Guest post by Brett Farmiloe
The two-year itch. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the feeling you get after being at a job for a couple of years. You start looking around, and the little voice in your head says, “Do we need to make a change?.”
While that little voice can be great for your own personal growth, it’s not what you as the employer want. An experienced, tenured, employee is very valuable, and you would prefer not to replace them and have to reinvest in training another. This is not a purely American problem either, more than 50% of all organizations globally struggle with retaining their most valuable employees.
Below are some tips on how to re-engage that employee and keep that itch at bay.
1. Assess their goals
There’s a very good chance that you did a goal orientation upon hiring this employee, and the topic hasn’t been revisited since. Doing a goal check even sooner than the two-year mark, is a great way to keep employees engaged, and to know what’s on their mind or how their priorities are changing. Aim for a couple short term, high engagement goals and then sprinkle in some long term serious growth goals. Knowing these goals will also allow you to adapt, and keep this employee happily working in your organization.
2. Make Coming to Work Fun
I know, I know. Work is work–that’s why they don’t call it fun. But your employees should still be able to enjoy themselves throughout their day. This enjoyment will lead to happy employees. Studies by the Human Resources Council found that satisfied employees are 62% less likely to resign within a year span. These happy employees are also statistically more likely to be productive members of your organization a well. Giving your company this “fun” vibe can be pretty easy as well. In my organization, the main thing that people say when they walk in is that they notice that my team is usually talking to each other, and they look like they’re enjoying doing it. Many managers would view this as unproductive, but I find that they will talk about work 95% of the time, and if someone has an anecdote or joke to throw in it lightens everyone mood.
3. Wants and Needs
Employees have wants and needs. You need to know them to keep them happy long term. These can be as simple as getting the employee access to a new program to help them with their job, offering to help them continue their education, or if want to go bigger, giving them a substantial raise to reward them for their loyalty. The more tenured an employee becomes, the more you’re going to need to cater to these wants and needs. They need to know that the company they have put considerable time, and effort, into cares about them.
Another type of almost “goal” you can use is incentives, especially time-based. I find that rewarding employees for their loyalty with extra PTO, yearly bonuses, tuition reimbursement, or more opportunity for remote work works very well. A study from the IRF shows that incentive programs such as these really work, improving productivity by as much as 40%. After an employee has been with your business for an extended period of time, you should have built enough trust with them that letting them work remote is an easy transition and extra compensation can only be a cherry on top.
5. Play to their strengths
After an extended period of time, you should be aware of your employees’ major strengths. Play to those strengths when keeping employees engaged. People like to do things that they are good at and giving an employee an opportunity to excel in something that they enjoy is a surefire way to have them stick around. This will also let them know that you are paying attention to them, and that their effort is noticed and appreciated.
Hopefully these pointers will inspire you to look around your organization and see ways you can keep your employees with your organization and have them happy to do it! If you have any other suggestions, or things that have worked for your company, let us know in the comments!
Questions: What are you doing to keep your employees happy? How do your employees react to company incentives? Please leave a comment in the space below.
Brett Farmiloe is the CEO of digital marketing company, Markitors, and advisor to career resource, Organizational Leadership Degrees. He is a regular contributor to Huffington Post and Forbes, and also enjoys tending his backyard vegetable patch.