success in Europe gave us a solid playbook for launch in the U.S., and we did “market research” to mitigate some of our risk. But there’s one thing we didn’t do enough of: actually talking to customers. That’s pretty important for understanding what people want. Turns out we had some serious Americanizing to do, which only comes out of real conversations with Americans.

What We’d Do Differently:

Talk to the market — i.e. actual people — face to face, from day one, with the goal of understanding their problems and solving them.

Adjust our messaging to speak to the U.S. market’s specific needs.

#3: It’s easy to see why Americans hate lawyers. 

From incorporating as a U.S. entity, to employment contracts and legalities around hiring, to office lease negotiations, it has been a whirlwind of new codes, contracts and fine print. We hugely underestimated how much paperwork there would be — and how much time it would take to fully understand the implications of the new rules.

I understand lawyer jokes much better now. Unfortunately.

What We’d Do Differently:

The American legal system isn’t going to change anytime soon. Sidenote: as an entrepreneur, I see tons of opportunity here.

If we did it again, we’d budget more time and resources for tasks which, in Germany, are way less of a pain.

#4: You just can’t replace face time. So mothership communication has to adapt.

Skype. Google Hangouts. Slack. Zoom. With all the technology available in 2016, we thought we’d be fine relying on remote communication between Boston and our European headquarters.

But the fact is, the decisions that really matter happen over coffee. Or drinks. And they’re not always planned. Those “hallway conversations” can’t be replaced (for me especially: I’m a walker-talker).

Why? Intangibles make a huge difference. I can’t predict the mood of a given day—or my employees in a given moment. We were missing the little things best addressed by real human interactions. I learned the hard way that facetime is invaluable.

What We’d Do Differently:

Plan regular travel to headquarters from the beginning. Even when it’s a pain. Even when you think it’s not necessary.

Establish a cadence for regular all-hands video calls — even without groundbreaking developments — to foster a stronger team rapport.

Encourage regular peer-to-peer communication across the whole organization.

#5: Hiring is really, really, really hard.

Let’s just say I have a newfound appreciation for HR. We faced some real hurdles in the US. For one thing, we weren’t able to take advantage of referrals. When you’re new to a market and have few connections on the ground, it’s really tough to attract great talent, especially in a competitive job market. This stung; in Europe, our best hires have always come from referrals.

Another hiring issue? Lack of brand recognition. Job candidates are increasingly aware of the “employer brand”; that’s a game everyone’s playing at this point. Despite our strength in Europe, we were completely unknown to people in the Boston market.

We have to get things done and move quickly to build our business. There are lots of people with experience on paper, but that doesn’t always translate to the ability to get things done. Culturally, as Europeans, we struggled to see through the BS in American resumes, which resulted in some regrettable hires. I learned quickly that a “Marketer” — even one with 10 years of agency experience on big brands — is not necessarily going to help me quickly move the needle and drive measurable results.

What We’d Do Differently:

Immediately bring a local counterpart onto the executive team.

Be true to ourselves and hire people with the right “DNA.” For us, that’s smarts and hustle plus domain expertise (Internet, SaaS, and DATA).

Vet candidates such that they “show” us who they are vs. just “telling.”

Say quick goodbyes — having the wrong people on the team in the early days is painful for everyone.

I’m thrilled to be in the U.S., especially now that I know what we’re dealing with. After all, our whole business is based on workplace transparency; it’s fitting that we’d have some bumps in the road. All the better to open up and share them with the world.


Moritz Kothe is the Chief Executive Officer of kununu, the workplace insights platform, which he now leads from its Boston, MA headquarters. He is also Senior Vice President International for XING AG, which acquired kununu in 2013.