Radio silence between years one and five is a fatal flaw. A four-year gap in your employee strategy may seem routine but top performing companies acknowledge employees need ongoing onboarding. Recent research
demands a focus on employees who have been with your company at least a year but less than three years—a time in tenure that’s been dubbed the “reality slump.” The reality slump is defined as the time in employment years one and two when engagement, satisfaction and advocacy levels fall, and the job search fires up again. The reality slump matters
to your employee strategy because:
Extinguish the reality slump by extending your onboarding plan with targeted strategies specific to years one and two.
Amplify Employee Attention to Improve Retention
As you expand your attention through year two, infuse both extrinsic and intrinsic motivators and a variety of events, incentives and recognition strategies. Here are nine ideas to get you going:
1. Show Appreciation: 66% of employees stated they would work harder and stay at an organization if they were simply thanked by their leader. Drop a handwritten note on their desk, send a recognition email or issue recognition through your existing program, buy them a cup of coffee, surprise with celebrating a “National Day of ___.” The small things make a big difference.
2. Create a Community: Tap into the “belonging” intrinsic motivator as you encourage employees to volunteer for their favorite non-profit, coordinate a team event outside of the office or host an on-site networking event to build friendships across departments. These events have staying power: employees with friends at work are 7x more likely to be engaged in their jobs. There is a tangible impact when personal connections to fellow team members, the individual impact employees can have and your company’s larger mission are made.
3. Celebrate Year One’s Work Anniversary—Workiversary: It’s important to build loyalty with employees earlier, more often and in different ways. Service award programs can quickly be forgotten about. That’s why your program needs to be creatively designed and effectively (and frequently) communicated to keep your employees excited and engaged. Why not start your Service Awards at year one?
4. Exclusive Invitation: Invite newbies to participate in a committee, special project, or to mentor newbies on navigating their first year. A fresh opportunity will reignite that newness feeling and give the impression of an elite experience just a handful were asked to help with.
5. Encourage Job Shadowing and Mentoring: Encourage exposure to areas outside of their day-to-day environment to show support of promoting within and fostering personal development. If someone makes the switch permanent, shout out your support and share the success with others.
6. Add to Your Hierarchy: Stereotypically, Millennials and Gen Z expect a promotion after one year. Tap into their intrinsic need to show proficiency and advancement by creating a hierarchy within your hierarchy. Adding layers is a surefire way to signal progress (Project Manager I, Project Manager II, Project Manager III, etc.).
7. Face Time with the C-Suite: Literally or figuratively, face-to-face interactions with executives elevates the feeling of status and connection. Offering an on-site group lunch or virtual Q+A sessions for remote employees during this critical time period will subconsciously cue employees they are seen, heard from and matter to all levels of the organization.
8. Recognize the Integration Between Work and Life: Your halls are bursting with achievers devoted to propel your business forward. With hard work comes late nights, business travel, weekend work and other family sacrifices, some of which may be a surprise to employees (and their families) in year one. Acknowledge the impact a supportive significant other plays in your business by hosting a family event and publicly recognizing families there. This extra layer of social contact between employer and family will only strengthen the support for role and company received at home, and transfer to how your team shows up each day.
9. Establish Expertise: After the initial wave of onboarding training calms, kick off a certification program to encourage expertise. Moving an employee closer to subject matter will encourage mastery and confidence while focusing them on where their passions lie.
Looking for more ideas to help you wage the war on talent? Check out the eBook Improve Retention and Engagement by Enhancing the Employee Experience.