No long-term Valentine’s romance for new hires
February 13, 2017
• Bloom is off the rose after first year
• “Once they get past year one, the honeymoon appears to be over for many professionals”
Meeting co-workers, embracing the office culture and learning a new job can be exciting and novel for first year employees. But, a few months later, are workers still in love with their job?
New research shows professionals in their first year on the job tend to be the happiest, while employees with between one and two years on the job are less happy, less interested in their work and more stressed than those still in their first year, say the two companies that paid for the research, staffing firm Robert Half International (NYSE: RHI) of Menlo Park and Happiness Works, a consulting firm that says it develops a happiness analytics platform to help organizations understand employee happiness.
But after three years or more on the job, happiness levels edge back up and interest levels increase, according to the research. Those with the greatest tenure (21 years or more) show the highest level of interest in their jobs.
“Once they get past year one, the honeymoon appears to be over for many professionals,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half. “After 12 months on the job, employees are expected to work more autonomously and take on added responsibility. At the same time, aspects of the job that at first seemed novel and interesting may lose their luster.”
Mr. McDonald says managers are wise to be aware of this second-year slowdown and take proactive measures to keep employees engaged. “This includes providing stretch assignments and ensuring that workloads are manageable,” he says. “By keeping an eye on it, companies can avoid losing productive staff members who have already been through a learning curve.”
Although managers can take steps to create a happier work environment, they aren’t the only ones who can fan the flames of employee happiness.
When asked who’s responsible for keeping spirits high on the job, 25 percent of U.S. workers surveyed said it was their responsibility alone. Another 5 percent said it was all in their company’s hands. The majority – 70 percent – cited a combination of the two.
Robert Half offers five tips that professionals can use to maintain their spark as they build tenure with an organization:
• Find your passion
Think about your company’s higher purpose: How is it making the world a better place? For example, if you work at a CPA firm, you aren’t only performing accounting functions – you are helping client businesses grow and thrive.
• Deepen your connections
Having friends at work makes every day more fun. Go out of your way to socialize and build camaraderie with those around you.
• Mix it up
Don’t wait for your manager to offer you new projects. Be proactive – talk to your boss about new assignments to broaden your skill set and contribution to the firm. This not only increases your engagement level but also your earning potential.
• Show gratitude
Take the time to thank coworkers for their help and compliment others for a job well done. This will brighten their day while also giving your spirits a boost.
• Sweeten the pot
Keep up with compensation trends and ask for a raise, if warranted, as you take on more responsibility.
About the survey
The survey of more than 12,000 workers in the United States and Canada was conducted by an independent research firm. Respondents included a broad representation of the U.S. and Canadian working population with an emphasis on those employed in professional settings to provide the ability to make robust comparisons among fields.