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End of Summer Employee Engagement Primer

Of course it’s no surprise that employees are a bit less enthusiastic about their work during the summer months.  Who can concentrate with all the nice weather, vacations, and kids hanging around?  What may be more surprising are the business consequences that come as a result.

While complacency with the slower pace of the workforce is surely a guarantee of lower productivity and engagement, tightening the reins to squeeze out as much productivity as possible may also backfire, leaving employees feeling even less engaged and committed than before. Does this mean that lower employee engagement during the summer months is inevitable? Not necessarily.

How can we overcome this summertime slow down?  One particular focus is to increase employee engagement through targeted initiatives.  Using this approach, summer-specific initiatives can keep employees focused and engaged, while driving performance. This can be as simple as spontaneously rewarding high-performing employees with the afternoon off or holding a meeting outside to enjoy the warmer weather.  To reach the entire workforce, you may consider a planned company-wide event, such as hosting a “burger/BBQ battle” or offering popsicles at lunchtime.

While these are just a couple employer-driven initiatives to think about, in order to thrive, engagement must also be “owned” by employees themselves. Translation: It’s better to have employees that go the extra mile because they want to, not because they feel obligated to. Encouraging employees to critically analyze their career paths and facilitate discussions about career development is one way to help employees empower themselves; further, the slower pace of summer may serve as the most opportune time to do so.

Just a few ideas to curb low employee engagement during the summer, but it is important to point out that these solutions will not work for everyone. Your methods for overcoming the summertime slowdown should correspond with your HR strategy and fit with your organizational culture.  These suggestions could be a starting point for you to consider what works best for YOUR environment.  Action, however, is better than inaction!  Try something…if it works keep going.  If it doesn’t, don’t give up – the staff will recognize your effort.

Pillar One Consulting develops and implements people initiatives that tie to business initiatives - measurably increasing our clients' employee engagement.

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We welcome you, our most valuable resource and critic, to Pillar One Consulting

Our first blog post.  I’ve read lots of blogs out there.  Mostly, they’ve been stream of consciousness or written so well they have SEEMED like they were stream of consciousness.  The good ones have been witty and informative (at the same time) about a topic I’ve had some level of interest in.  For this one, I’m going for informative.  Starting with ‘Who is Pillar One?’

Pillar One’s founders shared a vision for Human Capital and the companies they serve:  Let’s assist companies in getting their employees more engaged.  We’ve studied employee engagement, and had success managing our own groups and helping other teams ‘come together’.  We’ve seen what can happen when leaders think about engagement as robustly as they think about sales, product development, or ROI.  Conversely, we’ve seen and experienced what can happen when folks aren’t engaged.  Our first recommendation: go for engagement.  Much better bang for your buck.

If you’re here, you might have an understanding about what employee engagement is, or you might be looking to learn more about it.  Employee engagement occurs when employees are willing to exert discretionary effort at their companies.  Simple as that?  Yes and no.  Understanding engagement is really simple; getting people engaged?  Not so much. 

One way to start thinking about employee engagement is as a factor of the talent management lifecycle:

  • Talent Acquisition,
  • Career Development,
  • Performance Management,
  • Rewards and Recognition, and
  • Succession Planning. 

If you positively impact your employees in these matters, you are on your way to increased employee engagement.  By the way, we’re already helping our clients measurably increase results in these areas.  Browse through our site to find out more and feel free to contact us with questions, comments, praise, or criticism.  And check back here often for articles, commentary and opinions.

As an aside, this blog will NOT turn into a manifesto a la Jerry Maguire.  But, we strongly advocate that by doing right by your employees you will have dramatic positive results for your business, both intended and unintended. 

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