It’s unofficially summer which often means some companies are prepping themselves for a seasonal slump. Decreased productivity and increased absenteeism can lead to plummeting employee engagement during this time of year. But you don’t have wait around until after Labor Day for employees to get back on track. Here are three things you can do to maintain and even increase employee engagement during the summer.
Encourage Employees to Take Time Off
Seriously. According to the Harvard Business Review, taking time off can actually lead employees to be more productive when they’re back at work. For some companies, summer is slower than other seasons so using PTO won’t force other employees to pick up the slack. In fact, time away from the office can spark greater productivity once people return. At the same time, encouraging employees to take time off fosters an environment of trust. Employees shouldn’t feel guilty about using vacation time so encourage them to do so.
Stop Talking About Goals
For some employees, making progress toward professional goals during the summer (or any time of the year) is no big deal. They’re well-oiled machines. Because these employees are performing well, you don’t need to do anything else to make sure they’re happy, right? Wrong. These employees are very likely complacent, which is not necessarily a good thing. Encourage managers to check-in with employees and talk about anything else besides their established quarterly goals. Does the employee see growth opportunities within the company? Does the employee have any feedback on the manager’s performance? Has the employee explored any other professional development opportunities like webinars or in-person events such as conferences or meet-ups? Use the potential downtime of summer to have important conversations that can re-engage employees who might feel professionally stagnant.
Ask If They’re Engaged
You’ve gotten through the first two sections of this post and then realized, “Wait, I don’t even know if I have a problem to solve…Are my employees less engaged during the summer?” The solution here is pretty simple – just ask. Whether it’s a longer benchmarking survey or a quick pulse, you can ask employees to rate (on a scale of 1-5) their agreement with statements such as:
- I am happy at work.
- The work I do challenges me.
- My manager provides me with frequent feedback on my progress and goals.
- I receive regular communications that provide me with valuable information about my company.
With employee responses in hand, you’ll know problem areas and where to dig deeper. You might also be better equipped to thwart engagement issues before they happen next summer.