The Sophomore: Why Engaging at This Stage Could Be Most Critical

“Darling you got to let me know…Should I stay or should I go? If you say that you are mine…I’ll be here ’til the end of time…So you got to let me know…Should I stay or should I go?”

If you recognize these words, you probably fit into one or more of the following categories:

Why am I referencing punk rock lyrics when talking about your career stage? Because the sophomore stage (4-7 years at a company) represents a critical juncture in an employee’s career. It’s when many ask themselves that exact question: “should I stay (at this company) or should I go?” They’ve reached the point where they’re wondering if this is where they want to build their career, or if it’s time for a change. And while many factors will influence this decision, there’s one that rises above the rest: how engaged is that employee?

According to Padilla’s recent Engage by Stage research study, two out of five employees are completely disengaged from their current employer. And while many companies look at age when trying to engage employees, your career stage can have just as big an impact on your engagement level and preferences.

Here’s another interesting fact when it comes to engaging this particular stage: our study revealed that sophomores can build the best word of mouth for their company. Compared to newbies (3 years or less) and tenured employees (8-10 years), employees in this stage are more satisfied overall, more likely to recommend their company and more likely to stay at their company for the next 12 months.

Sophomores can be your best, most natural brand ambassadors – but only if they’re successfully engaged.Click To Tweet

Sophomores can be your best, most natural brand ambassadors – but only if they’re successfully engaged. So how can companies make sure their sophomore employees are engaged enough to stay? As someone who is phasing out of this stage – and planning to stay where I am – here are a few things to keep in mind:

While engaging employees is important at every stage, it’s clear that the sophomore stage can be a make-it-or-break-it time period. Companies who don’t focus on engaging employees at this stage could be missing a huge opportunity to not only retain employees for the long haul, but use them as ambassadors in recruiting and retaining others as well.

Check back next week for an in-depth look at the tenured employee career stage!

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