Loyalty is not as automatic as it used to be. In fact, it never was. It has always been something that is earned.
Employees have always known this, and only in the last several years has it started to show. Since the recession years, average job tenure has been dropping, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For some industries it’s less than three years. Organizations can no longer afford to wait five years let alone five minutes to start engaging and building loyalty with employees in this day and age.
Recognition can’t wait
Probationary periods for things like health benefits make sense, but there really is no good reason to put recognition on hold. The employer should be just as thankful for the work as the employee is for the opportunity to work, no? Suffice to say, employee engagement, connection and loyalty are not things you build in a rote fashion by dangling carrots; they are expectations of behavior every new hire starts with that are yours to lose.
So make the first move and don’t let your loyalty become a question. Here are some of the most popular methods for increasing early engagement and quickly building rapport with new hires:
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- Onboarding kits – An onboarding package on or before the first day instantly sparks engagement and can provide fun and useful items to help new hires adjust to their new work environment. As a bonus these kits can be branded to increase brand awareness and customized with personal messages.
- First year service recognition – Most onboarding programs end after 90 days, but your new hires have several more milestones and honeymoon periods to contend with well beyond that. The first year of employment is a particularly tension-filled time for everyone involved. Making it through year one deserves formal corporate recognition. Even better, make it the final achievement as part of a year-long structured onboarding plan.
- Daily recognition opportunities – The best insurance policy for new hire retention is having a recognition program in place that allows for smaller awards that can be given out daily or weekly. The sooner new employees can start sending and receiving recognition to peers and creating bonds, the better. If your platform is flexible enough you can cook up a whole suite of initiatives to support them.
The employer/employee proposition will continue to evolve into an even more complex relationship as we change the definition of “work” and what it means to be satisfied while doing it. Until then companies should default to always making the first act of kindness and connection. Be the inspiration and demonstrate the loyalty you want your new hires to have from the get-go, and it’ll be an offer they can’t refuse.