As summer nears, top tier leaders are thinking about how to best keep employees engaged – Dr. Kimberly Janson, Janson Associates, helps organizations develop and transform in every imaginable way. Read up on advice on how to capitalize on this unique portion of the calendar to make your business better and positively impact employees. Your employees will thank you!
Knowing that the summer season would be a great time to include a bit of “summer” into the culture of your business, changes, even temporary ones, should be made thoughtfully and strategically. They need to be in alignment with company mission, vision, and purpose, enhancing company goals rather than derailing them. Knowing how to intentionally do this with a well-thought out plan seems so vital that I did what smart organization leaders should do – I consulted highly-experienced and Ph.D.-savvy Dr. Kimberly Janson of Janson Associates.
With 25 years of experience offering premier executive coaching, leadership consulting, assistance with merger and acquisition, cultural transformation, strategic planning, team optimization, and organizational development to top tier leaders in organizations with varied backgrounds, she is no stranger to organizational culture development. To give you an idea of the caliber of the players on her client list, her work history includes executive-level positions with H. J. Heinz, Bank of America, Hasbro, and Bank of Boston before establishing Janson Associates.
Dr. Janson has some excellent insights and suggestions about keeping employees in the game as we approach Summer 2022.
Typical Busy Seasons in Business:
“Fall is the busiest time of year for businesses. In the fall, they are in the middle of developing annual operating budgets for the coming year and are heavily burdened with strategic planning. Also, they are in the midst of a mad dash to finish driving fourth-quarter goals. With this in mind, there is no time like the summer season to provide a bit of recovery for employees before fall rolls around again.”
Summer, A Golden Opportunity Within Businesses:
“While staff at all levels are rotating through scheduled vacations, the summer season is a perfect opportunity to refortify employees and do some work they wouldn’t normally have time for. Even though people are still working tremendously hard and managing big deliverables, the pace of summer is different. It’s a great time to identify special projects that are impossible during more stressful quarters of the year. Smart businesses captialize on this and position themselves to help employees rejuvenate while getting credit for being responsive to the needs of employees.”
“In order to get peak performance, it’s essential that employees have periods of rejuvenation. Businesses have huge things they want to do, which is where the tension exists. Employees can over-do just like athletes, and likewise, they can get hurt. If they begin to feel a company is taking advantage of them, they lose their ability to snap back. Attitudes, moods, and relationships can suffer. If they no longer feel good about their contribution, employee retention can become a problem. Working on something meaningful, but a little lighter, for a few weeks provides a brain break that can soothe the burnout that accompanies the hard and fast pace of the rest of the year. I have six suggestions that have worked for many clients.”
Suggestion 1 – Modified Summer Hours:
“If you are able to modify work hours to allow for shortened hours on Fridays, that will likely communicate to employees how much you value them. The beautiful part about offering time off company-wide is that work is not piling up for your employees while they are enjoying R&R. You can tailor this to meet the needs of your organization but without fail, some version of adjustment is met well by employees and is also a great recruiting perk to attract new employees.”
Suggestion 2 – Summer Opportunities for Professional Development:
“Managers need to be really dialed in to their employees and their cadence so that they can provide good caring and feeding. Better weather and increased hours of sunlight contribute to feeling better. Summer is a great time for employees to have the headspace for professional development. They need to be nurtured and cultivated like a garden – and the best professional development is manager-led. If this is planned well, employees will be refueled, fired up, and ready to tackle another busy fall season!”
Suggestion 3- Planning For Summer With The End-Goal in Mind:
“Bottom line, you want employees at all levels to end the summer in better mental and emotional shape than when they began. Rest and rejuvenation goes far in healing the wounds from those heavy-hitting months that can be so hard on egos, vitality, and mindset. Having clarity on what the deliverables and timing look like for the fall allows people to not worry about what is ahead of them. They can focus on executing well and bouncing back while not being distracted by the pressure of the fall. All comes in due time.”
Suggestion 4 – Add Levity:
“This is a perfect opportunity to have a little fun, too. It’s a great time for a bit of levity, for everyone to relax a little bit, and to enhance relationships within organizations. One of my clients, normally strictly-business focused, showed up with an ice cream cart at work. Another dressed up in a Grover costume and gave out treats, and employees were placing friendly bets all day on who was in the suit. (Ends up it was the super serious CFO, which cracked everyone up! No one won the pool, and it was donated to charity.) It may seem counterintuitive, but infusing a bit of levity and light-heartedness into the culture of your business can actually re-enroll employees in commitment to your business.”
Suggestion 5 – Come Together
“Summer time is a great time to come together as a community. Whether it is the family picnic or volunteering to rebuild a neighborhood house, these opportunities to come together are hard to do during other portions of the year. If you have a remote workforce, consider an eService solution for community work…essentially volunteering but doing it through a project online.”
Suggestion 6 – Thinking Strategically:
“It is not the time to do the heavy lifting of strategic planning but to have a series of conversations where the musings of the world of “what if” fits terrifically with the freedom of thought that comes with the summer – opportunities like this are essential for thinking differently about the business.”
If you do the above, you are likely to find your employees in a different head space. Add in the lightness and brightness of the summer, it is a brilliant time to have blue sky sessions about the world of possibility in front of your company. According to Dr. Janson, “It is not the time to do the heavy lifting of strategic planning but to have a series of conversations where the musings of the world of “what if” fits terrifically with the freedom of thought that comes with the summer – opportunities like this are essential for thinking differently about the business.”
Bottom line, be careful of grinding hard on your employees all year long because you will pay for it in one way or another. Taking advantage of what summertime offers can help you maximize the return on your efforts around increasing employee engagement and helping employees refresh.
Practicing what she preaches as a principal at Janson Associates, Dr. Janson makes sure to engage in activities that keep her feeling at her best. Her love for the horses bought, born, and bred at her family’s horse business, Legacy Farms, clearly adds joy and meaning to her life – and she recommends all workers develop activities and interests they are passionate about.
Janson Associates represents her passion for her life’s work in business. Her book, Demystifying Talent Management, is a resource every professional should have, and her new book, Determining Leadership Potential, is another essential, now available for pre-sale.
Dr. Janson is an excellent communicator, brilliant, witty, and fun, all in one package. To meet her and learn more about her services, you can reach her at Janson Associates.
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