Like any meaningful relationship, an employee’s relationship with their job goes through a life-cycle with several different phases, starting with the honeymoon phase- that whirlwind period of time when everything is new and exciting. During this time, employees are typically the most in love with their job, and employee engagement is at an all-time high as shown in the chart below from Quantum Workplace’s 2014 Employee Engagement Trends Report. As with any new relationship, employees tend to dismiss imperfections as they navigate their new role- that is until the newness and excitement starts to dwindle around the twelve month mark.

Quantum Workplace’s 2014 Employee Engagement Trends Report

As we all know, the end of the honeymoon phase is inevitable. As an employer who wants an office full of happy and productive employees, you should take it upon yourself to incorporate the following suggestions into your practices to prolong the honeymoon phase. After all, the higher an employee’s engagement and job satisfaction, the greater your company’s retention rates will be.

Encourage office relationships: No, I am not suggesting that you encourage your new hires to enter into romantic relationships with their new cohorts; rather, I am suggesting that you should provide them with opportunities to form meaningful, platonic, professional relationships. One type of relationship to encourage is a mentor/mentee relationship. Having a more senior member of the company to talk with, bounce ideas off of, and get advice from will help to keep their morale high, prolonging the honeymoon phase.

Foster their passion: Most new hires enter a role with passion and excitement in spades. While this feeling typically tapers off after a few months as the monotony of the day to day responsibilities take over, you can prolong the honeymoon phase by fostering that passion that they started the job with. You likely found out what they are passionate about throughout the interview and onboarding process, but it shouldn’t stop there. Continue to show your interest in their career passions by conducting periodic check-ins to determine if they are receiving the support they need. Allow them a space to discuss their hopes for their career and provide training opportunities when applicable.  

Keep them busy: While you may be afraid of overloading and overwhelming new employees, there is a fine balance between taking it slow and boredom. Since every employee has a different threshold for what they can handle, communicate with new hires about how they are feeling. If you start to sense that they are becoming listless and bored, encourage them to take on new responsibilities that will keep them engaged. The truth is that bored employees are flight risks and you could be looking for their replacement sooner rather than later.

Recognize their accomplishments: It seems as though compliments flow freely at the beginning of any relationship but subside once the dust has settled and the excitement has worn off. A key piece of employee engagement and motivation is recognizing their successes regularly. In order to build a workplace culture where accomplishments are recognized by all, you may want to consider implementing a peer recognition program where coworkers can publicly recognize one another. Spontaneous shout outs, monthly awards, and annual prizes based on performance are all ways that you can build engagement and prolong the honeymoon phase.

Remember, engagement starts at the top. As an employer, your staff looks to you to set the pace; as such, be an example of someone who is engaged and excited to be a part of the team.