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  • Maintaining Engagement in the Lazy Days of Summer

  • Ariel Mulchan

    Keeping workers engaged is always a challenge—and in the summertime we must compete with beautiful weather, vacations, and other distractions. Nevertheless, summer may actually be the easiest time to engage employees because there’s so much to do and look forward to.

    What’s really special about the summer months is that they provide you, the manager, with the opportunity to change the “stage” from indoors to outdoors, by providing access to fun activities that are typically much more limited during other seasons.

    Be sure and focus your summer-related workplace activities on the things that matter most to your employees. When it comes to employee engagement, there are four levels or touch points that impact workers most: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.  If you can align your summer activities to these categories, your chances of making them more meaningful will skyrocket.

    Physical engagement: Category one—physical—is the easiest to imagine, especially during the summer, when temperatures are warm and the days are long.  Yes, it’s okay to plan for ice cream socials, picnics in the park, and company barbeques.

    Emotional engagement: On the emotional side, remember that workers want to connect to their companies. They want to feel proud of what they do and what their organization stands for.  You can strengthen that emotional link to your organization with a barbecue and celebration, allowing employees to bring their family.

    Mental engagement: The mental aspect of employee engagement comes from intellectual challenge and the sense that workers are learning new skills.  While summer may not be the best time for greater intellectual stimulation, it certainly offers a unique chance to strengthen the work-life balance that seems to be so out-of-whack for U.S. workers today.

    You can do that through walking groups at lunch and healthy recipe potlucks that can be shared.

    Spiritual engagement: This aspect of engagement is all about helping people find purpose and meaning, both at work and beyond it. Sponsor a “community day” event to bring your employees closer to the community they serve. Volunteerism allows people to share their talents and appreciate their blessings. Painting a local school, planting, or mentoring students for one day every summer could go a long way in building teamwork and fostering a shared sense of responsibility for the less fortunate.

    The summer offers great possibilities for engaging and re-motivating employees. Just remember to tie your planned activities to the core needs of employee engagement in order to get the greatest return on investment for your efforts.

    Ana Santiesteban

    Ariel, thank you for sharing as this is a great reminder of how to base employee activities around the four touch points.  Even providing your team with a survey or their own suggestions will help generate great ideas!




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