Ah, summer! Those few months of the year when temperatures rise and our workload is often a little lighter. It’s a time when people go on vacation and the office seems a little emptier, quieter. It’s the perfect time to have fun and relax. Yet summer can also be a time to catch up and to look at ways to boost morale, efficiency, and productivity. Instead of letting the summer months roll on by, take advantage of the slower pace as an opportunity to engage and motivate current employees, and even attract new talent.
In the business world, one of the things that most characterizes summer are the hordes of interns that descend upon cities looking for that much-needed work experience. It’s a time where supply and demand works in your favor, with a number of very talented individuals all hoping to land an internship. It’s also an opportunity to engage a new talent pool, learn what the next workforce is looking for, and take advantage of a fresh pair of eyes to assess your status quo.
Interns are generally ready and eager to learn. They take their first work opportunities very seriously, since they know they’re a platform for future employment. That future employment could be in your company; or, if you’re a recruiter, in a client’s company. Use the summer to hire a few interns and test out their skills. You never know if you’ll find someone who is a great fit for an existing or future position.
Fresh out of college, interns can offer new insight into what the upcoming workforce is expecting. We are in the business of employment, so knowing what people are looking for in a job is crucial. This can help you stay one step ahead and be better prepared to help the next generation of workers get started in their careers.
Hiring an intern can not only help you finally organize all those files you have neglected for a year; it can also give you a fresh perspective on your company. It’s easy to get stuck in a problem because you’re so close to it you can’t see it from a different angle. Engage with your interns about your department processes, and be open to their suggestions. You never know what eye-opening, new idea they might come up with.
In a world where most people barely have time to get all their work done, let alone get to know coworkers well or even the very company they work for, it’s important to carve out time for a little socializing and team building. Use the summertime to plan a team-building retreat. Since this is a time when most work slows down and people are more amenable to being outdoors, why not organize a company-wide picnic? You can plan a few activities that will help coworkers get to know each other better.
Depending on your company or department budget, you can go as little or as big as you want. Some companies are able to offer their staff a retreat at the beach or another coveted vacation spot. If your budget is tight, doing something locally might be more feasible, maybe renting out a big room at a local restaurant or even just a picnic at a public park. Either way, the important thing is to get your staff out of the office and into a more social setting.
These events are also a great opportunity to celebrate company milestones, as well as to treat employees and let them know how much you appreciate their work and their commitment to the company’s growth.
If an out-of-town beach vacation for your entire staff is simply too costly, consider offering a special vacation as a reward to high-performing employees. This incentive can help boost productivity since employees will work hard all year to earn that summer vacation. You can set up a system to determine how the employees will be rated and set milestones for them to achieve.
Just remember to keep everything fair when setting up a vacation incentive. Give everyone, no matter whether they’re junior employees or executive managers, the chance to earn their vacation. You can even offer second and third-place rewards, such as tickets to a summer concert or to a theme or water park.
International HR Director for OSF Global Services, Andreea is a veteran recruiter who has seen them all. She developed HR recruiting strategies and retention programs that guarantees the success of the company. She is a people person and she handles very easy new relationships with new employees, but her most interesting challenge is to find the middle way between company’s best interests and employee’s needs. To learn more about Andreea contact her on LinkedIn.