Singin’ the blues

Just competed a white paper on the employment experience, which should be available soon. One of the things we uncovered is that the longer people remain with an organization, the less likely they are to remain engaged. (Although in my case, it has more to do with attention span, which explains why I sometimes end up driving to Hartford in the morning, even though I work in Massachusetts.)

So why does engagement drop off? Unlike product and service brands that rely on familiarity to increase consumer comfort, with employment, as the old saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. (Or in this case, complacency. Actually, it’s my cousin Howard who breeds contempt. Well, not breeds exactly. In fact, that’s the last thing we want him to do.)

Think about the host of attributes that are part of an employment experience – recognition, compensation, advancement, learning, and benefits, for example. When an employee starts with an organization, the outlook regarding the attributes tends to be very positive. In fact, the view may be that the manner in which those attributes are delivered is absolutely phenomenal.

And then time begins to tick away. A few years go by, and that same employee is now used to that high level of delivery. It’s no longer novel – it’s expected. Satisfaction may still exist, but as B.B. King laments, “the thrill is gone baby.”

What’s an employer to do?

Simple. Market to your employees like they just joined the company last week, regardless of whether that’s true or they’ve been with you for decades. Remind them of what makes employment at your company special (why they joined in the first place). Give them a fresh view of the experience they’ve gotten so used to.

If you’re not up for any of that, at least hide the B.B. King CDs.


Thomas Delorme
Written by Thomas Delorme

VP, Digital Products & Strategy

1 Comment

  1. Sakib Khan

    I think engagement dies down because the employee fall into a repetitive cycle of performing the same task day in day out. So it doesn’t matter how ‘interesting’ the job was at the first place, with time, the challenges will fade away and boredom will appear.

    The key is to turn the job exciting. How? Make sure you always provide a stream of new projects to the employee. Every now and then give him a new challenge that will force him to think, engage and rediscover the excitement the job offers.

    And of course I agree with you "Give them a fresh view of the experience theyve gotten so used to."

    Great post.

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