The kids have broken up, the temperature is hitting record highs and many of us are jetting off for well-deserved vacations! Summer is truly upon us, and while this is a great time to think about after work BBQ’s and booking a last-minute holiday, it’s also a great time to look at your employee motivation strategy. Typically summer is a time where projects and plans are delayed until September, understandably so with so many people choosing to take their annual leave in this time, but if you neglect to focus on employee motivation in this time then you can be left with disengaged employees and even a few resignations too! We have outlined 6 reasons why you should prioritise employee motivation in the summer.
6 reasons to look at employee motivation in the summer:
People are reflecting on their vacation
Many of us choose to take a trip away during the Summer months, and while we lay by the pool or relax on the beach, we have time to reflect on our lives, including our working lives. If you have employees who have become disengaged and lost their drive and motivation for their role, they may easily start to think about how they can change this whilst relaxing on holiday, and in some instances consider changing job roles and companies altogether. Recruiters are particularly active during the month of August, and your employees may well be receiving calls and emails about interesting job opportunities every day of their holiday! This might be out of your control, but what you can do is look at ways to encourage employee motivation throughout the summer months, to avoid employees who are teetering on the edge of having their heads turned by other roles and keeping them engaged and content in their position.
Employee motivation falls with unrealistic workloads
With a lot of employees choosing to holiday over the summer months, employees who are in the office are usually tasked with managing additional workloads in their colleagues’ absences. One of the biggest killers of employee motivation is having unrealistic workloads, so this is something you really need to be mindful of. You want to find a way to maintain employee motivation whilst the inevitable workload increase occurs, and there a few ways you can do this.
Lead by example - If your employees are taking on extra workloads but see that Managers are shooting out of the office early and seemingly not taking any of the burden of this then you can kiss goodbye to motivated employees! Getting your managers and senior team members to get involved and help out with some of the responsibilities / duties of those who are out of the office will not only help reduce the overall workload, but gain you more buy in from your people too.
Incentivise / reward - If employees are taking on more workload / responsibilities, you could choose to incentivise or reward them for doing so. This could be something like paid overtime, or even a small treat for employees who choose to help out during the times you are short on staff! Be transparent about what you are offering in return for that extra effort from your employees and it will help keep your people motivated.
Prepare ahead - Depending on your industry / the role in question, you could look at employing a contractor or temporary staff members to help lighten the load for those times that you are short on employees. This will demonstrate to your permanent employees your commitment to their well-being and therefore help keep them motivated in their role.
The weather can boost employee motivation
As much as us Brit’s love a good moan about the weather, there is no question that sunshine and warm days help top put us in a good mood. If your people are already in a good mood in the office then it’s a great time to use this to your advantage for employee motivation, as those little things you do to improve the mood of your employees like playing their favourite tunes on Spotify or giving extended lunch hours to make the most of the sunshine can make an even bigger difference in the summer.
Preparing for that “back to school” mentality
Even though it’s only students and teachers that embrace September as the start of a new year, for many of us it still feels like a start for something new in the office. People return from holidays, re-energised and raring to go with new ideas, but wouldn’t it be nice if this energy was used to implement new strategies rather than start the process of meetings and decisions to create them? Companies that don’t give into the summer wind down and stay focused on their main goals (including employee motivation goals) will reap the benefits of being able to implement new ideas all year round, rather than get stuck behind slow decisions!
You can have summer themed celebrations
Whilst an underlying strategy that looks at engaging employees and making practical changes to your culture and environment is the best way to encourage employee motivation in an organic way, arranging fun celebration days and events is also a pretty great way to keep your people motivated too. You might opt for a summer themed party with cocktails and BBQ, a trip to the races, a weekend away or even a sports day themed event for your employees! The good weather widens the options for fun events and celebration days, so open up your calendar and see what you could do for your employees over the summer months!
Those little summer treats can immediately perk up employees
Again this should not be seen as an alternative to investing in your culture and environment, but the "cherry on top" little treats can help to keep your employees motivated on a day to day. In summer you might relax your usual dress codes to keep employees cool and comfortable in the office, or even bring in delicious ice creams on a hot afternoon. Some bosses even let their people leave early on those glorious sunny days, which might not seem like the best way to encourage employee motivation, but it does show your people that you appreciate them, which will help to encourage more effort back from your employees too.
Found these 6 suggestions to improve employee motivation helpful? You might also want to check out our blog Employee Motivation Mistakes That Are Making Your People Quit.