The dog days of summer have arrived, and with long days and short nights, businesses, like the rest of us, begin to take things at a leisurely pace. Family vacations and time away from work peak during this time of year, and if you live in Florida like me, just getting from the car to the office in this heat is an effort worthy of a break.
PEOs do not necessarily experience a “slow season” per se. In fact, I believe our PEO employees are prepping for annual enrollment, arguably one of the peak seasons for a PEO. Regardless of the industry, most experience the effects of a summer slowdown. Staff seems to rotate in and out as vacations are scheduled. Executives leaving town can sometimes force strategic initiatives into a lazy lull.
The Summer Slow Down does not have to truly be a slow-down, with a well thought out plan of things to accomplish these holiday months, you can actually end up being, I don’t know, productive.
1. Accept the fact that employees will take more vacation during this time of year.
Many employers / managers and HR professionals try to anticipate for increased vacation requests by creating extensive policies that are a one-size fits all, with black-out periods, and restrictions bordering on ridiculous. Instead try and approach this time of year by allowing managers and teams to assess the business needs of their department and vacations needs of their staff and plan accordingly. It is shown that when employees are treated like responsible adults, they often times surprise you, and act like responsible adults. Fighting vacation time does little to motivate, attract or retain employees.
Vacation, flexible work schedules and work life balance continue to top surveys as the things that are most important to employees, so consider this a recruiting and retention tool as well.
2. While the cat is gone, the mice can get some stuff done.
It is true that strategic initiatives tend to come to a halt as executives take off for their summer-get-aways, as they are often driving these plans, but this does not mean that some of the other to-do items that get put off throughout the year cannot get resurrected. Take inventory of your annual goals at this midway point, and see what summer short term goals you can accomplish.
3. Consider Hiring an Intern.
Internships are becoming increasingly more important not only for businesses but for students and graduates. Consider an intern during the summer to assist with some long put off tasks, possibly website or marketing updates. Hire one of those dreaded millennials to assist with social media. Just kidding millennials, you are not dreaded and we know you can do more than social media. Often graduates come with fresh ideas, perspectives and energy right out of school that can give your strategy a much needed boost. Also, do not forget that these employees may be assisting with your marketing strategy, but they are also walking billboards for your company. You want them to go back and speak well of their experience, so make sure that you set challenging expectations, meet with them regularly and welcome them into your company. This could also turn into a recruiting source.
4. Consider Stay-Cation activities for your staff.
Your hardworking staff is imperative to your success throughout the year, so even though they may not all be on vacation, they may be longing for it. Take the summer time to plan some activities or incentives to refresh your staff. It can be something fun – or maybe something more business related like professional development opportunities. Consider using the summer as a time to capture feedback from your staff on ways to improve their functional areas. Provide forums to allow your employees to share their feedback in a constructive environment or planned workshop. Consider on a particularly Friday letting staff leave a little early; to get a jump on the weekend, just because. Little perks go a long way in motivating a staff daydreaming of sandy white beaches.
5. Take a Vacation.
As the business owner or manager, you have to avoid the burnout as well and take a break. Make sure you have the ability to stay connected without being overly communicative. You do not want to set the example that being on vacation means calling into every meeting. This will communicate to your staff that this is the expectation for them as well. Have someone designated to send you updates and have the ability to be reached without being overly present. As a leader you set the tone and culture for your company.
So, here are at McHenry Consulting, we will be hard at work for you all summer, stay tuned to our blogs and social media for some summer beach reading updates that are totally worth it.
If you would like to share your thoughts or ideas with me on this topic, you may contact me at email@example.com.