Engaging Employees Beyond the “Honeymoon” Period
It's no secret: High-quality onboarding sets the tone for an employee's relationship with your company. New hires feel excited during their first few months, and there are countless opportunities to make their onboarding period successful.
However, a 2015 Gallup survey revealed that almost 70% of millennial employees are not engaged in the workplace. Since employee engagement is a leading indicator of business success, emphasis on the post-onboarding experience for your “tenured” workforce is critical.
So what happens after the 6-month mark, when the “honeymoon” is over and millennial employees are just a little bit less excited about your organization and their roles?
Sneh Kadakia, Namely’s HR Advisor, and Michael Stapleton, VP of Marketing at AnyPerk (one of our API partners), hosted a webinar to share creative ways to retain talent at that 6-month anniversary mark—and beyond.
Here’s what HR professionals need to consider as part of their “re-engagement” strategy.
The Changing Face of the Workforce
Generation Y millennials—adults ages 18 to 34—currently make up almost 40% of the U.S. workforce and will comprise an estimated 75% by 2025. This is a crucial ratio to keep in mind, as two in three millennials that recently joined your company are expected to leave by 2020. Considering the high cost of turnover, disengagement has major business implications.
On the other hand, engaged employees score higher on customer ratings, in productivity and in profitability. Positive employee engagement directly impacts better business results; there’s a clear ROI.
Whether or not your employees can be categorized as millennials, these practices and recommendations will resonate with the entire workforce. The following tips are fundamental to engagement for any level, tenure, and generation.
How to “Re-Engage” Talent Post-6-months
After the 6-month mark, there are three areas where you can actively enhance long-term tenure and ignite a more loyal workforce: recognition, rewards, and learning and development.
Keeping Recognition Active
Recognizing your employees is an invaluable way to show them how much you care. Done right, it enables you to appreciate their contributions toward making your business even better. In order to bring recognition to the forefront, try:
- Setting recognition goals for managers and employees, which enforces a positive culture across the company
- Regularly reminding managers and employees about the importance of recognition
At the 6 month mark, focus on ways to recognize behavior that embodies the core values of your company and employees who show superior performance by regularly going above and beyond. Doing so will infuse your company culture in new and existing employees and help you further identify and propel top talent.
The Timeliness of Rewards
Six months in, employees are thinking about:
If they are being considered for additional perks or benefits
- If they are being fairly paid for their current performance
- If they are being proactively rewarded for their future potential
Most companies tend to execute well on financially-based rewards, like bonuses. But employees also value meaningful, intangible experiences that support their professional development—and that doesn’t always mean a financial incentive. Rewards can be delivered as part of recognition, but also consider them as an ongoing investment in your employees’ growth.
Remember that there are different types of rewards that span across monetary, symbolic, and compensation and benefits options. Differentiate your offerings to hit upon all areas that employees feel are important.
The Role of Learning & Development
Making an investment in your employees’ careers is a driver for retention and ongoing engagement. Employees want opportunities to become leaders, and it makes a difference when they see a proactive approach to their professional development. Learning and development is a broad topic, so we’ve narrowed it down to five segments as a launch point for your practice.
- Training & Development — driving business knowledge, hard skills, soft skills & transferable skills
- Cross-functional Exposure — encouraging involvement in projects & initiatives with other teams and knowledge-sharing across teams
- Leadership Experience — facilitating mentorship & buddy programs, social responsibility, and employee groups that support important causes
- Personal Connection — helping employees gain a sense of meaning from their work, which has direct impact on their clients and greater community
- Career Growth — ensuring effective goal-setting, performance feedback and opportunities for expanded roles and promotions
The Impact of Re-Engagement on Tenure
When we take our above recommendations on recognition, rewards, and learnings and development, and overlay them with published research results about company loyalty, we see a pattern of increased tenure for millennials. This segment of the workforce is using these practice areas as markers for how their employer is going to support their professional growth. Businesses that provide opportunities have a greater chance of longer-term engagement and output from their employees.
Above All, Communicate
As an employer, you can provide so many meaningful opportunities to your employees. However, if you don’t have an internal employee-facing communication strategy in place, your workforce will never fully be able to leverage your offerings. It’s a missed chance for HR and the company to not highlight professional development opportunities across employee engagement channels.
Ultimately, we all want to experience meaning in our work, be valued for our contributions and see a future at our company.
For more detailed tips and advice, check out the full webinar recording.
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