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Employers can stop workers drifting away during the ‘summer slowdown’

Relaxed summer months at work are welcomed by many, but how many UK employees utilise quieter working days to assess their work life? And what challenges might this cause for leaders?

With the summer months well under way, many employees across the UK will be experiencing what is known as the ‘summer slowdown’: a period when colleagues or managers may be on summer holidays, clients and partners are quiet and offices adopt a ‘summer hours’ policy. Without the usual daily tasks filling up their inboxes, employees may begin to look at their current work situation and start to weigh up how satisfied they are.

Leaders should be aware of this period and ensure they are keeping their employees satisfied and engaged all year round so morale does not dip during the summer months. To prevent employees drifting away from their current roles or getting caught up in pessimism, leaders can utilise this period to look at how well they keep their staff engaged.

Figures from Lee Hecht Harrison | Penna, the global people management business, reveal just under half (48%) of employees have moved jobs at least once in the last five years. Furthermore, almost a third (31%) of employees have not received any form of formal training or development at their current job.

Mel Barclay, Head of Career Transition and Senior Career Coach, Lee Hecht Harrison | Penna said: ‘‘The summer months can bring a relaxed atmosphere into many workplaces as work slows down and people go on holiday. However, there is a risk that staff may look at their job role differently when the daily buzz of activity begins to fade.

“For leaders, this a key time to ensure your employees know their organisation is always on the ball. Take a look at your development calendars and assess whether they are robust enough for the year ahead. This will naturally feed into reviewing development plans and opening up communication between employer and employee about what is coming up in terms of progression and improvement. If there is nothing in the pipeline, the summer is a good time to start building this out.’’

Mel Barclay offers some top tips for leaders on how to stop the ‘summer slowdown’ causing restlessness amongst staff:

  • Development planning– Is there an even spread of development opportunities across the year? Scheduling development sessions during the summer may be an effective way to keep employees engaged when work begins to slow down, give them something to look forward to and a chance to build on their personal portfolios.
  • Keep people engaged – Make sure you regularly share news from across the organisation, reminding staff it is an exciting and dynamic place to be. Also begin making plans for new projects or plans later on in the year. This demonstrates you are constantly working towards new ideas and solutions and using the summer period to revitalise your workplace.
  • Take stock – A quiet period is a good time for an internal audit of what and what isn’t working. Think about what steps are needed for future success and how best to achieve them. You can map out what different skills are needed across the organisation for different types of business and whether you have the current capabilities to deliver these.

www.lhhpenna.com