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Effective Communication – Maintaining Engagement During Notice Periods

You have successfully hired a new employee; their contract is signed, and their start date is set. You can breathe a sigh of relief; everything is going to be ok.

Let’s take a moment to consider the new employees’ perspective from this point – they have just accepted their dream job, they have signed their new contract and they have handed in their notice. Their notice period is 6 months and unfortunately their current employer is holding them to that. It’s part of their contractual obligation, they accept that and feel ready to use this time to transition themselves out of the business in the best, most professional way that they can.

2 months go by, 3 months go by, all of a sudden 5 months have gone by. There have been some exciting developments in their current place of work and there is an opportunity for them to remain with this business and achieve the career goals they had previously felt were not possible. They have a rather motivating conversation with their CEO and start to visualise themselves staying on and continuing to work with their current business in an enhanced capacity. After all, the business has treated them well, they believe in the leadership team and now, out of the blue, there is an opportunity for them to achieve their career aspirations there.

By now, the contract they signed at the new firm seems like a distant memory. They haven’t heard from the new organisation since then. They have been so engrossed in transitioning out of their current business in the right way that the new projects they were going to be leading seem suddenly unclear and actually there is a new found excitement and buzz around the developments where they are that the thought of staying starts to take root.

What I have outlined above happens. It is in fact fairly common and there is a very simple way to ensure that your new hire does not fall into this way of thinking – All it takes is consistent communication.

Once all the paper work is done and the reality that they will be leaving their current business for a new adventure starts to take root it is important that the new employee begins to feel like part of the business.

I’m not suggesting you start piling on the workload. What I am suggesting is that an effort is made to ensure that the level of engagement that the recruitment and offer acceptance process has created is maintained.

Arrange a lunch date or coffee get together with the team. Or, during Covid times – a zoom call catch up. Perhaps loop them in on any virtual wellness activities the company has running. Include them in key stakeholder meetings and keep them in the loop with key aspects of the projects that they will be leading. During the notice period, we want to maintain your new employee’s level of engagement and make them feel part of the team. Whilst we need to acknowledge that they will be busy in their current capacity we must also acknowledge that they need to continue to feel a level of excitement and motivation around the new opportunity.

When managed in the right way, communication and maintained engagement with your new employee will mean that they already feel part of the team by their start date. They are already familiar with key milestones of any projects they are involved with and are aware of any challenges that they may be facing once their start date comes around. They will feel comfortable with the business and have already begun to build relationships internally before they officially start. Making your new employee feel embedded into the business and ensuring that they know that their input and presence during this limbo notice period phase is valued will go a long way into ensuring a smooth transition into their new position. Their levels of engagement and excitement around their new challenge have not waivered and their eagerness to get stuck in and started will only grow during this time. Any unexpected new opportunities that do arise whilst they are working their notice will not catch their attention as they have a clear direction they are dedicated to and a team awaiting them that they already feel loyal to.

Consistent communication with your new employee during their notice period is key to ensuring that the new employee remains bought in and already feels part of the organisation. Fail to do this and you may find yourself back at the start of your search.

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