Prolonging the Workplace Honeymoon Phase

Want to get that new-job spark back?

In our 2014 Employee Engagement Trends Report we take a look at employee engagement by several demographics, including tenure. It’s no secret that engagement is highest when an employee first start a job.


This is affectionately called the "honeymoon phase." When looking at an employee’s life-cycle, engagement is at an all-time high in their first year of employment and begins to decline after the onblog-2014-08-20-honeymoon-phasee-year mark.Engagement hits rock bottom at three to five years before starting to improve again. (Don’t believe me? Dig deeper into your reporting and analytics sliced by tenure.)

Why is this? Think back to your first months on the job. What were you most excited about? What did you love about your new job? What motivated you to work hard

As a newlywed, I’ve heard all kinds of warnings about “being in the honeymoon phase” and it eventually coming to an end. But just like a marriage, you can prolong the workplace honeymoon phase. Depending on your position level or influence within the organization, you can increase and maintain engagement with a few simple actions:

Improve your own engagement:

  1. Be thankful for what you have. Accept the fact that the workplace honeymoon phase comes to an end. And although you might not be viewing the organization through rose-colored glasses anymore, remind yourself each week why you like your job and the organization you work for.
  2. Build relationships. Connect with your coworkers beyond sales numbers and bug fixes. Talk about weekend plans, kids’ activities, or latest sports news.
  3. Avoid boredom. Maybe your once exciting role has turned into a been-there-done-that kind of job; it's just not new and interesting anymore. Seek out opportunities to continue your learning and development, regardless if there's a promotional opportunity or not. Asking your manager for more responsibility is a great place to start.

Improve your team’s engagement:

  1. Recognize your employees. An important piece of engagement is employee recognition. (Check out this research report on how employees want to be recognized.) When employees feel valued, their engagement and productivity rises, and they are motivated to do their jobs even better.
  2. Don’t be a manajerk. And get to know your employees. (Check out these 5 tips to becoming a lovable leader.)
  3. Help your employees create a career development plan. As most employers know, employee development planning is critical to engaging, retaining, and nurturing top talent. While the newest employees are likely to be engaged when offered career development opportunities, as tenure increases, employees are more likely to be engaged when they receive both development opportunities and clear communication about their fit within the organization's future plans.

Improve your organization’s engagement:

  1. Measure engagement. Survey your employees to see at what tenure level overall engagement begins to decline.
  2. Instill recognition into your culture. Implement a peer-to-peer recognition program that allows employees to publicly recognize coworkers for their great work.
  3. Find out why employees leave. Regardless of tenure or engagement level, find out why employees leave your organization. Survey exiters and their coworkers, for feedback on impact, preventability, and reasons for exit and use that data to prevent future disengagement or turnover.


Employee Engagement Trends Report! Get the latest research and trends on engagement.