If you notice your employees looking more stressed and unhappy between their one to two year mark in their jobs, you might not be wrong.

According to a recent Study by Robert Half and Happiness Works, for many professionals, the first 12 months in a new job can be a “honeymoon period” – full of new and exciting challenges. However, as they progress towards their second year into their roles, they get less happy, less interested in their work and more stressed than those still in their first year.

Thankfully the study also pointed out that happiness and interest levels edge back up after three years or more on the job. At the same time, stress levels drop. In fact, those with the greatest tenure (21 years or more) showed the highest level of interest in their jobs, the study pointed out.



“Once they get past year one, the honeymoon appears to be over for many professionals,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half.

McDonald explained that 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.

He added, “Managers should 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. By keeping an eye on it, companies can help minimize the risk of 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 – 70% of North American workers felt that the responsibility for keeping spirits high on the job falls on both the company and themselves. While 25% of respondents felt that they are fully responsible and another 5% said it was all in their company’s hands.

Tips on keeping employees engaged

Based on Robert Half’s tips for professionals to maintain their spark as they build tenure at an organisation, here are five tips employers can use to keep their workers happy and engaged:

Spark your employees’ passion.
Pinpoint a higher purpose in what the company is doing, and communicate it to staff. For example, if your company is a CPA firm, communicate to employees that what they are doing is not just about performing accounting functions – they are helping client businesses grow and thrive.

Help employees connect with their peers
Having friends at work makes every day more fun. Employers can help by creating a work environment that makes it easier for staff to connect with their co-workers, socialise and build camaraderie with their colleagues.

Allow employees to mix it up
Empower employees to propose new projects and take on new assignments to broaden their skill set and contribution to the firm. This not only increases your engagement level but also your earning potential.

Create a culture of recognition
Make it easy for employees to show gratitude and compliment others for a job well done. This will brighten the compliment receiver’s day while also giving their spirits a boost. An earlier research found that 78% say recognising others makes them want to work harder.

Sweeten the pot
Keep up with remuneration trends and compensate employees fairly as they take on more responsibility.

Nic Marks, CEO of Happiness Works says that “progressive business leaders have always understood that happier employees are better employees. This research shows how managers and employees can work together to build a happier workplace environment for all.”

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This article was first published in Human Resources Online Bulletin and is reproduced with permission. Original article can be found at http://www.humanresourcesonline.net

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