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Re-engaging Long-term Employees - 11 May 2010

I’ve spent the past week feeling sick, so like most people, I relied on medicine, which enabled me to recover very quickly. But elderly people who take medicine for a long period of time don’t experience the same results.

A study released by the University of Sydney last year revealed that elderly people don’t receive benefits from the long-term use of common medicines, and in fact, their health improved when they stopped taking them. Upon ceasing the medication, the comprehensive research showed their mental abilities were enhanced, they were less likely to fall, and their blood pressure remained stable for up to five years.

The same thing happens at work with long-term employees. When they first start working for you, the medicine of a new job or the dose of a different opportunity is enough to keep them enthused.

But at the six-month mark, reputable studies tell us that disengagement begins to set in. Fast-forward to the six-year mark and often boredom has well and truly taken hold. The medicine which once worked so well has stopped having an effect.

To re-engage long-term employees, perhaps it’s time to consider alternative medicine. Here are some suggestions.

Chiropractic: Crack open the intellectual property stored in their brain by getting them to act as mentors, coaches, and documenters of what they know.

Herbalism: Plant some seeds of other jobs they could be doing, maybe in a different department. The change could be the rejuvenation they need. Be okay with letting go.

Meditation: Awaken an awareness of what gives them purpose and meaning at work, and see how you can incorporate this into their job. Hint: start with their values.

Yoga: Stretch them with stimulating challenges, which fall into one of four categories: something new, something tough, something complex, or something risky.

Hypnosis: Send them back to a time where they can recall their core talents. People forget these when they get carried away with the daily grind of work. Bring them back.

Acupuncture: Prick them with a surprise. Long-term employees think they’ve seen it all. Work with them to introduce new initiatives and mine their minds for unique ideas.

The remedy will vary depending on the employee and the situation, but if you inject one or more of those alternative medicines in the workplace, I bet there wouldn’t be a single long-term employee who’d find it a bitter pill to swallow.

 

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