Re-Energize Employees on the Edge

Change – it’s a funny thing. Sometimes you hate it, sometimes you need it. Everyone has those moments, right? Those times where you look around at your house, workspace, exercise routine, etc., and think to yourself, I need a change. You’re looking for that spark – that feeling you get after cleaning out an overflowing closet or putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls. You feel lighter, excited, re-energized.

And in today’s job market, where unemployment is low and the number of job opportunities is high, companies need to be mindful of exactly that: employees who may be ready for a change. Our Engage by Stage research showed that two out of five employees are completely disengaged from their current employer. We also found that the Sophomore stage (4-7 years at a company) is often when the fear of complacency sets in – when employees start to worry about not feeling challenged enough, and start thinking about whether they want to try something new.

In today’s job market, where unemployment is low and the number of job opportunities is high, companies need to be mindful of exactly that: employees who may be ready for a change.Click To Tweet

Of course, it’s not just the Sophomores – any employee at any stage could feel this way. So how do you help re-energize employees who may be on the edge of making a change? As someone who has been at the same company since graduating college more than eight years ago, here are three things that have helped reignite that excitement for me.

Let them work on something totally new and different (bonus points if it relates to a personal interest). One of the best parts about working at Padilla this long is that I’ve been able to hone in on the type of work I enjoy most, and largely focus on those kinds of projects. However, doing the same type of work over and over again, even when you do enjoy it, can make things feel a little stale. That’s why I was thrilled by the opportunity to join the Virginia Wine account last year. Not only was it my first time working on a branding project from start to finish, but wine is something I’m personally interested in (just ask my coworkers, who ask me almost every Monday, “so which winery did you visit this weekend?”). It’s been so fun to work on something completely different from what I normally do, and it also has motivated me to learn more about wine in my spare time.

Give them a role in driving your company culture or other internal initiatives. At Padilla, we recently rolled out a new set of values, which we call “beliefs.” As part of this rollout, we’ve identified employees in each office (including myself) to serve as culture ambassadors – employees who help drive our culture by finding ways to bring our beliefs to life on a daily basis. For me, it’s exciting to have this opportunity to make a direct impact on the employee experience. Even when I’m not at work, I find my mind wandering to new ideas I want to suggest to my fellow ambassadors. It’s made me feel more connected to our company and my coworkers, and given me a new sense of purpose within our office.

Encourage and support new learning opportunities. I don’t know about you, but I love to learn. Growing up, my brother always called me a nerd because I was excited to go back to school at the end of each summer. It’s a trait that’s stuck with me, and one that’s common among employees: our research found that “learning new skills or knowledge” is one of the top four engagement motivators across three of the four career stages. At Padilla, each employee has a set amount of professional development dollars that can be used in a variety of ways. For example, I’ve used mine to attend industry conferences on subjects that interest me, such as cause marketing or employee engagement. After being immersed in a topic for two days, I came back to the office feeling inspired and excited to share my learnings and learn more. It’s the same excitement I felt last month after spending two days with winemakers in the vineyards – I immediately went out and bought a book about winemaking and wine tasting, because I couldn’t wait to learn more and be able to apply that knowledge to my client work.

 Change is inevitable sometimes, but changing where you work doesn’t have to be. If you think an employee is on the edge, there are many ways – both big and small – that you can reignite their interest and make them want to stay for the long haul.

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