After being cooped up in what seems like the real-life version of Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming, summer is here. It’s hot. Blue skies are bright. Outdoor markets are in full swing. Afternoons languish into late evening. The world feels a little more hopeful now.
The economic recovery of organizations post-Covid is going to be slow, but it’s okay to feel hopeful and celebrate summer. (We haven’t had one for a couple of years!) And it’s more than okay to celebrate this with your employees.
Here are some actionable employee engagement activities to keep your team connected and clicked in during the summer months.
1. Create summer hours. Give employees the opportunity to block off a Friday or Monday for a long family weekend. Have flexible starting and ending work times, so employees can leave earlier, come in later. Promote working smarter, not longer.
2. Trust your employees to get the job done. Getting rid of the archaic idea of clocking hours is the first step toward showing employees you trust them to do their work. Obviously, there are some exceptional cases (particularly in the service industry). But if your employees are autonomous in their work, does where and when they get the job done well matter?
3. Go for some easy wins. Summertime is a great time to set some short-term goals your team can achieve and really feel good about. Then celebrate them!
4. Wellness first. Take work outside (in the shade, of course). Set aside time to take walks in the park. Stock the kitchen with healthy, in-season snacks like fresh fruits and berries. Invite everyone to bring something for informal Friday potlucks. These workplace connections matter.
5. Don’t forget about your remote team. If possible, and if it’s safe, bring your remote team in for a Friday afternoon picnic party to connect with everyone.
6. Recognition. Consider having a mid-year recognition ceremony. This end-of-the-year dinosaur can be celebrated in June or July, a place to share employees’ achievements. Especially after almost a year and a half of distancing, it’s a great way to start moving into the “normal” (of course when it is safe). Develop a strategic rewards program for those employees who have really stepped it up. Set up an online forum for employees to celebrate one another (like Kudoboard).
7. Parental support. Kids are out of school and parents need support. It’s hard to juggle family and work and keep kids safe and busy. Join up with a local summer camp, library, YMCA that can provide reduced-priced fees. Consider stocking the meeting room with computers and bringing in a college grad or someone who needs volunteer hours to do a Tech Camp for Kids. It’s about getting creative and finding ways to support your parents.
8. Give back. At a time when everybody feels like they’ve spent the last 18 months just trying to get by, a great way to get people motivated, engaged with their communities, and cultivate a culture of gratitude at work is by giving back. Work with a local public library at their read-a-thon. Set up a canned food drive for a local food bank. Reach out to the community and give employees paid time to give back.
9. Ask. What do your collaborators want and need? It’s critical to know their needs, expectations, and what would motivate them. Ask what would make their workday better. Pick a few and put them to work.
Keeping employees engaged in the summer slump after such a devastating year will take creativity and time. Your team is worth it.