boosting employee engagement during summerIt’s no surprise that employee productivity takes a nosedive come June. Warmer weather means that beach trips, baseball games and family barbecues are finally within reach; if only our jobs and responsibilities didn’t hold us back! It’s up to employers and managers to counteract this summer slump and give their employees a reason to show up five days a week and still produce quality results. The five tips below offer some suggestions for engaging employees and ensuring that the work doesn’t stop in between May and September.

1. Be More Flexible with Schedules

During the summer months, you want to create an environment where employees feel comfortable asking for time off when they need to refocus and recharge. While not everyone will take a full vacation, it’s important to encourage breaks in order to reward employees for their hard work during the rest of year. Giving the option for employees to work from home or to leave early on Fridays can also be a great way to avoid burnout. The key here is to focus on the level and quality of work done rather than face time in the office.

2. Set Short-Term Goals

Employees should be setting personal goals year-round, but during the summer it becomes especially important to re-focus your team on immediate projects with specific, measurable results. Well-defined goals will not only help to keep your employees motivated and on task, but will also make sure your business doesn’t suffer during the summer months. In addition to dictating goals that you think should be accomplished over any given span of time, you should challenge your employees to set their own goals as well in order to avoid micromanagement.

3. Offer Rewards

Summer’s productivity slump can be directly counteracted by a good old-fashioned reward system. Incentivize employees to meet and exceed their goals by offering bonuses, extra days off, or even prizes such as a gift card to a local lunch spot. A little healthy competition can go a long way in encouraging employees to finish projects efficiently, and it can also encourage relationships between coworkers who might not have interacted before.

4. Plan Office Outings

If you’ve noticed your employees staring into space for prolonged periods of time or gazing longingly out the window, it’s time to schedule an out-of-office event. Whether this means a day of service, a company-wide softball game, or just drinks after work, getting employees away from their desks and out into the fresh air does wonders for everyone’s mood and disrupts the usual routine. If it’s within your budget, scheduling a weekend retreat can also be a great way to re-excite employees about your business and to work on team building.

5. Conduct Mid-Year Performance Reviews and Promotions

A surefire way to boost engagement in the summer months is to conduct performance reviews halfway through the year in June or July rather than during the hectic months of December and January. Knowing that they will be evaluated on the quality of their work throughout the summer can counteract the lethargic work ethic that employees often fall into when warmer weather hits. However, to balance the threat of an impending evaluation, it’s a good idea to also promote during the summer. Not only is the slower season perfect for the adjustment period that employees need in order to adapt to a new position, but the possibility of being promoted can be the extra push an employee needs to excel.

Ultimately, managers must get creative when coming up with ways to keep their employees motivated during the summer months, but it’s not an impossible battle. With the right combination of structure and flexibility, you can ensure that your employees will remain motivated despite warm weather temptations, setting up your business for a more profitable year overall.