How much would you say success in life is due to good timing? You know the adage—right time, right place.
Perhaps, you’ve had teachers and bosses who intervened at the right time and inspired you to change your life’s course.
Over the years the leaders I’m most grateful for having crossed my paths were those who seemed to instinctively know when I needed them to intervene. Their timing was always impeccable.
Intervening at the right time increases the likelihood of your being able to influence someone’s direction, something that they may still be working out in their head.
If you’re like most busy leaders and managers, you’re looking for ways to use time wisely in order to focus on your top priorities. So, let’s look at how you can strategically intervene in order to exceed your employee engagement and retention goals without consuming a lot of time.
Employee anniversary dates are natural interventions. Consider setting your reminder at least three months before your employees’ anniversary date and, if local, buy lunch and have a deeper career-related, what-makes-their-heart-hum conversation with your employee. If remote, why not purchase a coffee or meal gift card and invite them to join you for a conversation via video. (Kudos if you research a local coffee house or café frequented by your employee.)
Although millennials may be getting a lot of attention in the media these days, and who will likely have very different expectations than earlier generations about the pace and path of their career strategy, don’t forget about engaging your long-term employees.
Probably less at risk for leaving after 8+ years, re-engaging a long-time employee may play out different, but no less important to your overall retention goals. Institutional knowledge and “wisdom keeping” can be converted into high performance results in different ways.
Entelo, a recruiting solutions provider, wrote an interesting article about the right time for a recruiter to pursue a candidate. In other words, when an employee was more likely to leave. Approaching this from another angle, though, you can view it as an opportunity to be proactive in re-engaging your employees before what they’re thinking about turns into action.
Re-orgs, mergers and acquisitions, and layoffs require a just-in-time engagement with your employees. Oftentimes these types of disruptions occur without a lot of notice, even though the rumor mill often churns out nervous side discussions and workplace distractions for weeks or even months before the actual event occurs.
Regardless of where employees finds themselves in the anniversary cycle, this type of disruptive activity can trigger a sense of instability and a feeling that this might be a good time to make a move (assuming they’re not impacted by a layoff and forced to make a move).
Reach out to your employees as soon as you can, as a group and individually. This would be a great time to re-group and re-position with your team, but it’s also a time for them to share their concerns, e.g., will I get a new boss, will my position be eliminated, will I need to take on extra work and what does this look like.
Companies are turning to software as a means of gaining deeper insight into their employees’ feelings as a way to engage and retain their talent. Sentiment-analysis software developed by San Francisco-based Kanjoya Inc. is being used by Bay Area companies such as Intel, Twitter, and IBM to “read between the lines” of what their employees are really feeling about the company.
Personal Inflection Curve
A Personal Inflection Curve℠ is a process where you discover your optimum time to initiate and implement changes in your life—the best time to reinvent yourself. Typically, someone’s P.I.C. inflection point trumps an anniversary date, but when used in conjunction with an anniversary date it can be a powerful engagement tool.
My personal "change marker" is 24 months, which means that I begin the process of “shedding a skin” one year into my two-year P.I.C.—this is my optimum time for personal change. In the past, I have sped up the process in order to align with a faster organizational culture or, if needed, I’ve slowed things down a bit. But at the end of the day, I put myself at risk if I pass my two-year inflection point—risk of boredom, risk of stagnation, or risk of leaping into something “new” where new might not necessarily be the best.
Based on hundreds of people who have gone through our process of discovering their Personal Inflection Curve and the optimum time for them to change, below are the typical “change markers” that we see across the board for career professionals:
- 12 months—reinvention process begins six months into the P.I.C. cycle
- 18 months—nine months into the cycle
- 24 months—one year into the cycle
- 36 months—eighteen months into the cycle
- 5 years—two-and-a-half years into the cycle
Believe it or not, you instinctively know when it’s the optimum time for you to change. But, of course, knowing something and taking action are two very different things.
Interested in discovering your Personal Inflection Curve? Become a Seeding Change member and you’ll gain immediate access to all our courses including the 30 Day Career Reinvention course that includes the P.I.C. process.