Employee engagement is about loyalty, not work rate
Employee engagement is, in many ways, a level of an employee’s loyalty; it’s the emotional commitment the employee has to their organization and its goals. And having this emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and the people they work for and with. And caring makes a world of difference.
This isn’t always how we view employee engagement. We sometimes get stuck in the box of thinking of employee engagement merely in terms of “how hard are they working?” This perception is especially relevant now because we’re coming into summer (at least those of us in the northern hemisphere). And quite often, business leaders think their people are unengaged in the summer because they’re taking trips and doing other things away from the office. And they see it all as a net negative.
But the truth is closer to the opposite. Summertime is a great time to build loyalty among your staff. By embracing the season and giving employees the gift of a great summer, you are deepening their emotional commitment to you and your organization. And the stronger their loyalty towards you, the more engaged they’ll be. You just need to know how to capitalize on the season.
4 ways you can use summertime to build employee engagement
Here are four specific things you can do to ensure you have a great summer! (Copyright: every high school yearbook ever).
Encourage outdoor activity. As we talked about recently, there is a lot to be gained by spending time in the outdoors. Physically. Emotionally. Psychologically. Whatever. Spending time outdoors is beneficial to a person’s wellbeing, so take advantage of the warm season and encourage your people to enjoy all that nature has to provide. They’ll be thankful you did.
Take them outdoors. Beyond encouraging them to spend their own time outdoors, bring them there. If you plan a team-building activity, take advantage of the weather. Take a hike or play lawn games or do some outdoor community service or whatever. Some of your people will be hankering to get outside—give them what they want. The rest of your employees? Give them what their physiology needs.
Offer paid paid vacation. Vacations are vital to happy, healthy employees. We encourage our employees to get out of the office, travel, and enjoy time with loved ones. In fact, we have what we call “Paid Paid Vacation.” Basically, BambooHR covers typical vacation expenses (e.g. plane tickets, hotel rooms, etc.) for each employee once per year. This program gives each of us the vacation we need while building our loyalty and appreciation to our company. (More on paid paid vacation in the coming days; stay tuned)
Keep them comfortable. Your people can’t spend all summer playing in the sun and traveling the world, so make sure that when they’re inside, they’re taken care of. Beyond the obvious things—ensuring the AC is working and they have access to drinks—budget for the occasional summertime snack. Whether it be smoothies or ice cream or other cold treats, keep your people refreshed and in good spirits even when they’re “stuck inside.”
At any given time, every single one of your employees knows of a friend enjoying some amazing summertime activity (thanks, Facebook!). But assuming you give them their turn and keep them happy while they’re working, they won’t get the summertime blues (or wanderlust or whatever it’s called). And they’ll reward your thoughtfulness with increased loyalty (read: engagement).